The face of philanthropy is changing — and that is creating opportunities for both institutions and donors that will help all of us reach our goals to leave our communities, our nation and our world stronger and more vibrant than ever before.
Take, for example, the ever-increasing role of women in higher education and philanthropy.
This may not surprise you (or at least half of you!) — but women volunteer at a higher rate than men across all age groups and all educational levels. Female-headed households are more likely to give to charity than male-headed homes.
Women have a keen interest in programs for girls and women, but they are leaders in funding all causes. Surveys show that they are more likely than men to be motivated by helping those with less. They are more likely to give because they believe it makes a difference.
Women look closely to be sure the organizations they support are run efficiently, but they desire to “give back” to their communities.
And they have a lot to give — not just in time, but in financial support. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women are surpassing men in terms of educational attainment, representing 67 percent of college graduates and 51 percent of the nation’s PhDs.
American women age 50 and over control $19 trillion in net worth and own more than three-fourth’s of the nation’s total wealth.
You may want to read that sentence again. I know I did when I first read it.
Women today have incredible power to do good — and here is the best part: They quite often want to do it together. These same surveys indicate that women philanthropists value collective experiences, community and connection.
All of these factors have major implications on philanthropy at Boise State, across our nation and in the world. Something to think about.
At Boise State, it means that meaningful lifetime engagement with our alumni and friends is critical. Opportunities where donors work together to compound the reach and influence of their individual contributions are more and more important. Joining the Boise State Alumni Association, for example, is an easy and effective way to pool resources with other Broncos to help future Broncos get a great start. Others have united together and leveraged their employers’ matching gift programs to endow scholarships that each may not have been able to afford alone.
It also means being excellent stewards. Showing donors the impact of their gifts is paramount.
Every gift makes a difference, no matter its size or scope. The face of philanthropy is changing. More and more people are finding ways to make possible what otherwise may be impossible. They empower, and they inspire.
Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.