Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie once said that he who dies leaving behind many millions will “pass away unwept, unhonored and unsung.” That philosophy took root in much of the last century, with major philanthropists giving vast fortunes in their later years to libraries, museums, hospitals and other institutions devoted to the public good.
But donors today aren’t taking any chances. They are flexing philanthropic muscle at a younger age than their predecessors. At many top business schools, students are integrating the practice of philanthropy into education early on, and donors are often beginning to share substantial wealth long before accumulating the full measure of it.
Of the five biggest philanthropic gestures of 2012, three came from couples under the age of 40, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. A party in New York earlier this month celebrated philanthropic heroes Trump and Clinton — Eric Trump third child of Donald and Ivana Trump and Chelsea Clinton daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton — who were among the 20 donors under 40 honored at the New York Observer’s First Annual Young Philanthropy Event.