Attitude of gratitude

Halfway through the first decade of the new millennium, donor advisors and charitable-gift planners have a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to partner with highly-motivated, financially-savvy women blessed with the freedom and fortune to effect positive societal change for the public good.

That group consists of Boom-generation women age 46 to 63. They have a high net worth of $1 million to $25 million; include 10.2 million business owners and entrepreneurs; influence 80 percent of all household spending decisions and control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S., or $4.9 trillion, an amount equal to Japan’s gross domestic product.

As members of the largest generational cohort in history, or 78 million people, these women, inspired by a common” call to destiny,” rallied  in the  “consciousness revolution” era of the 60’s and 70’s for causes that redefined social, political and cultural history.

Their defiant and belligerent action resulted in decisions that have changed every woman’s life.

Today, some 40 years later, Boom-generation women, fortified with the confidence of economic freedom, educational maturity and life-altering experiences, have chosen to honestly reflect and swiftly act on unresolved issues and broken dreams.

They are using their economic capacity and social freedom to seek a “compassionate resolution” to their “call to destiny.”

They have boldly entered the 21st century philanthropic arena passionate in their quest and confident in their ability to leave a virtuous legacy with an attitude of gratitude for blessings received.

Three factors propel their “rite of passage” from the “consciousness revolution” era to a “compassionate resolution” legacy:

* Time. They have reached a reflective time of their life.  Every seven seconds for the next 19 years, a Boomer will celebrate a 60th birthday.

Women make up 51 percent of this generation. Based on actuarial tables, they will live on average seven years longer than men, giving them the opportunity to control the disposition of significant intergenerational wealth-transfer assets.

* Virtue. A resurgence of idealism drives them to seek out venues to connect their values with their vision for a better world.  A search for meaningful ways to use their time, talent and treasures inspires them to strive for a symbiotic relationship of self-interest and selflessness.

* History. This generation, defined by its peer-personality of “righteousness of conviction and growing impatient to lead society,” has assumed a leadership position at a critical and polarized time in world history.

The proper environment for this “rite of passage” is an arena of trust and respect between Boom-generation women and their donor advisors.

Philanthropic professionals who acknowledge in pro-active, authentic and passionate ways the significant existence, growing impatience and destiny of this generational cohort will get their attention.

Institutions that present non-age-specific, meaningful, holistic programs to challenge their mind and lift their soul will garner their respect and financial support.

Organizations that provide an ongoing venue and budget the resources for peer-personality experiences engaging the heart, head and hand will maintain their loyalty and steward their legacy.

Blessed will be the “tie that binds” Boom-generation women’s destiny to do good deeds with the public’s critical and unmet needs in our perilous and fragile society.

Margaret May Damen is president of Institute for Women and Wealth in Palm City, Fla. Her book, Torchbearers For Virtuous Philanthropy: Boom-Generation Women’s Destiny, is scheduled for publication in January 2007.

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