Recently, the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, Forefront and other sponsors came together to conduct a Transfer of Wealth Study. The results found that in the next 10 years, $434 billion will transfer from one generation to the next, with most of the money based in the region of Cook County and the surrounding suburbs. The study determined that the current combined household net worth in Illinois is $3.5 trillion.
So, what do these numbers mean?
Basically they mean that many people in Illinois are in possession of significant wealth.
The numbers also conclude that if a mere 5 cents of every dollar of transferred wealth was designated for charitable causes in Illinois, it would introduce a ground-breaking new chapter in transformative grant making with an additional $1.3 billion each year. For a better perspective, this would represent a whopping one-third increase in charitable giving.
In turn, this money would be reinvested in Illinois filling critical gaps in community financing needs, ranging from neighborhood facilities to small business loans to vital infrastructure – the very things that ensure future generations of Illinoisans can enjoy a thriving community and robust economy while building their own wealth.
Too often, we simplistically divide wealth management into growing, spending and giving.
Of course, we know wise spending can lead to growth. But as the Executive Director of The Community Foundation for McHenry County, I have come to learn that wise giving also leads to growth. Growing a legacy our children are proud to carry forward. Growing a healthy community rich in educational and economic opportunities. Even growing the wealth we can pass along to future generations because our giving plan is informed by experts in philanthropy and in tune with our financial goals.
The Community Foundation for McHenry County is unique because if was founded in 2001 as a service to McHenry County’s philanthropists – those who had a heart for giving but needed support and guidance in realizing their distinct charitable vision. Personalized endowments supported The Foundation fueled an exciting, new era in grants, scholarships and initiatives that addressed needs, bridged gaps and changed lives across the country.
Now, as The Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary, McHenry County is once again faced with a tremendous opportunity to give back to the community that has been so good to so many of us – and in ways that matter to us most. If you have any questions on how The Foundation can help you realize your legacy or develop a charitable strategy, we encourage you to reach out. After all, that is what The Foundation is here for – connecting people who care with causes that matter.
Deborah Thielen, Executive Director, The Community Foundation for McHenry County