The Future of Philanthropy in L.A.

December 12, 2011

A report released last week reveals:

•    By the end of 2020, personal wealth or assets in L.A. County will grow to $1.4 trillion
•    L.A.’s wealth will grow faster and larger than almost every metro in the nation
•    Immigrant entrepreneurs will be the major driver of future wealth
•    $114 billion will be transferred between generations by 2020
•    Divide between the wealthy and the poor will grow across the county
•    Converting even a small portion of transferred wealth into charitable giving for local needs and nonprofits will be extremely challenging

There are many issues raised by this new report, The Future of Philanthropy in Los Angeles: A Wealth of Opportunity.  But chief among them is our general lack of preparedness for the growth in wealth and transfer of wealth that are being forecast.  I think LA may be better prepared for disasters than any anticipated good that is coming!

We at CCF commissioned the study that led to the report because we’ve had a front row seat to transfers of wealth for more than 90 years.  What’s more, over the last 8 years alone, $1.5 billion in charitable gifts has come to CCF, of which we have granted out $1.2 billion!  We have attempted before to prepare our grantees and other local nonprofits for this source of contributions but our efforts have been ineffective.  In a cursory survey of our grantees in L.A., less than 25% showed any signs of preparation for planned gifts or bequests.

This new report, therefore, calls on us to de-mystify planned giving for nonprofits and help them prepare NOW for the wealth transfer. This includes creating and distributing a free planned giving kit in early 2012 to get nonprofits better prepared.

How shall we capture this transfer of wealth? Tell us what you think!

John Kobara
EVP/COO of California Community Foundation

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