November 19, 2012

Gen X Philanthropy

Many may think that the Generation-Xers are just beginning to understand philanthropy.  According to a recent article in US News, for many young professionals, giving to charity isn't just about writing checks.  Instead, the focus is on volunteering, socializing, and networking -- while also contributing to good causes.

"Many Generation X-ers are more interested in social advocacy and engagement philanthropy," says Dwight Burlingame, associate executive director at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. That means they are more likely to want to work directly with organizations instead of just donating money, he explains.

Interestingly, the Center notes that giving rates rise with education levels: 90% of persons with graduate degrees contribute to charity, while only 58% of persons with high school educations or less do.  And the average annual gift for a college graduate is $2,633, it reports.

But some young people want to do more - they want to get involved.  For example, Lindsay Hyde.  During her freshman year at Harvard, she wanted to become a mentor to younger girls in the area, but when she looked into potential opportunities, she couldn't find any groups willing to work with undergraduates.  So she organized her own team of volunteers and found two elementary schools interested in working with them.  When Hyde graduated from college in 2000, she officially launched a nonprofit which now works with over 400 girls a year in Boston, Pittsburgh, and Miami.

Strong Women, Strong Girls uses lessons learned from strong women throughout history to encourage girls and young women to become strong women themselves.  The curriculum focuses both on elementary age and college age young women, recognizing that both ages really need many of the same experiences and education.  Three basic tenets form the curriculum:

RELATIONSHIPS:  Research which shows that girls and young women need supportive relationships in order to thrive.  For elementary girls, the relationships form with college women, with peers, and with program leaders.  The young women in college form relationships with the younger girls and with peers, but also with participating college advisors and one adult mentor, who is paired with the college student each year.

SKILLS:  Younger girls need help developing social and emotional skills, while the young women develop leadership and professional skills including resume writing and interviewing.

ROLE MODELS:  A role model helps girls develop aspirations for the future - both through the experience with college students and through reading a weekly biography of a women in history.  College students learn from professional women and field experts, who can assist in their preparation for a career.

Strong Women, Strong Girls has developed a range of resources for individuals and organizations interested in working with girls and young women.  It also has tracked its success, based on participant surveys and academic achievement.

This program is similar to Chrysalis After-School programs because it intentionally brings in college age women who develop mentoring relationships with the girls.  This year, Chrysalis will begin a formal high school mentoring program, designed to teach the high school girls ("graduates" of Chrysalis After-School) how to develop relationships with younger girls, how to be a role model, and how to instruct about specific skills important to their healthy development.

We look forward to reporting on the success of this program at the end of the academic year.  And we're delighted to have your support and leadership in continuing the work of building future women leaders through Chrysalis After-School.  We’re in 30 schools this year, half elementary, half middle schools – in Des Moines, Indianola, Bondurant, Saydel, Southeast Polk, and Urbandale.  Between 500 and 600 girls and approximately 65 facilitators take part in weekly meetings, with specific curricula created by Chrysalis for the following:

GIRLSTRONG!                  Health and wellness
ON THE MONEY             Financial literacy
BRAINCAKE                      Science, technology, engineering, and math
DRAKE PHARMACY     Safe use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines
ProjectSTOP                     Violence prevention

Thank you for all you give to Chrysalis.