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Transfer of Wealth Studies

Publication date: 
May, 2011

I'm looking for links to ‘transfer of wealth’ studies that have been done in past few years or ones that are currently in progress. These could either be studies your association has initiated or studies your members or other groups have undertaken.

~Joanne Kelly, Colorado Association of Funders


Council of Michigan Foundations

All the information can be found here.

Highlights from our research:

  • The 50-year TOW estimate for Michigan is $972.24 billion (or $225,000 per household).
  • We estimate that during the decade of 2005 to 2015 the TOW will be $140.62 billion (or $34,000 per household).
  • If just five percent of the 10-year TOW were captured into community endowments across Michigan, an estimated $7.03 billion fund would be realized.


Maine Philanthropy Center

Here is a link to one done in Maine last year by Maine Rural Partners.

The study in Maine is called Realizing Maine's Worth conducted by Maine Rural Partners. The statewide community foundation has county funds and has taken the information to create messaging to boost their local endowments.

If you would like to talk about how the community foundation has used it, I suggest you contact Laura Young. I wish they had taken this on because Maine Rural Partners didn't fully understand the implications and was not in a position to implement what they learned. Nevertheless, it's a good tool once you have it to talk about potential.

Donors Forum (IL)

Here is a link to the intergenerational transfer of wealth information on our website. This was produced by the four-state collaboration run by Michigan for community foundations. Some additional stats/reports/academic study references some may find of interest:

Family Philanthropy and the Intergenerational Transfer of Wealth (PDF below)

Why the $41 Trillion Wealth Transfer Estimate Is Still Valid (PDF below)

Philanthropy Northwest

Here is one that the Montana Community Foundation did (in 2006, I think) and there is also county by county TOW data on Montana from Big Sky Institute’s Guide to Supporting Local and County Community Foundations.

And I’m guessing you already know about the work of the Nebraska Community Foundation.

Gateway Center for Giving

Ours are somewhat dated (2004) but here they are below (and on our website under resources) I hope this helps. Please let me know if you need any additional information about either of these reports.

The Golden Age of Philanthropy 2004 (PDF below)

Created by the Gateway to Giving Coalition. The report looks at the $41 trillion wealth transfer that is expected to take place in the US by the year 2052 as it applies to St. Louis. It provides a baseline estimate of current wealth and the projected wealth transfer. The researchers estimate that St. Louis households will transfer at least $532 billion between 2001 and 2055 and will contribute $93 billion in charitable bequests.

Private Dollars for Public Good 2004 (PDF below)

Created by the Gateway to Giving coalition with support from the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation. This report offers new insights into the specific characteristics of charitable giving in the St. Louis region. It looks at how the future intergenerational transfer of wealth can benefit a community.

Ohio Grantmakers Forum

We did a TOW study (PDF below) a few years ago as part of our MCFV partnership. The staff person who was in charge is no longer here but I’m happy to pinch hit if I can provide more info. We had marketing piece templates and other tools for use by our community foundations.

Minnesota Council on Foundations

Here is the scoop on the Transfer of Wealth study in Minnesota. You might also connect with Jeff Yost at Nebraska Community Foundation as they may have a lot more information other states who have used their model. The Minnesota work was based more on the Nebraska model than the Boston/Paul Schervish model.

Here is what the chair of our tax credit task force said about costs for the Transfer of Wealth Study, that the foundation he works for led:

The raw data for the 87 counties in Minnesota cost $26,100, or $300 each. The Minnesota Initiative Funds spent an extra $5,000 up front to have Andrea Lubov create the economic model. WCI spent another $1,500 to have HBH analyze the raw data and help us evaluate its usefulness. The total hard cost was $32,600 for the consultants work and many hours of staff time to adapt the information to our regional fund raising goals.

Florida Philanthropic Network

Would be interested in what you get. I know of studies in Minnesota, Nebraska, Massachusetts & Boston, St. Louis, North Dakota and DC.

Iowa Council of Foundations

An institute out of one of our regent universities (the Community Vitality Center at Iowa State University) conducted the Iowa Transfer of Wealth Study (PDF below) by looking at all probate estate records in all 99 counties in Iowa between the years 1998 and 2002. They determined the annual transfer and did projections for a 50 year time frame (2000-2049) giving us statewide as well as county by county data. Total projected transfer through probate estates in that 50 year period in Iowa equals $531 billion- average per probate estate is $274,425. Gives us rank information for each county, when each county will peak in terms of decade, etc. I can hardly think of a time when I have given a presentation about philanthropy in Iowa when I have not used some information from the TOW research. I talk about it every day. Several years ago ICoF purchased for all of our community foundations (we have 130 community foundations and affiliate community foundations) the TOW Marketing Portfolio and made some minor Iowa additions from MCFV. All of our community foundations have access to it and various slides in the ppt I used weekly. Huge piece for us in communicating the data. In fact, we use the handouts from that portfolio to get district information and had as a followup to FOTH this year. If your state has a TOW I would take a look at the possibility of purchasing the portfolio if you can! I have attached the statewide data handout from that purchase portfolio.