Magnanimous Millennials: Young People Giving Back


When it comes to philanthropy, young adults are making a big impact.

Although they may not be the largest givers—that honor belongs to the Boomers, according to a study by fundraising firm Blackbaud Institute—60 percent of millennials donate to charity, with an average of three charities per person.

Millennials don’t take their obligation lightly—They give with their time and their money, but look for transparency, do their homework, and want to see results.

A case in point: This is a generation that was the most likely to donate to hurricane relief following Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Yet, it’s also the age group most likely to have researched which charities to support.

We talked to three Baltimoreans under 40 to learn about how they and their generation gives.


Jacob Hodes
Investing in Local

For Jacob Hodes, charity begins at home. A firm believer in investing in the community in which he plans to live, this Los Angeles transplant began exploring ways to give back soon after moving to the city. One of Hodes’s first forays into charitable giving was serving on the Investment Committee at The Associated. It provided him with an opportunity to bring his professional expertise to a nonprofit and help them effectively manage their assets.

At the same time, as a newcomer to the city, it was a chance for him to meet other people, while learning more about how the organization helped Baltimore.

As he became more involved, Hodes realized how much The Associated invests in Baltimore, supporting everyone from infants to the elderly and providing a wide range of services, from education to emotional wellness and social justice. And he’s not alone among his peers in supporting local causes: Many of his friends are aligning local giving with their personal interests.

To Hodes, however, giving back is not just about joining a board. It’s about being passionate about a cause and donating time, as well as money.

“I like being able to see an impact on a day-to-day basis,” he says.

Wendy Bronfein
Taking a National Profile

Wendy Bronfein has been on quite a journey as a young professional committed to giving back.

She’s traveled to India, Madrid and Morocco. As a member of the Jewish Federation of North America’s Young Leadership Cabinet, she’s networked with professionals around the country and learned how community dollars can make a global impact.

Yet, this young adult didn’t begin her philanthropic commitments with such a high profile. Like many of her peers beginning their careers, she was limited in how much she could contribute.

Bronfein believes that, in those early years, giving of her time became immeasurable. She was involved with Jewish federations in Los Angeles and New York, first in a mentorship program and later as a Young Entertainment division co-chair.

Harel Turkel
Immersing Himself in A Good Cause

When Harel Turkel talks about how he chooses to give back, it goes well beyond a check. Equally important, he says, is understanding how he is making a difference.

It’s a philosophy he believes resonates with his generation.

Turkel first became involved in his mid-20s with IMPACT, the young-adult division of The Associated. He soon found himself on task forces and agency boards, making recommendations on how to address community challenges.

Since then, he’s traveled around the world, from Israel to India, seeing first-hand accounts of how Baltimore philanthropy is changing lives. He’ll never forget standing in the run-down apartment of a destitute, elderly woman in Odessa, Ukraine. If it weren’t for the American Joint Distribution Center, The Associated’s overseas partner, she would never have survived the winter.

Last spring, Turkel was one of 20 young men under the age of 45 who traveled to Israel on an Associated young men’s mission to understand how local dollars are allocated.

“I think when you can be involved with an organization on an ongoing basis and physically see how they are making a difference, it makes the philanthropic journey that much more impactful and long-term,” he says.

This article first appeared in Baltimore Magazine.

Join Our Community

Take a small step to make a big impact