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Power in Numbers symposium shines spotlight on opportunity identified in Transfer of Wealth study

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

The Power in Numbers symposium at the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Training and Education Center in Erlanger Tuesday focused on philanthropy and how a collaborative community effort can capitalize on an emerging opportunity.

Joseph Clabes, president of the Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative, explains the opportunity identified in the organization’s Transfer of Wealth study (Photo by Mark Hansel)

The event was sponsored by the Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative (KPI), and the Horizon Community Funds.

The daylong symposium included examples of charitable giving by members of the community, panel discussions, and presentations on the diverse ways in which funding can be utilized.

Judy Clabes, editor and publisher of the Northern Kentucky Tribune, moderated the event.

A primary focus of Power in Numbers was KPI’s 2017 Transfer of Wealth Opportunity study that demonstrates how engaging future generations at an early age can fuel the region’s philanthropic needs.

Transfer of Wealth (TOW) is an estimate of American household wealth from which charitable giving could be realized. Over the next 50 years that amount, in the United States, is estimated at $72 trillion (in 2016 dollars). In the next 10 year alone, it is estimated at $7.7 trillion.

Joseph Clabes, president of the Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative, explained how capturing just a small percentage of that wealth generated in this region can have an enormous impact on charitable giving in Northern Kentucky.

“We are in the midst of the greatest intergenerational wealth transfer in the nation’s history,” Clabes said. “There are critical needs, financial needs, challenges that have no limit – government funding is not going to be there. Community based philanthropy provides a significantly underdeveloped source for those funds and that’s what the study has identified.”

Left, Dixie Heights High School junior Will Broomhead talks about how a cancer diagnosis five years ago changed his career path. Right, Yealey Elementary second graders Kella and Gillian, with an assist from teacher Tina Zureick explain their book learning project, as part of the Spotlight on Giving portion of the program (Photo by Mark Hansel)

The initial KPI Tranfer of Wealth study, conducted in 2010, identified $707 billion in wealth transfer in the 50-year period that ended in 2059. That study prompted the establishment of the Endow Kentucky tax credit, which is a 20 percent credit off of a state tax bill for a comparable contribution to an endowed fund.

The decision to revisit the study was based on its timing, which was in the midst of the great recession.

“Looking at how the economy and other factor had changed post-recession, we felt it was time to get a clearer picture, going forward,” Clabes said.

The updated TOW numbers for Kentucky, demonstrate just how great of an opportunity exists if emerging generations are encouraged to support philanthropic efforts.

The household net worth statewide was estimated at $728 billion in 2016.

The Transfer of Wealth Opportunity on that amount, in 10 years, is $80 billion. That increases to $193 billion in 20 years and $761 billion over 50 years.

“When we say a transfer of wealth opportunity, our goal would be to capture 5 percent of this transfer of wealth, into our community foundations and funds and then there will be an annual payout,” Clabes said. “It’s a conservative estimate, but it gives us a pretty good idea of the dollar figure we are dealing with here.”

If that 5 percent goal is realized, in the next 20 years, that would amount to $9.7 billion in new community endowments, with a sustained annual payout of $483 million in perpetual grant making.

“When you go to the 50 year opportunity, those numbers increase exponentially,” Clabes said. “Ultimately we are looking at, if we can capture 5 percent of the transfer of wealth over the next 50 year, we will see $1.9 billion statewide in perpetual grant making capability.”

By identifying the household net worth in the Northern Kentucky region the study was able to extrapolate numbers that might represent the TOW for the region.

More than 200 community stakeholders attended the Power in Numbers symposium at the St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center in Erlanger (Photo by Mark Hansel)

“If we capture 5 percent of the transfer between now and 2026 in our community foundations, that’s an annual payout of $22 million in this region, so there is money there and that’s perpetual annual revenue,” Clabes said. This is going to creep up naturally, but hopefully we can find some ways to tap into our creative class and improve these numbers through the success of the area, too. There really is no limit to what you can do with these fund, the important thing is that the community has a basket of funds to draw on.”

Power in Numbers also included Spotlight on Giving presentations from Gillian and Kella, second graders at Yealey Elementary School in Boone County, and Will Broomhead, a junior at Dixie Heights High School.

The Yealey Elementary Book Commercial Project was developed by teachers Tina Zureick and Craig Dunlop. They guided the second graders to take leadership of their learning to create book commercial videos.

Broomhead was diagnosed with cancer five years ago, which changed his life trajectory.

His goal now is to become a pediatric oncologist and researcher.

He was recently named a second-time winner of the Emperor Science Award presented by PBS Leaning Media and Stand Up To Cancer. With the $1,500 stipend Broomhead received, he started the program Foldscopes for Kentucky, which distributed 700 of the paper microscopes in one year.

Nancy Grayson, president of Horizon Community Funds, talks about how the organization is working toward an inclusive philanthropic effort that provides opportunities for personalized charitable giving (Photo by Mark Hansel)

Horizon Community Funds President Nancy Grayson provided an overview of the organization’s vision and a brief history of community foundations. Horizon Community Funds started about nine months ago with the goal of pooling community resources to improve the quality of life throughout the region.

Community foundations manage more than $50 billion in assets, provide $4 billion in grants and manage a variety of funds.

“We’re seeing as a result of this growth of community foundations that there is a new role that is emerging, a leadership role,” Grayson said. “How that might look in Northern Kentucky (compared to) the rest of the U.S. might be a little bit different. We’ve been spending time these last nine months, trying to think through…the needs of Northern Kentucky that we can help meet and what can we do to advance better outcomes and a brighter future for our region.”

The vision of Horizon Community Funds is to change the conversation of philanthropy and Grayson said events such as Power in Numbers can help that effort.

“We have the wonderful history of the many other community foundations that we have been talking with, learning the lessons that they have to share,” Grayson said. “But then also thinking about the things we want to do that are unique to our three-county footprint.”

Outside of the meeting hall, several Northern Kentucky nonprofits set up displays, demonstrating to the more than 200 community stakeholders in attendance the wide range of philanthropic opportunities available in the region.

The overall goal of the Horizon Community Funds is to provide an opportunity for everyone in the region to become more involved, even if they are contributing for the first time. Horizon Community Funds will also strive to become an inclusive organization that recognizes the diverse communities that make up Northern Kentucky and seek input from all of them.

Left to right, Rhonda Whitaker of Duke Energy led a “Grow NKY” panel discussion that included Dave Fleischer of the Ignite Institute, Dan Tobergte of Tri-ED and Gene Kirchner of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (Photo by Mark Hansel)

Grayson said the organization also recognizes that it is important to engage donors on a personal level, to be a “charitable concierge” that helps people recognize and achieve their individual philanthropic goals.

Dr. Doug Flora, Interim Oncology Medical Director at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, delivered a presentation that focused on the organization’s commitment to cancer prevention and treatment in Northern Kentucky. He spoke on the importance of community engagement and the collaborative effort that is fueling the development of the St. Elizabeth Cancer Institute, which will change the way cancer is diagnosed and treated in Northern Kentucky.

The Power in Numbers Lunch Panel Discussion focused on Leading Through Giving.

The panel included David A, Armstrong, president of Thomas Moore College, Garren Colvin, president and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Chuck Scheper, chairman of the board of Bexion Pharmaceuticals and Rhonda Whitaker, government and community relations director for Duke Energy and current chair of the NKY Chamber board of directors.

Each shared personal experiences of how they came to recognize the importance of philanthropy and the increasingly significant role it has played in their personal and professional lives.

Tashiba Shorter’s Spotlight on Giving story focused on her experience moving to the region to escape an abusive relationship, only to be left without a place to stay. With the help of the Women’s Crisis Center and Brighton Center, the mother of two transitioned from someone in desperate need of assistance to a contributing member of society who now devotes her time to helping others. She is finishing her degree as a resident of the Northern Kentucky Scholar House.

The “Investing in Our Future” panel discussion featured Jim Detwiler, deputy superintendent of Boone County Schools, Polly Lusk Page, executive director of the Northern Kentucky Education Council and Shelli Wilson, associate superintendent of Campbell County Schools.

The group talked about the importance of education and the increasing challenge of providing, and funding, the educational programs the next generation of leaders will need to be successful.

“Grow NKY” focused on how the interconnection of business and philanthropy can help the region proper and become more attractive to companies looking to relocate.

The panel included David Fleischer, a longtime member of Toyota’s senior management team who lead the initiative to develop the Ignite Institute at Roebling Innovation Center, Dan Tobergte, president and CEO of Tri-ED and Gene Kirchner, COO of the NKY Chamber.

In his Spotlight on Giving presentation, Brian Padilla, a senior at Conner High School in Boone County, talked about how the Navigo Scholars program has helped guide him on his career path.

“Navigo is where I changed from a quiet and shy kid with a vision, to the person you see here today,” Padilla said. “I had that same vision, except now I have the experiences and connections that will help me turn that vision into reality.”

Padilla has been accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and plans to major in engineering, with a minor in public policy.

“The common theme of Power in Numbers is that Northern Kentucky is a region that has a lot to offer and recognizes the importance and value of philanthropy.

Speakers made the point that the region has its own population, its own geography, its own history, and its own needs. The Transfer of Wealth Opportunity study has identified the available resources to help fund those needs. It is now up to the community, with the help of organizations such as Horizon Community Funds, to encourage a collaborative effort that crosses all demographic lines, to achieve that goal.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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