Published On: Sun, May 3rd, 2015

Emergence of Young Philanthropists in Australia Shows Profound Generational Shift

Berry Liberman and husband Danny Almagor. Source Supplied

Driven by a desire to live meaningful lives and play a bigger role in society, a new generation of philanthropists in Australia is embracing charity.

While their forebears frequently donated funds to art galleries, hospitals, and educational institutions, these young philanthropists are focused on such causes as the environment, indigenous affairs, mental health, educational disadvantage and gender inequality, the Australian Financial Review said.

“Money has played an incredibly destructive role in the creation of society; it doesn’t have to, ” said Berry Liberman, who belongs to one of the country’s richest families. “The question is how can we mobilize the great privilege we’ve been given to live meaningful lives.”

Liberman is a granddaughter of the late Jack Liberman, who built an incredibly successful business after immigrating to Australia as a Holocaust survivor after World War II.

Liberman and her husband Danny Almagor run Small Giants, a company which invests in businesses focused on creating a “more socially equitable and environmentally sustainable world” such as environmentally sustainable housing projects, organic agriculture and sustainable energy projects.

Almagor’s Impact Investment Group, which has assets under management totalling $200 million, promises its shareholders to “identify investment opportunities that offer commercial returns while creating a positive social and environmental impact to improve the world in which we live”.

Almagor, who comes from a Jewish family in Melbourne, also launched Engineers Without Borders Australia, a nonprofit organization which provides engineering services in the Asia Pacific region.

Liberman and Almagor are members of the New Generation of Giving program which has grown to over 200 members, all twenty-or-thirty-somethings, in less than two years. The group meets regularly to network, listen to guest speakers on philanthropy and discuss social problems.

Australia’s young philanthropists want their Generation X and Y peers to regard philanthropy as “cool” and necessary, especially in the country where four out of every 10 citizens with an annual income of more than $1 million still give nothing to charity, according to the report.

“I live with my heart on my sleeve and values at the forefront of every decision. If that’s political, bring it on, ” Liberman said, adding that she is moved by “an intense sense of urgency of all that needs to be done in the world.”

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