The Intergenerational Philanthropy of the Eisner Foundation

A must read for philanthropists everywhere, what an incredible story on how the Eisner family became the first major philanthropy dedicated to intergenerational funding.

Act two: The move toward intergenerational programming

The most effective programs for older adults, it turns out, are intergenerational ones — activities that bring older and younger people together, often to solve problems that affect each, such as combating isolation of older folks by having them help kids improve their reading skills. Intergenerational programs allow a funder to serve two populations with every dollar, as we’ve written before when covering the Eisner-funded Heart of Los Angeles Intergenerational Orchestra. The economic crisis of 2008 meant the Eisner Foundation had less money to spend, which made the two-for-one nature of intergenerational funding particularly appealing.

Bringing people of different generations together for creative, positive interaction is also a great workaround in an era of intensifying polarization. Many divides today seem impossible to overcome. The generation gap? It’s relatively easy to bridge. Carving out a niche also allowed the relatively small foundation to take a leadership role, to “punch above our weight,” said Stamp.

In 2015, the foundation refined its focus to specifically fund intergenerational programs. Today, the Eisner Foundation is the leader in this space and the only major philanthropy dedicated to intergenerational funding. Like so many decisions before, this pivot is aligned with the family itself, now living a close, intergenerational reality itself.

“It’s a union between two populations who are isolated and do not have a lot of people advocating for them. We have an aging country. It really is important,” said Michael Eisner, who hopes his foundation’s intergenerational focus will lead other foundations to follow suit.

Read the full article by Inside Philanthropy here.