November 16, 2021
ECCF Reimagines Generational Philanthropy in Essex County

Foundation’s NextGen initiative aims to make giving back a more inclusive experience  

Danvers, MA – What does it mean to be a ‘philanthropist?’

This question is at the heart of a reimagining of NextGen Philanthropy, ECCF’s initiative to engage new generations of philanthropic leaders in Essex County. Originally launched in 2014, this evolution of NextGen aims to redefine traditional ideas of philanthropy as something more inclusive, diverse and accessible.

“Money is just one of the currencies that contributes to philanthropy’s role in the health, sustainability and resiliency of our communities,” said Carol Lavoie Schuster, ECCF’s vice president for grants, nonprofit and donor services. “If you have certain skills, if you have a passion or an innovative idea of how people can come together to strengthen local systems of support, we want you to come to the table with that too.”

ECCF will target two rising generations of philanthropists, adults aged 32-50, and, new this year for NextGen, youth in grades K-8.

“We believe it’s really important to connect with kids about the challenges happening right in our own communities and for them to begin to understand that they can be part of the solution,” said Lavoie Schuster.

Over the next two years, ECCF will offer programming that is meant to inspire meaningful connections and greater local philanthropic impact. Specific activities will include:

  • ECCF’s Youth Philanthropy Initiative, which will connect young people with age-appropriate experiential giving and volunteer opportunities.
  • Purpose Parties for adults that include educational components, networking and leadership development opportunities.
  • Next-Level Get Togethers, during which a diverse group of people will collaborate in design-thinking challenges that solve real-life issues in Essex County.
  • An Annual Giving Gathering that brings families and individuals together to participate in a meaningful activity and offers the opportunity to make a real-time gift to a cause or charity.

“We really hope to create an informed pipeline of people who will care for Essex County – with intention and strategy – for generations to come,” said Lavoie Schuster.

This work is being led by an expanded committee of diverse and passionate community leaders that come from every corner of Essex County. The committee is being co-chaired by Eric Immerman of Salem and Kathryn Price of Lynnfield.

“ECCF is all about working together to solve our regional challenges and examine the large systemic changes that need to take place,” said Immerman, who is leading programming for adult philanthropists, including the spring Next-Level Get Together, when food insecurity will be the focus. “Kathryn and I—and the whole committee—have really grown to view all of our work through this lens.”

Price is leading youth programming.

“It is such an exciting prospect for the future to imagine the impact of explicitly teaching Essex County’s youngest residents about Philanthropic acts they can engage in, while also sharing these same opportunities with their adult caregivers,” said Price. “Our diverse committee shares a common passion for philanthropy, particularly when it comes to playing an active role in increasing the investment in, and equitable access to, these opportunities in our region.”

Anyone interested in learning more about NextGen should visit

“We really want to open up this idea of ‘giving back’ as something that is available to everyone,” said Lavoie Schuster. “We’re hoping to create the changemakers of tomorrow.”

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