Billionaire Warren Buffett is to give away the bulk of his fortune to philanthropic structures.
Billionaire Warren Buffett is to give away the bulk of his fortune to philanthropic structures. File

'Life-changing moments' key to giving

AUSTRALIA'S largest study into why people give and set up charitable trusts has been released by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at the Queensland University of Technology.

Lead researcher Wendy Scaife said "life-changing moments" were a key factor among the 40 people interviewed who had each set up philanthropic structures.

"We found decisions to set up foundations often came from people taking stock of what life and money was about, closing chapters in their lives such as moving on from business careers, or windfall events such as gaining an inheritance,'' Dr Scaife said.

"We found too that seasoned business folk or the middle-aged or older were asking themselves 'now what?

"'We've raised our children, they're independent, we've got a capacity to give - should we?'

"People also want their life experience to be of use to others so they channel not just money but energy and contacts into something that's important to both the community and to themselves, be that medical research, the arts, indigenous needs, education - their personal passion.''

Dr Scaife said there were a variety of structures to enable people to give and the one they chose depended upon how much money they were giving, the time they had available and how involved they wanted to be in making grants.


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