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Cultivating the next generation

Cultivating the next generation

Nurturing tomorrow’s leaders is a crucial next step for Orange County philanthropy

Orange County is at a critical juncture. Our founders are passing the mantle of responsibility to their heirs. At the same time, the county is home to a growing number of diverse new arrivals, community leaders ready to make a difference in their own fashion.

To get a firsthand perspective on the importance of nurturing the pipeline of our community’s future philanthropic leadership, I sat down with Vicki Ueberroth Booth, the newly-elected board chairwoman of the Orange County Community Foundation. Booth, who also serves as president of the Ueberroth Family Foundation,  works with dozens of nonprofit organizations countywide, including Sage Hill School, where she was a founding trustee and recently completed a term as chairman of the board.

Q: What type of preparation does the next generation of philanthropists need to be effective?

A: Philanthropy is personal. A great way to begin is to reflect upon your values and what speaks to your heart. Then educate yourself on the organizations that do work in your areas of interest. I worked with the Next Generation program at OCCF; it is a great tool to find the organizations that service the areas you are most passionate about. 

Q: How can families begin to engage their own next generations—children and grandchildren—in the giving experience?

A: It’s never too early talk to children about basic needs, and to make them aware that not everyone has access to adequate food, clothing and shelter. Nurture compassion and understanding, in addition to gratitude for having food to eat and a safe place to sleep. Exposure to organizations such as food banks and homeless shelters gives children the opportunity to see people helping others and making a difference.The Ueberroth Family Foundation has a junior board that consists of the third generation of our family. Through site visits, volunteering and grant making, they are able to experience giving back to their community. 

Q: What type of next-generation philanthropic leadership is needed in Orange County? 

A: The next generation of leadership needs to be collaborative and open to creative solutions. I see large numbers of recent high school and college graduates who have experienced a sense of purpose and fulfillment through service and volunteerism and are giving back to their communities. They will be the new leaders in philanthropy as well as our nonprofits. The better educated and more involved we are as philanthropists, the more we will be able to make a real impact. 

To learn more about how you and your family can get involved in giving, visit ConnectOC.org or Nonprofit Central.


Shelley Hoss is president of the Orange County Community Foundation. She can be reached at [email protected].

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