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Women, Philanthropy, and “The Great Wealth Transfer”

Nearly 80 years ago, The Columbus Foundation received its first unsolicited gift in the amount of $25. The gift came from Olga Anna Jones, a former teacher, an editor of the Ohio Woman Voter, and the first woman to serve as a Columbus City Councilmember.

Jones’ generous gift embodied the community-minded spirit reflected in other women pioneers of our region, including Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly around the world solo, who inspired the creation of The Columbus Foundation’s Spirit of Columbus Award.

Pictured: Olga Anna Jones

Our work at The Columbus Foundation wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our donors—including women like Jones. Women’s philanthropy plays a central role in The Columbus Foundation’s past, present, and future, and their strategic and thoughtful giving makes a difference in our community and beyond.

In the coming years, women will come to hold a larger share of the nation’s wealth—which means women’s philanthropy has the potential to play an even greater role in our region. With this in mind, here are three things to consider about the future of women’s philanthropic giving:

1. Driven by a desire to create positive social change, women are highly engaged in charitable giving.

For many women, charitable giving is an important aspect of their lives. In fact, women are more likely than men to engage in many forms of giving back—from volunteering their time to engaging in socially responsible investing. Similar research has found that single, separated, divorced, and widowed women are more likely to give, and give higher amounts, than their male counterparts. Women are also more likely than men to give to charity as their income rises—an important factor as women build their wealth.

2. Women are poised to inherit a large share of “The Great Wealth Transfer”—the greatest generational wealth transfer in history.

Today, women control roughly one-third of total household financial assets in the United States. However, over the next decade, women are poised to inherit a large share of assets currently held by the Baby Boomer generation. Moreover, many women will inherit twice—once from their parents, and once from their spouses or partners. By 2030, women will hold more than two-thirds of wealth in the United States, setting the stage for women to grow their philanthropic impact.

3. There is a gender gap when it comes to participating in and knowledge of charitable investment strategies.

Although women are extremely active in charitable giving and are on the cusp of inheriting tens of trillions of dollars of wealth, women are less likely than men to have spoken with a financial advisor about charitable investment strategies. And even though Millennial women are more likely to have spoken with a financial advisor about charitable planning compared to women of previous generations, they, too, lag behind their Millennial male counterparts.

As wealth changes hands in the United States in the coming years, there will likely be a seismic shift in the philanthropic landscape, with women holding greater philanthropic influence. It’s imperative that professional advisors help women meet their philanthropic goals by initiating charitable conversations with their clients.

The Columbus Foundation is honored to serve as the trusted philanthropic advisor for thousands of individuals, families, and businesses, helping them help others through the most effective philanthropy possible. Our Donor Services team is experienced, knowledgeable, and focused on the goals of your giving. To learn more, reach out to our Donor Services team at



Mar 9, 2023





Vice President – Donor Services, The Columbus Foundation