The Mind of a Millennial Philanthropist

2016 cconey headshot“I would argue that I have been a philanthropist all my life. There’s always been a desire to repay the community for what they’ve given me.”

The millennial generation, born between 1982 and 2002, makes up the largest segment of the U.S. population.  According to the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey of 8,000 people in 30 countries, millennials “believe that by working together, there is hope to improve performance of business, as well as society as a whole.”

As a nonprofit fundraising professional, it is important for my sector to understand what inspires and motivates the world’s emerging leaders and decision-makers.

I had the pleasure of getting one millennial’s perspective. Chanel Coney, is an accomplished professional. At age 30, she is wise beyond her years. She is director of marketing at the $1 billion investment management firm CFI Partners. In 2016, she was named one of the Crain’s Chicago Business 20 in their 20s.

“I was looking for organizations where not only were my capital contributions impactful, my ideas were helpful, my volunteering was helpful. Where they cared where I was and what I was doing. And I’d like to think many other millennials prefer that form of giving as well.”

Chanel serves on the boards of Congo Square Theatre, 3Arts, LUMA8 and Harriet’s Daughters. During our conversation, she talked about the reciprocity of nonprofit service. Chanel’s board service allows her to facilitate mission fulfillment through her contribution of time and resources. In return she:

  • learns to have awareness beyond herself,
  • is exposed to people and thoughts that help her stay aware of other things happening in the world,
  • experiences the joy that comes with helping people, and
  • knows the blessing of having the tools and the opportunity to give to others.

On being a millennial, Chanel refuted the perceived negative reputation of her generation, especially being classified as lazy and not willing to follow the paths of older generations.

As for her work at CFI Partners, the company gives Chanel the chance to work for a firm that looks at productivity through the lens of humanity.  Not only is this part of the company culture, this thinking helps CFI be the best company it can be.  CFI  strategically partners with the Academy Group which invests in young people from underserved communities across the country. The Academy Group is developing the next innovators and industry leaders across all sectors.

Click on the links below to listen to Chanel’s interview on South Side Weekly Radio ( or 88.5FM) and to learn more about other information and resources referenced in this blog and her interview.

Chanel Coney Interview on Millennial Philanthropy

Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017

2016 Crain’s 20 In Their 20s – Coney

Congo Square Theatre

3 Arts


Harriet’s Daughters

CFI Partners

The Academy Group

November 20, 2017

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