Is funding innovation economy-sensitive? Does it flourish during good times and wane during an economic downturn? Has the relationship between young funders and innovation been a mere fling that is likely to unravel from the pressures of a new economic reality? Based on conversations with some young funders and professional staff from across the Jewish philanthropic landscape, the answer appears to be "no." The interest of young funders in innovation seems to be stronger and more long term than a fling. Through collective philanthropic funds, family foundations, and as individual donors, young funders who have pursued innovation during periods of economic growth have continued to pursue innovative projects and organizations during today's more challenging economic climate - albeit with occasional changes in focus. Many of these young funders, most of whom are in their 20s, 30s, and even mid-40s, see innovation as a value worth incorporating into their philanthropic portfolios, regardless of economic conditions. For some other young funders, funding innovation is a value, but one that involves more risk and therefore fluctuates slightly in importance with changes in the economy.
There are some young funders who have resisted the idea of funding innovation even during the prosperous years, but still found their giving affected in other ways as the economy weakened. For the most part, however, the commitment to innovation runs deep among young funders today, and the new economic landscape is merely seen as an opportunity to rethink, re-strategize, and reprioritize the most effective ways of finding and funding innovation.