High Net Worth Philanthropy

Here’s the source for George Will’s column (cited yesterday) that philanthropy is how very wealthy people differentiate themselves from the merely wealthy: The Luxury Institute, a think tank representing the luxury-loving community, issued a press release summarizing a major research finding: “Eight of ten wealthy consumers feel that community commitment is an important philanthropic activity for luxury brands.” The Institute surveyed 950 persons with an average income of $370,000 and net worth of $3.1 million and found that the three luxury brands most admired for their philanthropy are Lexus, American Express and Polo Ralph Lauren.

 Lexus, for instance, sponsors the Lexus Environmental Challenge, helping teachers prepare lesson plans teaching kids about the environment. American Express focuses on historical preservation as does Ralph Lauren, which also supports cancer research and hurricane relief. 

 The president of the Luxury Institute notes that for the luxury industry and its patrons philanthropy is a key aspect of “brand reputation management.”

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