The New Face of Philantropy

December 2001

Their mailbox is full of brightly colored, cleverly written invitations. The Denver Zoo’s Wild Things Society wanted them at the Brew at the Zoo in September. Colorado Ballet’s Front & Center wanted them to attend the First Bite Dracula party in October. The Denver Art Museum’s CultureHaus has its eye on them for the 2002 membership drive. Opera Colorado’s Soap Society: Opera for the Young and Restless wants them to attend an Italian wine tasting for Tosca in February.

These are not Denver’s newest millionaire philanthropists; the Perez family is just like thousands of other Coloradans. Newly married, under 40, college-educated homeowners with a double income. According to the 2000 U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 4.3 million people live in Colorado. Nearly half the state’s population, 46 percent, is between the ages of 20 and 54.

Cheryl and Joe, along with thousands of others in the Denver metropolitan area, are part of a growing number of individuals that can be classified as Cultural Creatives, or rather, tomorrow’s face of philanthropy.

For more than half a decade, sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson measured thousands of people’s changing values and lifestyles. The results of their research were published in a book called, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World.