From by Jennifer Levitz:
At the Millbrook School's grandparents day last month, 71-year-old Matt Filler attended classes with his granddaughter, took in a field-hockey game and toured the campus, which has its own zoo and art gallery.

Two days later, Millbrook, a boarding school in New York's Hudson Valley, followed up with a letter asking Mr. Filler for a donation, with giving categories as high as $50,000-plus. A few years ago, during a grandparents day at a Connecticut prep school attended by another of Mr. Filler's granddaughters, a development officer made the pitch to him directly at the coffee hour, he says.

At private schools from New York to California, it isn't just parents being hit up for donations. In the 2012-13 school year, 13% of grandparents who were solicited made annual gifts, while a decade ago, grandparents were hardly on schools' radar, according to surveys of members of the National Association of Independent Schools, which represents 1,400 U.S. private schools.

In Minneapolis, the Blake School says more than 100 grandparents gave a total of $466,000 in 2013, versus about 60 who gave $27,000 a decade ago. In Sarasota, Fla., the Out-of-Door Academy says total grandparent giving was $62,403 this year, up from $31,720 five years ago. Outside Buffalo, N.Y., the Park School says the number of donor grandparents has doubled in the past five years.

Driving the growing grandparent outreach is the wave of aging baby boomers and the inheritance they have received from the World War II generation, says Paul Schervish, the director of the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College. Though the median net worth of the 55-plus age group declined in the recent recession, it was still 12% higher, at $157,763, in 2011 than in 1998, according to inflation-adjusted figures from the U.S. Census.

"These schools are not dumb," says Mr. Schervish, who says many grandparents already assist with private-school tuition, so it makes sense to include them in the annual solicitation.

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