Interview with Jeff Young, regional vice-president at National Bank Private Banking 1859 in Calgary
Many wealthy Canadians want to leave a legacy not just for their loved ones, but also to charitable causes that align with their values and are close to their hearts. The socio-economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have also inspired many people to support their communities.
Philanthropy is a way for well-off families to give back but it should be done strategically — with the help of trusted advisors — to achieve maximum impact, says Jeff Young, regional vice-president of National Bank Private Banking 1859 in Calgary.
“Philanthropy works best when it’s built into a holistic wealth management plan,” says Mr. Young, whose clients include a range of Calgary’s wealthiest individuals including executives and entrepreneurs in sectors such as energy, technology and financial services.
Planning is key
Mr. Young and his team try to get clients to think about charitable giving early on in the financial and estate planning process, since it can often take time for people to figure out their philanthropic vision and goals.
“It’s not necessarily something you think about every day,” Mr. Young says. “It might sit in the back of your mind and I think it’s important to bring it to light and not delay the discussion.”
Mr. Young likes to start the charitable giving conversation with clients by asking: “Are you interested in leaving a legacy? And if you are interested, what might that look like?'”
“It has to be a pretty open-ended discussion,” he adds.
From there, Mr. Young says his team asks clients to consider what causes they want to support.
Many wealthy people feel a desire to give back, possibly because their success is partly due to support from their community. Or there’s a personal issue, such as an illness in the family, that drives them to support research toward a cure, he says.
If there’s a particular organization a client wants to support, Mr. Young recommends donors contact that organization before donating to see if there are any giving guidelines.
Exploring ways to give
Giving can be done while alive, or after the donor passes away, or both, Mr. Young says, depending on a person’s assets and their financial and estate plans. Some clients choose to give a one-time gift, while for others it’s ongoing.
“There are many options that someone would want to explore,” he says. “An advisor can help you choose the right one, depending on your wishes.”
There are different ways to give back beyond donating cash and collecting a tax receipt. For instance, a family can donate valuable art, property, or company shares held either personally or as part of a business which can often result in a bigger donation to the charity. Family members can also donate their time, including sitting on charitable organization boards or helping with events or providing strategic advice.
It is also important to consider tax-efficient strategies for philanthropy that benefit both the donor and the recipient and different ways to donate.
“If there’s a desire to leave a legacy, there are lots of options in terms of what you can give,” Mr. Young says.
There are also different ways to structure your giving, either personally or through a business, through a foundation or a donor-advised fund, the latter of which is administered by a public charity created to manage donations.
Private Banking 1859 recently began offering donor-advised fund services through the Philantra Foundation, which, for an established fee, handles the administration and legal tasks of setting up and managing the fund.
Mr. Young says the foundation allows philanthropists to create their own charity without worrying about the timelines, cost and administration.
“We take the hardest administrative and regulatory compliance parts away,” he says of the foundation, which is inspired by National Bank’s values of agility, partnership and empowerment.
That leaves the donors with the more enjoyable task of choosing which organizations will benefit.
A family affair
Lastly, when planning and making charitable donations, Mr. Young recommends clients involve their family members, especially if the next generation will carry on with the philanthropic legacy.
Not only does the engagement help the family members understand the chosen charities and how they work, but it can help to bring the family closer together.
“It can be bonding for the family and, hopefully, the kids get involved and want to carry on,” Mr. Young says. “It can be very fulfilling for everyone involved.”
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.