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BMO Financial Group

November 15, 2016 08:00 ET

BMO Wealth Management Report Examines Charitable Giving of Canada's Wealthy and Provides Insight into Philanthropic Landscape

- More than four in five donated $10,000 or less in the past 12 months

- Fifty-two per cent say they choose to donate to charities to which they have a personal connection

- More than half say their motivation to give is the desire to have an impact on their community; only 21 per cent say they give to reduce taxes

- BMO launches a donor-advised fund, the BMO Charitable Giving Program, to give Canadians more options for giving

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 15, 2016) - To mark National Philanthropy Day, BMO Wealth Management has released a report examining the philanthropic landscape among high-net-worth Canadians, including how they choose charities, their motivations for giving and the ways they give. The report – "Canadians want to give, but what's holding them back?" – surveyed Canadians with investable assets, excluding their primary residence, of more than $1,000,000.

The BMO Wealth Management report revealed how much wealthy Canadians donated in the past 12 months:

  • $10,000 or less (83 per cent)
  • $10,001 to $100,000 (8 per cent)
  • $100,001 to $250,000 (2 per cent)
  • $250,001 to $1,000,000 (2 per cent)
  • Over $1,000,001 (4 per cent)

According to the report, fifty-two per cent of wealthy Canadians choose to donate to charities to which they have a personal connection. Other reasons include:

  • Researched organization and the cause it supports (41 per cent)
  • Considered family values and/or discussed with family (35 per cent)
  • Had a desire to support pressing issues in society (26 per cent)

The report also found high-net-worth Canadians are more motivated to give by altruistic than financial reasons. The majority say they want to have an impact on their community (55 per cent) and give back (50 per cent), compared to 21 per cent who say they give to reduce taxes.

When asked what could prevent them from giving confidently, they said they would be most concerned that the charity will not use their funds wisely (43 per cent) and that they have a lack of knowledge of or personal connection to the charity (28 per cent).

"For many Canadians, feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled by charitable giving stems from questioning the impact donations are having. These concerns often come from donors who are giving to multiple organizations and haven't focused on specific issues," said Marvi Ricker, Vice President, Philanthropic Services, BMO Wealth Management. "Doing your research to find an organization or issue that you feel passionately about and having specific goals for making meaningful change are important steps for impactful philanthropy."

Giving Comes in Many Forms

According to the report, the most popular way that high-net-worth Canadians give is with cash (87 per cent). Other types of gifts they make include:

  • Volunteering time (54 per cent)
  • Gifts in kind, such as appreciated securities (35 per cent)
  • Art or property (20 per cent)

To give Canadians more options for philanthropy, BMO Wealth Management has launched a donor-advised fund, the BMO Charitable Giving Program. The Program allows donors to give and obtain tax savings in the current calendar year, but they will have the ability to disburse the donations to their designated charitable beneficiaries over time. Gift Funds Canada, the Program's charitable partner, takes on all administrative responsibilities, saving donors time and simplifying the process.

"Although tax benefits are not the primary motivator for Canadian donors, it is still necessary to understand the rules for donating assets so you can ensure you are making donations in a financially sound way. This will ultimately allow you to give more in the long run," said Chris Buttigieg, Director, Wealth Planning Publications, BMO Wealth Management. "A financial professional can help you determine which option will fit with your goals for giving and your overall financial plan."

BMO offers the following tips to help Canadians choose which giving options will work for them:

Private foundations and donor-advised funds: A private foundation allows a donor to make grants within CRA rules, but the donor also carries the responsibility of administering that foundation. On the other hand, a donor-advised fund – which involves no administration by the donor – has less freedom and flexibility for the amounts the donor can grant because there may be limitations set by the public foundation that is holding the fund.

Publicly traded securities: Donating publicly traded securities may provide an opportunity to reduce the tax you would otherwise have to pay on the sale of your investments, as the taxable capital gain on a donated publicly traded security may be eliminated.

Real estate or private company shares: There is no capital gains exemption for these donations but they are eligible for tax credits. They may be appropriate for business owners with a tax bill for appreciated property or private shares on the horizon. This is a more complex way of giving so it is a good idea to seek advice from a tax professional in order to do it effectively.

Charitable bequests: To involve children in the act of giving and leave a legacy for the next generation, you can support your favourite charities through charitable bequests in your will. Be sure to discuss this approach with family members and seek guidance on structuring it properly.

To view a copy of the full report, please visit: www.bmo.com/wealthreports.

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About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of $692 billion as of July 31, 2016, and over 45,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

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