As a trusted advisor, Laily provides independent, customized philanthropic counsel to individual families, private and public family foundations, and the advisors that serve them. Many factors will shape the philanthropic services you may require, including your objectives, time horizon, and resources. Clients can take up the services they need, in any combination, and use them continuously or ad-hoc at any point on the giving/granting continuum.
Laily is in the process of compiling some of her favourite Client Stories, and invites you to read them below.
True philanthropy requires a disruptive mindset, innovative thinking and a philosophy driven by entrepreneurial insights and creative opportunities.
– Naveen Jain, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
The Hudson Family | Family Values meets Innovative Social Investment
A seasoned estate lawyer invited me to meet with one of her business clients as they discussed family succession planning. The Hudson Family (pseudonym), second-generation Albertans, had run a successful, family-owned, private business for several years. They have two children and three adult grandchildren with their oldest grandson the first to graduate with a post secondary degree in 2020.
The Hudsons believe passionately in the value of practical education, with a particular focus on helping low-income students succeed. Government funding cuts to educational institutions and rising tuition trouble them, especially when young graduates are not exiting university and readily finding employment. Their grandson was still unemployed, and they worried about families who were less able to support their adult children despite receiving post-secondary education.
The traditional charitable giving models for scholarships, awards and bursaries were familiar but felt insufficiently impactful. The founders’ entrepreneurial predispositions led them to raise questions about disrupting their giving patterns with alternatives that would both modernize their philanthropy and satisfy the demands of their generation X, Y, and Z children and grandchildren. How then might a combination of conventional and sophisticated charitable planning choices create a path to sustain the next generation?
Here are the options we explored:
1. Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards – Continue to donate to favourite alma mater institutions that are registered charities advancing education. Expand the family’s charitable reach to include multi-year funding especially for the bursaries. Add colleges and technical trade schools to the mix such as Southern Alberta Institute for Technology.
2. Social enterprise support – Provide equity, debt or donations to registered charities that support revenue-generating social enterprise models. One example discussed was Tamarack Institute’s ‘Communities Ending Poverty’ project, a powerful collective impact movement.
Another example considered was a partnership with community development finance institutions (CDFIs) such as Vancity Community Investment Bank which have provided loans to charities like Habitat For Humanity for affordable housing projects across Canada.
3. Investments (equity, debt or loan guarantees) with for-profit social venture initiatives that support education start-ups – These rapidly evolving ventures demonstrate, for instance, the use of gaming, artificial intelligence (AI) and coding skills applicable to students, teachers, and school systems. TopHat.com, one of Canada’s most successful educational technology start-ups which makes learning active in real time, was a real favourite.
4. Investment in Certified B Corporations (“B-Corps”) – We suggested Better World Books, the largest online bookstore on the planet.
5. And finally, we invited the founders to have a conversation with their wealth advisor to review their investment portfolio and include exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, private equity or debt, with a focus on public companies addressing targeted, values-based issues such as food security, education, economic development, and addiction, all of which are in alignment with the family’s core values.
The donor family embraced all of these alternative strategies, both to further fulfill their giving in their lifetimes as well as adding charitable bequests in their updated Wills. A subsequent family meeting was held with their children and grandchildren to share some of these approaches and to invite family participation in their areas of interest. We now meet annually, including with the younger generations, to review their plan.
Every successful philanthropic advising relationship is based on trust. You and your advisor will talk about much more than money. You’ll talk about issues you care about deeply, your personal motivations and even your personal relationships with other family members. You’ll want someone you can trust completely to keep your secrets safe and your best interests at heart.
Good philanthropic advisors quickly understand what inspires their clients and find ways to build on that passion. Conversations with your advisor should leave you feeling hopeful, excited, and always ready to move forward.
Strong philanthropic advisors help you clarify your goals and bring forward bold new ideas to help you move toward them. As with financial advisors, they take the time to understand your tolerance for risk, but they also encourage you to challenge your beliefs and assumptions as you consider your philanthropic investment strategy. At the end of the day, you should find yourself thinking more deeply and making new connections that you may not have made on your own.
Philanthropy is a highly personalized undertaking, and while an advisor may have a general guiding process, she must first and foremost be willing to adapt that process to your needs.
When considering an advisor’s experience, the key is to look for breadth rather than depth. In other words, the more different forms of philanthropy (foundations, donor-advised funds, individual giving, corporate social responsibility giving, impact investing, etc.) in which an advisor has worked, the better.
Your philanthropy will be most effective when your philanthropic advisor is in regular contact with your other advisors. For example, when your philanthropic advisor knows in advance that you’re planning to take a distribution from a family business or that a large gift will be needed in the current year to offset an impending tax liability, she can help you plan your philanthropic investments accordingly. She also can work with your business or investment advisors to ensure that your philanthropic investments work hand-in-hand with your business or market rate ones, so that returns align with your overall vision. Look for a true team player who’s willing to understand and work within the bigger picture.