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Philanthropic Services for Family Offices

Happy volunteer looking at donation box.

U.S. Trust is committed to helping families achieve their philanthropic goals in an effective, efficient and enjoyable manner.

Drawing on our deep resources and experience in philanthropy, we can assist families and their family offices in designing, implementing, and evaluating their philanthropic plans.

Whether your family office already has philanthropic processes and vehicles in place or is considering pursuing philanthropic goals for the first time, there are essential considerations— administrative, educational, strategic and investment — that need to be addressed to better enable the family to achieve its philanthropic vision.

Philanthropy done well is more than transactional and, at its best, can be transformational for donor families. Alongside our U.S. Trust Philanthropic Solutions Group, the U.S. Trust Family Office can help you create and manage your family’s philanthropic strategy.

SPECTRUM OF GIVING OPTIONS

While some families prefer the ease and spontaneity of direct giving, many of today’s donors also use structured options that enable a more nuanced and strategic approach to their giving. Employing a more deliberate charitable strategy can help families better integrate their giving with their broader wealth management strategy. Choosing structured options for the family’s philanthropy can facilitate the sharing of family values, and help bridge generations and unite family members around shared causes and concerns.

There are many ways to give and to advance a family’s philanthropic goals, including:

DIRECT DONATIONS TO CHARITY

  • Provide immediate financial support to charities
  • Are typically tax-deductible in current year

VOLUNTEERISM

  • Allows hands-on involvement through a wide range of roles and responsibilities, including board member, and volunteer
  • Provides valuable insight into an organization
  • Provides opportunity to employ skills and talents

DONOR-ADVISED FUNDS

  • Allow tax-deductible contributions to the donor’s personal giving account
  • Allow grants to be distributed to charities from this personal giving account over time based on the donor’s recommendations
  • Allow for anonymous giving

CHARITABLE TRUSTS

Charitable remainder trust

  • Provide regular payments to the donor or their beneficiaries
  • Provide remainder to charitable beneficiary when trust terminates

Charitable lead trusts

  • Provide income to charity for a specified time
  • Return remaining assets to the donor or heirs when trust expires

PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS

  • Provide full control over grantmaking and investment management
  • Provide room for family engagement at all levels
  • Are subject to minimum distribution requirements
  • Are subject to IRS regulations including annual tax filing and payment

SUPPORTING A PHILANTHROPIC STRATEGY WITHIN YOUR FAMILY OFFICE

Our philanthropic and family office consultants can provide guidance and share best practices with family office staff and family members on a variety of strategic questions and concerns, including:

  • Mission and vision. Identifying and articulating family values and interest areas in a formal statement to guide giving.
  • Giving strategy. Developing an approach to giving that’s effective and efficient.
  • Family collaboration. Facilitating discussions, retreats, events and customized consultations to engage multigenerational family members in meaningful ways; finding charitable solutions that include all family members; encouraging teamwork on the issues that matter most.
  • Education and networks. Developing learning plans to enhance knowledge of important issues; connecting to peer networks and education opportunities.
  • Impact. Establishing criteria to help measure progress toward goals so giving can be both successful and satisfying.
  • Governance. Providing guidance on board structure and foundation, including meeting applicable distribution requirements, creating written policies, and avoiding improper grant distributions or use of philanthropic assets.
  • Succession planning. Educating and engaging current and future philanthropic stewards and leaders.
  • Administration1. Verifying the tax-exempt status of grant recipients; confirming that recipient organizations are not flagged on specific watch lists; preparing grant correspondence; maintaining current grantmaking records.
  • Wealth planning. Integrating philanthropy into the family’s overarching wealth strategy, including selecting the appropriate giving vehicle(s).
  • Investment management. Creating a highly customized investment approach that aligns with the mission, spending policy, risk tolerance, liquidity needs and fiduciary responsibilities.

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