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Strategic Philanthropyfor Individuals & Families

Create More Impact as a Donor

Donors who consider philanthropy to be a centerpiece of their values are often focused on their ability to achieve the environmental and social change they seek. 

Our Approach

At U.S. Trust we recognize that philanthropy is often a priority for our clients. And further, we understand that a primary motivation for wealthy philanthropic donors is the ability to effect change in their communities and society more broadly. We have extensive experience in assisting our clients in helping to achieve their philanthropic goals using both traditional and innovative tools. 








Hello, my name is Claire Costello, and I'm a managing director in the Philanthropic Solutions Group at U.S. Trust.


Every two years since 2006, U.S. Trust surveys high-net-worth individuals to learn more about the philanthropic priorities—and challenges—of wealthy Americans.




Perhaps the most fundamental finding from the survey is that giving remains a priority for wealthy individuals. Last year, 91% of American high net worth households, as compared to 59% of average households, donated to charity, giving on average $25,000 per household—about 10 times that of the general population.



Importantly, wealthy families' giving was not limited to dollars donated.


In 2015, 50% of wealthy individuals volunteered their time and talents to charitable organizations, a rate twice that of the general population.


And while 42% of wealthy donors said they experienced a high degree of personal fulfillment from their charitable giving, even more (63%) said they derived fulfillment from volunteering.


One way to make charitable giving more satisfying, according to our survey's results, is to make charitable giving a multigenerational effort.


More than three quarters of wealthy families, 77%, who involve their younger family members in their philanthropic decisions found it was personally rewarding to do so, yet only 29% of wealthy households engage their children or grandchildren in their philanthropy.


Among those who did not involve their younger family members, more than 60% said they did not even try to involve them—either because it was inconvenient to do so, because they didn't think their younger relatives might be interested, or simply because they did not know how to do so.


At U.S Trust, we've helped many of our clients bring their children into the charitable giving process, and we can attest to the benefits of doing so. It's an effective way to communicate values to children across generations. It can also instill an interest in philanthropy at a younger age, which can translate into a strong commitment to giving over time. And being strongly committed to philanthropy is important because, while charitable giving can be very satisfying, it can also be very challenging.


Of the wealthy donors surveyed, 67% reported that their greatest challenge is identifying what causes they care about and about deciding where to donate.


They also said it was difficult to determine whether their giving was effective. Indeed, only 44% of respondents said they believe their giving is having the impact they intended, which may be partly due to the fact that 78% of wealthy donors do not monitor or evaluate the impact of their charitable giving at all.


These findings about the challenges associated with charitable giving come as no surprise to us. Many of our clients have told us how difficult it is to decide which organizations to support and to determine whether their gifts are being used well.






We've found that you can make philanthropy less challenging—and more fulfilling—by putting some structure around your charitable giving. For example, we've helped our clients make the philanthropic decision making process more efficient and effective by utilizing donor-advised funds, charitable trusts and family foundations. By leveraging these vehicles as part of a more strategic approach to giving, you can maximize the impact of your gifts on the organizations you support and the causes they address and make the giving process more satisfying for you and your family.


I have covered only a fraction of the findings. I urge you to read the full report, which you can find here on








IMPORTANT INFORMATION Opinions expressed are those of the featured participant, U.S. Trust, and may differ from those of Bank of America and its affiliates. The information presented in this video is for discussion purposes only and is not intended to serve as a recommendation or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any type of security. This animated video does not constitute investment advice and is issued without regard to specific investment objectives or the financial situation of any particular recipient.


Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager, and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax or estate planning strategy.


Institutional Investments & Philanthropic Solutions ("Philanthropic Solutions") is part of U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management ("U.S. Trust"). U.S. Trust operates through Bank of America, N.A. and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp.") Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. Trust and fiduciary services and other banking products are provided by wholly owned banking affiliates of BofA Corp., including Bank of America, N.A.


Fiduciary standards or fiduciary duties do not apply, for example, when the Bank is offering or providing credit solutions, banking, custody, or brokerage products/services or referrals to other affiliates of the Bank.


Investment products:

Are Not FDIC Insured

Are Not Bank Guaranteed

May Lose Value


Donor Facilitations

Hosting discussions, events, and customized consultation to engage multi-generational family members in meaningful ways, find charitable solutions that represent multiple voices, identify differences and provide structure for pursuing common purpose. 

Personal Engagement and Enjoyment

Helping you to become more engaged with your philanthropy, achieve greater outcomes, and derive greater personal fulfillment. 

Giving Beyond Grantmaking

Helping you to become more strategic and create greater leverage in your giving through traditional grantmaking. 

Related Solutions

Foundations & Grantmaking

From inspiration to impact. 


Business Owners

Insights and guidance for you, your family and your business needs.


Specialized Foundation Services

Maximizing effectiveness and efficiency.



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