Wealth Planning

Philanthropy, the Wealthy & Family Offices


Alain E. Roch, MBA

President and CEO

Alain.Roch@bluebridge.caThe COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to increasingly more initiatives in order to encourage the wealthiest people to give a portion of their wealth to charity. This phenomenon, which involves replacing public action with private donations, has been the province of the wealthy for some decades now in Europe, the United States and even Québec!

In 2020, the Fonds COVID Québec philanthropy initiative was created to tackle the unprecedented pandemic situation. It was launched by a consortium of private foundations in Québec comprising the Molson Foundation, Mirella & Lino Saputo Foundation, Trottier Family Foundation and Jarislowsky Foundation. The J.A. Bombardier and Echo foundations have also contributed to the Fund. Its goals are to curb the spread of COVID-19, support testing and vaccination, and protect the elderly and other people in Greater Montréal at higher risk of getting sick. Over the past year, the foundations have invested $10.5 M in the pandemic response effort.

Initiatives such as these are all the more necessary since the welfare state has reached its public spending limits; we must share the management of common issues with citizens. It’s up to affluent and/or generous individuals to take over.

There are those who doubt that the wealthiest really do give a portion of their wealth to charitable organizations and who believe that the funds usually stay in their own private foundations. To track who among the world’s wealthiest has put the most money into the hands of non-profits—rather than into their own charitable foundations—Forbes partnered with SHOOK Research to compile data on the biggest givers in America from 2014 through 2018. The results speak for themselves: as a percentage of their net wealth, investment guru Warren Buffet gave out 16.3% of his fortune, Bill and Melinda Gates 9%, financier Georges Soros 37.4%, Swiss entrepreneur Hansjoerg Wyss 24.6%, etc.

And they’re going to do a lot more, because these major donors have taken The Giving Pledge, a movement launched in 2010 by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet that calls on billionaires to commit at least 50% of their wealth to philanthropy. Warren Buffet is on his way to donating 99.99% of his fortune to charity because he intends to leave his children “just a few hundred thousand dollars”.

The most cynical observers underscore the tax benefits of donations, a system implemented by the government to encourage generosity. To them, I’d say that the three largest donors to the reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris, the Pinault, Arnault and Bettencourt families, announced that they will not seek any tax deductions.

With this redefined philanthropy and as a result of these private initiatives for the public good, multi-family offices like Blue Bridge have a major role to play. While their main role is to provide wealthy families services as an extension of private management, they add more comprehensive, customized, and fundamentally human support. They coordinate wealth management, the preservation of family harmony, and the charitable mission.

Blue Bridge’s mission is to create value for its clients and thereby have a positive impact on their families and the world we live in. To this end, we created the Blue Bridge Foundation for Children ten years ago and developed training for the next generation that promotes not only financial management but also social and charitable responsibility.

This new generation is reshaping the charitable sector. It’s more focused on inclusion and social and racial equity, but above all it’s heading up NGOs that want to be able to measure their real impact on their environment.

For donors big and small, this is the impact that should matter.

...

By ALAIN E. ROCH, MBA

14/05/2021

Articles that might interest you

...

Blue Bridge Foundation

27/04/2022

War in Ukraine : how can we help ?

...

Investments

27/04/2022

Accelerated energy transition in wartime

...

Perspective

27/04/2022

International relations and the stock markets

...

Investments

24/01/2022

UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)

...

Investments

24/01/2022

A bit of “déjà vu”

...

Perspective

24/01/2022

Outlook 2022 – Forging Ahead…