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May 2022
Philanthropy in Changing Families

Families are dynamic and complex systems that evolve and change over time, with births, adoptions, deaths, partnering, divorce, and remarriage. When philanthropy is a core family value, the impact of family change may very well impact the family's approach to giving.

Watermark is most often asked about divorce and the family foundation, and the implications can vary significantly depending on the family and the foundation. The National Center for Family Philanthropy has released a practical resource guide that is a useful place for families to begin as they map next steps, Breaking Up: Divorce and Family Philanthropy.

While death and divorce represent loss, families with the capacity to welcome new members to the family, be they first or second (or even third) spouses, can also benefit anew. A recent study on 'second-wives' in family businesses highlights important ways a new spouse can anchor family culture, heal divisions, and build unity. Given these elements are critical for families who give together, the introduction of new family members can also help propel a family's new approach to philanthropy.

Is your family in the midst of change? Watermark works with generous families of all kinds who want their giving to be meaningful. Learn more.

CanadianFamilyOffices invited Sharilyn to map the most influential trends informing philanthropy this year.

1. Big giving by families:
Generous families will grow in philanthropic prominence and influence. According to the Family Enterprise Exchange, family-owned businesses in Canada account for 60 per cent of the country’s GDP. Of these businesses, close to 25 per cent will be sold in the next five years, resulting in a great deal of money in motion and tremendous opportunity for intentional philanthropy.

2. From charitable giving to charitable living:
Philanthropists are aligning their values and priorities to a broader view of how they can contribute and make a difference. For Generation X and Millennial donors in particular, this may include traditional philanthropy but also integrate social finance initiatives and responsible investing of assets, social enterprise platforms, ethical consumerism, volunteerism and activism. With 40 per cent of business family next-gens moving into positions of control over the next few years, this shift from charitable giving to charitable living will grow.

3. Focus on inequality and issues of diversity:
Philanthropists are responding with greater urgency on the issue of inequality and the unequal impacts of climate change. Gen-X, Millennial, and Gen-Y donors are especially concerned about these issues. At the same time, donor communities are becoming even more diverse as women, people of colour and new immigrants to Canada advance as wealth creators and holders. This will continue to have a profound impact on how philanthropy is practiced and understood in Canada.
Do you see or experience these trends in your giving or work?
Crypto-Giving: A New Asset Class for the Generous

As the world of cryptocurrencies gains ever more attention, many have their eye on the impact this asset class is having on philanthropy. Data from the US show a major spike in crypto-giving in 2021, driven by significantly younger donors than traditional charity givers, at the early stage of their lifetime giving, and having made cross-border responses to global issues and crises easier.

Yet, the landscape is still evolving and there are considerations for both donors and charities. In Canada, crypto-gifts are considered gifts-in-kind, requiring a determination of fair market value and are not excluded from capital gains taxes, offering no enhanced donor benefit than giving cash (such as is available gifting securities). And while many Canadian charities now accept crypto-donations, there are a host of issues they must consider in order to manage associated risks and be compliant with Canada Revenue Agency regulations.

As regulators and markets navigate and make adjustments, philanthropists with crypto-assets should determine which of their assets will allow them to give most effectively, and be prepared to communicate candidly with their charitable partners. Contact Sharilyn to discuss your specific circumstances.
Research & resources to support your giving and work

Charity Helps - The Giving Report 2022

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University
A one-of-a-kind global report assessing the environment for philanthropy in 91 countries and economies by examining the incentives and barriers to giving, revealing the complex ecosystem of regulations, politics and cultures that shape global philanthropy.

The Greater Houston Community Foundation ~ Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy ~ 2164
Upcoming learning opportunities with Sharilyn...

Purposeful Giving: How Families are Doing Good while Navigating Change
High Net Worth Forum
May 5, 2022

For UHNW families concerns around legacy, succession and generational well-being are often top of mind. From models of how families give, and generational distinctives in giving, to meeting this moment with calls from community for social and environmental justice, Dr. Hale will share how philanthropy offers a purposeful platform for navigating the most challenging issues families face, at a time when the charitable landscape has never been more complex.

Northwind offers uniquely tailored invitation-only* forums for senior business executives, and regulators/government representatives in a variety of Canada’s key industries.

Canadian Charity Law Institute
June 14, 2022

Governance can sometimes feel like a bore or a chore, yet can be at the root of some of the most common issues private foundations wrestle with. These can include confusion about basic roles and responsibilities, disempowerment in decision making, tense power dynamics, and board composition and succession issues. Dr. Hale will explore the things that private foundation boards MUST do, but also the things they can CHOOSE to do to make board service and engagement more meaningful, and the work of the foundation more impactful.
Strategy ~ Family Engagement ~ Governance

Watermark helps those who give, give well, and supports
social purpose organizations to enhance their performance.

Contact Dr. Sharilyn Hale for a confidential exploration of your needs.
Watermark Philanthropic Counsel