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News Releases

BMO Philanthropy Day Report: Affluent Americans Are Leaving Seven Percent of Their Estates to Charities

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Nov 14, 2013) -

  • High-net worth Americans will be donating an average of $8,845 to charitable causes this year; affluent women tend to be more generous than men
  • Ninety-four percent expect to make a donation in 2013
  • Half are donating more than they did before the 2008 recession
  • Religious institutions, health and community programs are among their favorite causes to support

To mark National Philanthropy Day (November 15), BMO Private Bank today released the results of a study which reveals that affluent Americans plan on leaving, on average, seven percent of their estates to charitable causes in their wills. The study also shows that the nation's wealthy plan on donating, on average, $8,845 to charities in 2013.

The study is the third in a series by BMO Private Bank examining trends among high-net worth Americans (those with investible assets of $1 million or more). The study also found:

  • Half (48 percent) of high-net worth Americans are donating more to charities than they did before the onset of the recession five years ago. Forty-one percent reported that they are donating th e same amount and 11 percent are donating less.
  • Almost all (94 percent) expect to make charitable contributions this year, with an average donation amount of $8,845.
  • High-net worth women are, on average, more generous in supporting charitable causes than their male counterparts ($12,478 vs. $6,685).

"Previous studies we've conducted have shown that high-net worth Americans have rebounded well from the 2008 recession. It's encouraging to see that this is being reflected in their support for charitable causes as well," said Terry Jenkins, President & CEO, BMO Private Bank. "Their philanthropy has returned to pre-recession levels and almost half are donating even more than they did before the economic downturn. Moreover, many are planning on leaving substantial portions of their estates to charity; this bodes well for the future of the communities in which they live."

Religion, Health and Community Top List of Charitable Causes

Almost half (49 percent) of affluent Americans are giving to religious institutions while 46 percent are donating to health programs and disease research. Other popular causes include:

  • Local community programs (36 percent)
  • Children's charities (31 percent)
  • The arts (28 percent)
  • Education programs (27 percent)
  • Animal welfare (27 percent)
  • The environment (25 percent)
  • Political causes (22 percent)
  • Foreign aid (11 percent)

Affluent women are more likely than affluent men to donate to religious institutions (53 vs. 47 percent). However, affluent men are more likely than affluent women to donate to local community programs (41 vs. 27 percent) and foreign aid (15 vs. 5 percent).

< p>"Rather than giving on an ad-hoc basis, people should consider maximizing the impact of their generosity by working with a financial professional to develop a philanthropic strategy that is part of an overall financial plan," said Claudia Sangster, Director, Philanthropic Services, CTC Consulting | Harris myCFO, a part of BMO Financial Group. "Not only will their giving have a more lasting impact, but it will also enable them to leave a legacy for their family, their community and future generations."

Ms. Sangster noted that BMO Private Bank has just released a report on women and philanthropy. The report, titled Teaching My Family to Give, provides an in-depth look at the unique philanthropic traits of women, with a particular focus on the behaviors that drive the decision making of female philanthropists. View a full copy of the report online.

About BMO Private Bank, a part of BMO Financial Group
BMO Private Bank offers a comprehensive range of wealth management services that include investment advisory, trust, banking and financial planning to meet the financial needs of high net worth clients. Through integrated teams of experienced financial professionals, BMO Private Bank helps its clients realize their financial and lifestyle goals with solutions that are custom tailored and delivered with the highest level of personalized service.

BMO Private Bank is a brand name used in the United States by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. Not all products and services are available in every state and/or location.

The online survey was conducted by Pollara between March 28th and April 11th, 2013 with a sample of 482 American adults who have $1M+ in investable assets. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 4.5%, 19 times out of 20.

For further information:

Media Contacts:
Anna Seifert
(312) 461-6199