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News Releases

BMO Philanthropy Day Report: Affluent Washingtonians Plan to Leave Four Percent of Their Estates to Charity

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwired - Nov 14, 2013) -

  • High-net worth Washingtonians will be donating an average of $2,553 to charitable causes this year
  • Eighty percent are giving the same or more to charity than they were before the 2008 recession
  • Local community programs, disease research, children's charities and education are among the most the popular causes they are supporting

A new study by BMO Private Bank to mark National Philanthropy Day (November 15) has revealed that high-net worth Washingtonians plan on leaving an average of four percent of t heir estates to charitable causes in their wills. Additionally, the study found they plan on donating an average of $2,553 to charity 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:

  • Eighty percent of wealthy Washingtonians are donating the same (55 percent) or more (25 percent) to charity than they did before the onset of the 2008 recession.
  • Most (83 percent) of the state's affluent expect to make charitable contributions this year.
  • Their favorite charitable causes to support include local community programs (50 percent), health programs and disease research (32 percent), education (30 percent), and children's charities (30 percent).

"The vast majority of affluent individuals in Washington are going back to the donating levels they were at before the 2008 recession, and some are even donating more," said Peter Glidden, Regional President of BMO Private Bank. "This reflects very positively on our state and also shows that affluent Washingtonians are feeling confident enough again to put their wealth toward causes they believe in."

Key National Findings:

On a national level, the study found:

  • Affluent Americans plan on leaving, on average, seven percent of their estates to charitable causes in their wills. 
  • Almost all (94 percent) expect to make charitable contributions this year, with an average donation amount of $8,845.
  • Half (48 percent) of high-net worth Americans are donating more to charities than they did before the 2008 recession. Forty-one percent reported t hat they are donating the same amount and only 11 percent are donating less.
  • Almost half (49 percent) 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) and education programs and animal welfare (27 percent each). 

Claudia Sangster, Director, Philanthropic Services, CTC Consulting | Harris myCFO, a part of BMO Financial Group, provides some insight to those seeking to make the most of their charitable giving: "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. 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."

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 (i ncluding a sub-sample of 40 Washington State residents). The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 4.5%, 19 times out of 20.

For further information:

Media Contact:
Beth Copeland