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Affluent Californians Plan to Donate More Than Double the National Average to Charity in 2013: BMO Philanthropy Day Report

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 15, 2013) -

  • Mor e than one quarter of high-net worth Californians plan to leave at least twenty percent of their estate to charities
  • Ninety-two percent are giving the same or more to charity than before the 2008 recession
  • Religious institutions, health programs and 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 Californians plan to donate an average of $17,698 to charity this year, more than double the national average among affluent Americans ($8,845).

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:

  • More than one-quarter of affluent Californians plan to donate at least $10,000 to charity this year.
  • Ninety-two percent are donating the same (46 percent) or more (46 percent) to charity than they did before the onset of the 2008 recession.
  • High-net worth Californians plan on leaving, on average, eight percent of their estate to charitable causes.
  • More than half of affluent Californians are giving to religious institutions (51 percent), just over the national average of forty-nine percent. Other popular causes include health programs and disease research (41 percent), children's charities (39 percent) and education programs (37 percent).

"It's encouraging to see wealthy Californians not only include philanthropy as an important part of their financial planning but also donate such a large amount," said Ron Gong, Managing Director of CTC Consulting | Harris myCFO, a part of BMO Financia l Group, in Palo Alto. "This reflects very positively on our state and demonstrates that our affluent citizens take seriously the need to give back to the communities in which they live."

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.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of high-net worth Americans are donating more to charities than they did before the 2008 recession. Forty-one percent reported that 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 animal welfare and educational programs (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 G roup
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 (including a sub-sample of 41 California 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