Key Takeaways: Connecting Clients with their Philanthropic Interests

Key Takeaways: Connecting Clients with their Philanthropic Interests

By Marie Galetto, Marketing and Grants Program Manager

What role do estate planning attorneys, CPAs and wealth managers play in their clients’ philanthropic strategy? On Monday, July 31, 2017, the Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County brought together a panel of experts to discuss just that. At this year’s Advisor Lunch, the Foundation invited John M. Sobrato, CEO of the Sobrato Organization, James P. Cashman, estate planning attorney at Berliner Cohen, and Raymond J. Triplett, President and CEO of Triplett Financial to share their unique perspectives.

Sobrato, Board Member at the Catholic Community Foundation and ex-Board Member of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, discussed his perspective as a long-time donor to and supporter of the community foundation model.  From the donor’s perspective, one of the biggest benefits of working with the Catholic Community Foundation is that the Foundation is smaller. All Donor Advised Fund (DAF) holders – large and small – receive individualized attention because the volume of funds is much smaller than other institutions. Although the fees associated with these DAFs are higher than philanthropic accounts with large groups like Vanguard or Schwab, Sobrato says he views the fees as a donation to an organization with a mission he supports.

Next, James Cashman talked about the shift that has happened in the past 20 years in the Silicon Valley around the topic of including charity in estate plans. Previously, leaving a portion of an estate to charity was commonly thought of as a last resort, only implemented if the client had no family members to whom they wished to leave their estate. Today, though, that narrative has changed. “For people like us – financial people, estate planning attorneys, financial advisors, insurance folks – [the Silicon Valley today] is a really interesting place to be. We get to do sophisticated work…with clients that want to do things that are outside of the box,” noted Cashman. Clients are thinking about philanthropy in their estate plans and attorneys are discussing it more and more amongst themselves and with their clients.

Raymond Triplett then discussed the idea of helping clients appropriately frame their vision and goals for their philanthropy so that he can provide them with the best solutions for their unique situation. “There are three places that your assets can go,” said Triplett, “– to heirs, to taxes, or to charity…So if you can control the element between taxes and charity, it opens up the concept [of leaving assets to charity] for people who are maybe not initially…‘charitably minded’…but the word control can be a motivator.” Triplett discussed different scenarios where leaving new or existing life insurance policies to charity can ultimately allow donors to give more than they ever thought possible.

In conclusion, Mary Quilici Aumack briefly summarized some of the services offered by the Catholic Community Foundation which can help clients fulfill their philanthropic goals, such as Donor Advised Funds and Family Endowments.

If you or your clients are interested in learning more about the Foundation’s services, please call 408.995.5219 or email