Roundtable – December 2013

Shelly HossSummary of December 10, 2013 Round Table featuring a discussion with Shelly Hoss, President, OC Community Foundation (OCCF

On December 10, OCCF hosted the OC AiP Roundtable discussion.  Shelley Hoss, President of OCCF, and Jeff Swanson, Vice President of Philanthropic Services at OCCF and Chair of Membership for OC AiP, kindly agreed to lead the dialogue with about 25 OC AiP members and guests.

Shelley provided an overview of OCCF and painted a visual picture of a double helix – the community foundation helps both donors and non-profits simultaneously. Shelley’s passion is to grow philanthropy in OC and to break down any barriers to that objective; she also shared her view that OCCF’s “competition” was not other groups but apathy and conspicuous consumption.

She pointed out that Orange County is unusual since the giving community is largely populated by first generation wealth creators. By contrast she related the history of community foundations in the U.S (the first one was in Cleveland – who knew?), and there are about 30 community foundations in California. Finally, Shelley talked about how OCCF engages with donors in an open and honest dialogue to discover their passions and motivation behind their giving.

A question was posed on how best to begin a meaningful discussion on giving with a client.  This sparked an informative dialogue among the participants.  Many agreed that the conversation often begins with consideration of tax reduction strategies.  It’s the easiest and most common entry point to the philanthropic conversation, but it should not end there.  Asking about the legacy that the client would like to leave behind will lead to a deeper discussion, revealing what is most important to them and open the door to guide them on giving options.

Estate planning was another avenue of approach.  “Have you thought about the risk in leaving too much money to your children?” can highlight risks often ignored.  There are many examples of how too much money can destroy the motivation and life destiny of next generation family members.

Well-structured wealth transition plans in combination with charitable giving plans can prove an effective approach to building a true legacy.   Asking your client about timing and what they see in the next stage of their lives provides an opportunity to discuss potential impact they can create in their family and community while they are still here.    Allowing them to dream by asking them “If money wasn’t an object, what is most important to you?”  The answers to these questions quite often lead to changes in estate, wealth and nonprofit planning/engagement. It also deepens the client/advisor relationship as plans are developed to meet these new goals.

Resources to support social responsibility and social enterprises were also discussed.  For the investor with a heart, providing interest free loans, Program Related Investments (PRIs) and other creative financing to businesses that solve social issues has tax advantages.  It was agreed that more and more clients are looking for double and even triple bottom line investment options. These were some of the topics and questions discussed at the Roundtable to allow advisors to have deeper – more meaningful – conversations with their clients and to serve them more effectively. AiP members are in a unique position to team with trusted advisors with a shared passion.

– Sandra Bensworth and Marty Dutch, OC AiP Education Committee members

The event is finished.