Philanthropic Advisory

Assistance navigating the philanthropic journey to create a lasting, positive impact 

Helping you address all aspects of your philanthropy

Philanthropy can be a way to help others and your community, set an example for your family and leave a legacy. Because philanthropy is so personal and unique to individuals and families, it typically involves a number of considerations on a range of topics. We help you address all elements of your philanthropic plans and goals, no matter where you are in your philanthropic journey, so you can create a lasting and positive impact that supports your causes, communities and loved ones.

Finding True North: Defining Charitable Mission to Guide Your Philanthropy

We review why a charitable mission is important and provide guidance on how to approach crafting a mission statement that enables you to take philanthropy beyond just “being charitable” or “giving back.”

Areas of Expertise

  • Getting Started

    Guidance on critical considerations to help shape your philanthropic approach and engage family and loved ones

  • Charting the Course

    Assistance defining the role philanthropy will play in your life and estate plan, including values identification, family engagement, and mission creation

  • Structure and Formation

    Advice on structuring your philanthropic activities based on your current circumstances and the forces driving your philanthropy

  • Governance and Administration

    Support for determining the framework, compliance and other administrative policies and procedures that will govern your philanthropy

  • Strategy, Execution and Impact

    Guidance on strategic philanthropy and execution, including crafting a strategic plan, building an effective team, designing grants, and measuring impact

  • Beyond Giving

    Assistance aligning your philanthropic mission with your direct involvement in charitable organizations

Considering a Private Foundation or Donor-Advised Fund? You May Want Both.

Head of Philanthropic Advisory Kerri Mast discusses a common dilemma among philanthropically inclined individuals: the decision to set up a private foundation vs. a donor-advised fund.

We help you navigate the philanthropic journey – which can be a very personal experience and an expression of your or your family’s most closely held values.

How We Can Help

A couple who is planning to leave the vast majority of their estate to philanthropy voiced concerns about identifying grantees. The couple, who had made a few smaller donations during life, did not have a charitable mission statement and had not yet articulated their approach to giving.

By leveraging BBH planning tools, we helped the couple think through the causes that resonate with them, articulate their desires in terms of legacy and create a charitable mission. Ultimately, the couple decided they wanted to have a local impact and focus on smaller organizations. In order to identify smaller organizations, BBH helped the couple partner with an outside advisor.

An executive approached BBH when his company was planning to go public. As an early founder of the firm, the client had a large amount of low basis stock that he was planning to sell over various periods post-IPO. He wanted to avoid a large income tax bill and was interested in leveraging a philanthropic vehicle. However, the client was unsure of which charitable causes he wanted to focus on.

BBH helped the client determine the maximum amount he would be able to deduct in the relevant year as well as a carry-forward. After identifying the total, we worked with the client to convert the shares and fund a donor-advised fund. This allowed him to set up a charitable vehicle and avoid realizing gains while taking time to identify his philanthropic passions.

A global family had a newly established private foundation. The senior generation required assistance with engaging the next generation, which had a wide age range, in the foundation and preparing them to oversee it in the future.

BBH helped the family put in place a long-term plan for the foundation’s operations and grantmaking and define the future role of each next generation member based on skills and interests. Next, we helped the family outline specific actions they may take to involve and prepare the next generation. This plan enabled the family to map out and act on the long-term vision for the foundation and ensure the next generation was adequately prepared to carry on the responsibility.

A family had inherited a foundation that had been funded by a deceased member from the previous generation. The deceased family member was not philanthropic and had provided little guidance, and the inheritors had no philanthropic experience. The foundation was structured as a trust, and BBH Trust Company was named as trustee.

BBH helped the family set up the foundation’s processes from the ground up. Because members lived nationwide, BBH used an outside vendor to establish an online grantmaking platform through which organizations were invited to apply and where the family could review applications. In addition, we helped the family set up a website, structured several different types of grants for the foundation and helped with understanding governance and the regulations around foundations. Finally, we collaborated with outside counsel to advise the family on avoiding self-dealing issues. All of these factors enabled a family with no philanthropic experience to ensure that its private foundation thrived, and we are now assisting with preparing the next generation.

Sustainable Investing and ESG

We have found that many seek to incorporate their core values in their investment portfolio. Interested in our approach to sustainable investing and how we align your portfolio with your values?

Let us help you navigate the philanthropic journey. Email us at

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This communication is for informational purposes only.  The information herein has not been based on a consideration of any individual investor’s circumstances and is not investment advice, nor should it be construed in any way as tax, accounting, legal or regulatory advice.  Individuals should consult their personal tax, accounting and legal advisers regarding any potential investment or strategy.  Any views and opinions are subject to change at any time.

This material does not constitute an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where or to any person to whom it would be unauthorized to do so.


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