FAQs for Professional Advisors

As a professional advisor, can I consult with the Philanthropic Services team?

Yes. We provide advice and support to Seattle Foundation philanthropists and their advisors, including attorneys, CPAs, wealth advisors and insurance professionals. We are happy to discuss options for giving, provide more detail regarding our services and prepare illustrations of possible philanthropic structures. Please contact the Philanthropic Services team at [email protected] or 206.515.2111 for more information.

How can Seattle Foundation help my client with the philanthropic aspects of their estate plans?

We offer a variety of planned giving vehicles that may be of interest to your clients. Seattle Foundation has the great privilege of being named as a beneficiary in a number of wills, life insurance policies and IRAs. We would love to have the opportunity to consult with your clients on the philanthropic portion of their estate.

My client would like to convert their private foundation into simpler structure. Can you help?

Yes. Seattle Foundation can absolutely help your client convert their private foundation into either a Personal or Family Foundation or a Community Philanthropy Fund at Seattle Foundation. This situation comes up fairly often when clients find the administrative burden, tax reporting and/or required distributions no longer fit with their goals. We are quite familiar with the process of converting a private foundation into a fund held at Seattle Foundation.

What information can I give my clients about Seattle Foundation?

Most of the Foundation materials are provided online and are available in print by request. You may order print materials by calling Cherlyn Cloy at 206.505.2108.

What options are available for philanthropists who wish to give during their lifetimes?

Personal or Family Foundation – Utilizing the popular structure of a donor advised fund, a Family or Personal Foundation provides engaged philanthropists – individuals, couples or families – the structure and advisory support to create and activate a strategic giving plan over time.
Community Philanthropy Fund – Also using the donor advised fund structure, and including philanthropic advisory services, a Community Philanthropy Fund provides philanthropists with an effective and efficient structure for grantmaking.
Read more about both type of funds.

What services do your philanthropic advisors provide?

Seattle Foundation’s team of philanthropic advisors can provide a wide range of services, from working with your clients to help identify their philanthropic interests or devising a giving plan to facilitating multi-session family or personal philanthropy engagements to bring families together across the generations in support of shared interests and values. Our team is the largest and most extensively-trained philanthropic advisory group on the West Coast. Services provided can be specifically tailored, depending upon your clients’ needs and preferences. In addition, our advisors have extensive experience in the nonprofit community and can be an invaluable resource for identifying nonprofits and initiatives that have an impact on the issues that matter the most to your client. Please contact the Philanthropic Services team at [email protected] or 206.515.2111 for more information.

Why should my client establish a fund rather than create a private foundation?

While there are certain situations in which a private foundation may be the ideal choice for your client, there are a number of reasons why our philanthropists have chosen to open a fund at Seattle Foundation instead. Partnering with Seattle Foundation to set up a Personal or Family Foundation or a Community Philanthropy Fund is faster, easier and less expensive than establishing a private foundation, and includes the opportunity to engage with our experienced philanthropic advisors. Many donors also prefer the benefits of the donor advised fund platform, including the freedom from annual distribution requirement and annual Form 990-PF filings. Plus, grants can be made anonymously, an option that is not available with a private foundation.

Why shouldn’t my client give directly to the organization(s) they wish to support?

Giving directly is one option; however, there can be a variety of benefits for clients who choose to establish a fund at Seattle Foundation and make their philanthropic gifts via their Family or Personal Foundation  or Community Philanthropy Fund:

  • If a client has a high-income year (due to a fluctuation in earnings, the sale of a business or property, etc.) he or she may wish to “pre-fund” future charitable giving by contributing an optimized amount to a fund with us. She or he would then benefit from a larger-than-usual charitable deduction, which can be taken in the year of contribution to a Family Foundation or Community Philanthropy Fund, to offset his or her higher income tax obligation. Plus, she or he would have funds set aside to use in future years for her ongoing charitable giving.
  • If a client wishes to become more strategic in his philanthropy, and move beyond transactional check-writing to more focused, impact-driven giving, he or she may want to take advantage of the advice and consulting services provided to Seattle Foundation philanthropists by our experienced team of philanthropic advisors to develop and implement a giving plan that meets those goals.
  • Some clients prefer to remain anonymous when making some or all of their charitable gifts. A fund at Seattle Foundation permits them to make grants to the organizations of their choice while keeping the source of the grants confidential.
  • Seattle Foundation’s online donor portal makes it easy to keep track of grants made throughout the year, and can be a useful tool in ensuring that a client’s giving is distributed across the desired organizations and in the desired amounts. Plus, there is only one “contemporaneous receipt” generated upon each contribution to the fund, which may simplify the client’s record keeping at tax time.

Will you serve as a trustee of my client’s charitable remainder trust or charitable lead trust?

We are able to serve as the trustee of CRTs or CLTs in many situations. We would be happy to discuss your client’s specific situation to determine whether engaging Seattle Foundation as trustee of a charitable trust is the right choice. Please contact the Philanthropic Services team at [email protected] or 206.515.2111 for more information.