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Philanthropy bounces back among wealthy Canadians

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Affluent Canadians plan to leave an average of 4 percent of their estates to charitable causes in their wills, according to a new report from BMO Harris Private Banking.

The third in a series of studies that examines trends among Canada’s affluent, the online survey was conducted on behalf of BMO by research firm Pollara. The study polled 305 Canadians and 482 Americans with at least $1 million in investable assets.

The study finds that almost three-quarters of Canada’s high net worth investors have returned to pre-recession levels of support for charities, with 48 percent reporting they are currently donating the same as they did before the onset of the recession and 36 percent stating they are donating more.

Nearly all (93 percent) of Canada’s wealthy expect to make a charitable contribution this year, the report adds. High net worth Canadians plan to donate an average of $5,217 this year to charitable causes.

“Our previous studies have shown that Canada’s affluent have rebounded well from the effects of the 2008 recession and it’s gratifying to see that this is being reflected in their support for their communities,” says Marvi Ricker, vice president and managing director of philanthropic services at BMO Harris Private Banking. “Not only are they giving more now, but the fact that so many of them plan on leaving a portion of their estates to charitable causes bodes well for the future.”

When asked what causes they actively support, affluent Canadians identify the following:

  • Health programs and disease research (72 percent);
  • Children’s charities (38 percent);
  • Local community programs (36 percent);
  • Religious institutions (33 percent);
  • Animal welfare (24 percent);
  • Education (18 percent);
  • The arts (16 percent);
  • Political causes/the environment/foreign aid (all tied at 13 per cent).

The study also finds that affluent Canadian women are more likely than their male counterparts to donate to health programs and disease research (79 percent vs. 69 percent) and animal welfare (30 percent vs. 21 percent). However, men are more likely to donate to religious institutions (37 percent vs. 23 percent).


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