Anne Brayley, vice president of professional advisory services at the Toronto Community Foundation recently spoke with Susan Latremoille, Director, Wealth Management, at Richardson GMP Limited. A member of the Investment Committee at the Toronto Community Foundation, Susan shares her experience with community foundations and their role in philanthropy.

Brayley: You’ve become increasingly involved at the Toronto Community Foundation (TCF). What appeals to you about the community foundation model?

Latremoille: I was first introduced to TCF by a client who already had a donor-advised fund there. The basics of fund administration, governance and investment management services are provided by the foundation, which makes creating a fund simple and cost-effective.

In addition, the community foundation can provide knowledge and guidance to a client that will help increase the long-term impact of his or her giving. And a real differentiator is that the community foundation itself is a vital contributor to improving the quality of life in the city through its own charitable grants and initiatives.

Brayley: What value do you get as an advisor from the TCF’s staff?

Latremoille: I interact with the community foundation in a different way than I would with a single charity. Because a community foundation’s role is to have perspective about a wide range of philanthropic issues, I look to them as a partner to help me advise clients about the best approach to their philanthropy.

They provide perspectives that can engage clients in different ways about what they want their philanthropy to achieve in their lifetime, and as a legacy.

Brayley: Why did you set up your own donor-advised fund at TCF?

Latremoille: Living well, giving back and leaving a legacy are important parts of my personal philosophy on what it takes to have a rich life. Starting a donor-advised fund is establishing my legacy of giving back in a way that is meaningful to me.

With my investment hat on, I also want to be building a permanent legacy that will grow over time to provide ongoing support for my charitable interests. Plus, during client conversations, I can speak with confidence about the value of community foundations.

Brayley: Community foundations usually provide the investment management services for donor assets. Would you rather individual advisors had the opportunity to manage their clients’ philanthropic portfolios themselves?

Latremoille: There are good reasons for pooling assets under one investment management umbrella, such as better governance, performance management and cost effectiveness.

The goal is to maximize performance and minimize costs to the donor. Community foundations have become rigorous in delivering on this, which ultimately means more dollars available to distribute to charitable causes.

Some community foundations have also introduced a program where donors may request to have their personal investment advisors manage their funds if certain criteria are met, such as asset size of the fund.

Brayley: Why do you think community foundations aren’t more known to donors?

Latremoille: The idea of creating a donor-advised fund is usually introduced by a professional advisor during a conversation about some aspect of their wealth planning activities.

The timing is often triggered by an event that creates liquid assets with which to make the gift, like an inheritance, sale of a business, or estate planning.

Due to their infrequency in the general population, this means community foundations and donor-advised funds can offer a much more tailored approach to a smaller group of people.