publication date: May 9, 2011
A Canadian trend toward high-speed giving over long-term
endowments is epitomized by Brett Wilson
a Calgary-based investment banker, philanthropist and Dragon's Den
deal maker. In
speaking with The Globe and Mail
Wilson has this to say - "Once you're dust, you're dust. This idea of setting up a legacy for 100
years is shameful - it's an empire-building strategy."
Shifting attitudes to encompass giving in business terms, a
growing pool of wealthy Canadians, and new tax incentives for large gifts of
assets are all contributing a movement of donors contributing their wealth
before or shortly after death.
This approach runs counter to the traditional endowment, set
up as part of estate planning and then funded at the time of the donor's death. In this model, the contribution would be
invested, with the interest earned handed out in grants over many years. It's a
model that Wilson and others like him are critical of. "Many [charities] think that if they raise a
big enough endowment they won't have to fundraise again. That's just a condemnation of their own
ability to raise funds down the road."