harp-weaver is an independent philanthropic advisory firm based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Teresa Araco Rodgers, the principal, works with individuals and families to gift to issues that matter in a meaningful way.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Aimee's Bulletin

Over the course of the past couple of weeks I have come to know two wonderful women - Abigail Sandler and Sue Hoag Badeau. These two women have worked tirelessly on a much needed piece of Pennsylvania legislation called Aimee's Bulletin.

Abby's sister, Aimee, was profoundly developmentally and physically disabled. As a result of horrific, detailed circumstances that surrounded Aimee's Group Home care, Abby with others formed Aimee's Team. For the past four years she has worked towards enhancing the end-of-life decision making process for special needs individuals in Pennsylvania. She refers to the document as Aimee's Bulletin, and it will effect literally thousands of special needs individuals, state-wide. This Bulletin provides a clear policy, with guidance and steps that are morally, medically and legally sound to ensure that end-of-life care can reflect the needs, desires, values and beliefs of the individual and their family members. Harrisburg has promised that the Bulletin will be signed by January 15, 2011.

Wayne Badeau is one of the youngest of Hector and Sue Badeau's 22 children, adopted from all over the world with a variety of life circumstances and challenges. Wayne, one of three terminally ill children adopted by the Badeaus, is delightful and charming with a beautiful smile and engaging spirit. He is also dying. Wayne has a rare terminal illness called San Felipo Syndrome, and while he has already out-lived the medically-expected life-span for this disease, he has definitely declined and it won't be long before he is facing his final days. The Badeaus have already experienced the deaths of their sons Adam (11 years ago this week) and Dylan ( just 3 months ago) and they know how deeply moving, and at the same time painful, it is to experience the death of a child. Wayne is much beloved and adored by his parents, all his siblings and others and we all hope and pray that his final days, when they do begin, will be spent surrounded by family with hugs, love and peace. Yet, because of what they experienced near the end of their son Dylan's life just this past September, they are fearful this may not be the case.

Aimee's Bulletin must be signed. Abby and Sue are working to ensure that it will be signed and Sue and her husband Hector are waiting for the go ahead to take their son Wayne to Harrisburg for the signing.

For more information see: http://badeaufamily.webs.com/

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Need For Philanthropic Advice

New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) and Global Partnership presented the results of a philanthropy survey sent to over 600 single and multi-family offices in the UK between March and May 2010. The results offer insight into the philanthropic nature of some of the UK's wealthiest families. The report titled: Family Philanthropy: rewards and challenges, dives into the philanthropic behavior of high net worth individuals revealing that while the vast majority of such clients like to actively plan their charitable giving there is a clear lack of service providers able to give the full range of advice they require. Wealth management firms largely do not have some provision in place to assist in this planning and are neglecting an important area in clients’ eyes. Fundamental to this planning process is deciding which causes to support and which charities are making an impact. Philanthropists are finding it hard to access the information they need to make informed choices and would welcome input from their advisors.

NPC summarizes the reports key findings as follows:

- Giving back to the community and addressing needs are major motivations for family giving, rather than public recognition.
- Most families have had positive experiences of giving, but highlighted some unfavorable aspects including 'tortuous administration' and fear of being 'actively pursued by charities'.
- 85% of respondents with children under 21 involve them in their giving.
- The main criteria for selecting charities are the charity's vision and strategy and whether it is focused on the greatest need.
- Finding information about charities is a challenge, particularly around the measurement of results.
- Nearly 60% of families would find philanthropy advice useful.

There is a growing need for specialized philanthropic advisors offering services to support wealth managers and family offices. Even though this specific report is UK-based, there have been other similar studies in the US. Howard J. Stock wrote an article titled "Clients Lack Charitable Giving Advice" in October of this year. In it he noted a survey which said that only 52% of advisors are proactively reaching out to clients about their charitable gifting. Of the 48% who are not, 31% said it is because they lack expertise to offer guidance.

This is certainly an untapped opportunity for advisors to strengthen client relationships and grow their practices.