DEBORAH: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Purposeful Planning Podcast. I’m Deborah Goldstein, founder of Enlightened Philanthropy and I also serve as co-dean of Philanthropy for the Purposeful Planning Institute. I’m so excited to welcome today Janell Turner of Phila Engaged Giving. Thank you for being here to talk about ‘Philanthropy is a Team Sport.’
JANELL: It is a pleasure to be here. And I really appreciate the invitation, Deborah. I look forward to our conversation.
DEBORAH: I do as well. Can you just give us a brief introduction to yourself and your purposeful journey to this work.
JANELL: Certainly. I am a senior philanthropic advisor with Phila Engaged Giving. And we are a Seattle-based philanthropic advisory. We also have offices in Chicago and serve the Midwest. And I am going on three years with this incredible firm. It’s been an interesting journey. I’ve spent about 15 years in the non-profit sector, building legacy giving programs as a plant giving expert. And also, endowment building was one of my specialties as well. So it was really lovely to just make the transition to advising a few years ago and a natural progression. So delighted to be here and have really enjoyed getting to know the PPI community and it’s just a wealth of information and connection.
DEBORAH: It is. We’re glad to have you as part of the community to thank you for being here. So I wanted to start this conversation with maybe some baseline setting of sort of what it is that donors and clients are seeking. That they’re not necessarily getting from the financial planners on their team or other advisors on their team.I feel like I’ve been seeing some reports lately. And so maybe you can kind of set the baseline for where we are today.
JANELL: Sure, that’s a great place to start. And I would even, if it’s okay with you, zoom out even a little bit further into the field in general, not all philanthropic advisories are equal. And we all kind of do different things. And so I think it’s important to maybe do a little bit of level setting around that. But within the field, you might find boutique philanthropy firms like ours, we consider ourselves generalists. So we work with individuals and families and organizations kind of at a high level on the upstream work, we call it. So the values, vision, and getting that strategy set up, which involves a lot of family dynamics work, are helping people come together in these spaces to have efficient, joyful, even conversations with each other. And then you might find independent advisors, one or two people that work in a smaller setting and maybe have a focus on a particular area, whether it’s women and girls in philanthropy or giving through a social justice lens or climate justice, etc. Then you have those institutional advisors who might be more involved in advocacy work or resource development. They serve both philanthropies and philanthropists, full service philanthropic advisories and all the way up to Community Foundation. So it’s just a breadth of services available within the sector. And in order to assess what an individual or family really needs, it really requires a deep conversation around where they are. We may work with individuals who are new to philanthropy, they’re just getting started. They’re new to wealth, they have no idea where to start, or they’re unfulfilled and they’re giving and looking for what’s next. Or maybe it’s even a 20-year old family foundation that has a patriarch that’s looking for a meaningful succession plan and a way to integrate new voices into the process. So there’s the rising generation, how do you bring those voices in, again, a joyful way. So there’s this whole spectrum of advisors and ways to support the work. And the idea is to really tailor the need to where the family is at. And you do that through deep discussion and discovery.
DEBORAH: That’s so great. Thank you so much for that overview because I think that really highlights that. And something we’ll get into more into the second conversation in this series is how do you choose the right philanthropy advisor to work with? Because there are things to take into consideration here. So you’ve kind of touched on this a little bit in that overview of things that a family or an individual might be seeking that they’re not able to get from other advisors on their team. And that’s why a philanthropy advisor makes sense to bring in. Are there other things that you’re hearing from donors, or families that they’re not able to get from other advisors, and that’s why they’re seeking outside support.
JANELL: When you think about the spectrum of work that I just explained from the deep family dynamics work, facilitating values conversations, assessing what are your individual values, what are your collective values as a family. Now, let’s think about the purpose of the charitable entity you’re trying to create, and the mission and vision and all of the work that goes into putting together a really solid grant making structure, that is a lot of work, and can take quite a bit of time and effort. And financial advisors, they have a very specific focus. And depending on the type of institution that they’re with, that might be a large bank, or a chase or Northern Trust, or someone that has some entity that has the capacity to provide those kinds of advisory services from within, you might have smaller institutions, RAS that may not provide that kind of support within the organization, and they’re looking to augment their capacity. For example, we are a preferred provider for Fidelity, currently. So Fidelity Charitable, the largest charity in the country, and they obviously invest for their clients and hold donor advised funds, and there’s so much they can do before it becomes a deeper conversation around, “Okay, we think we need more work for you.” As a firm of six individuals, we typically handle around a dozen to two dozen clients at a time. And so we do that real deep dive work. It can take six to nine to twelve months and beyond if a family would like to work with us longer to really go through that discovery process and draw out what it is the family cares about. And often that work can be an entree into a deeper conversation around financial, wealth planning, and legacy planning. And it’s not always a straight line either. So a family can be far along and have a very solid financial wealth plan, legacy plan, and decide they need to back up a little bit and redo some work. Maybe someone has unfortunately passed away, or maybe their new family members have to integrate into the process and consider their thoughts and ideas. And so there are families and individuals all along the spectrum who have things to consider and work into a new plan. So obviously, again, just to specifically answer your question, the idea is to partner with financial advisors in structuring the plan so that we’re taking that holistic approach, and not just considering the financial assets. But as Jay Hughes talks about — and I so love his vicious position on the multiple types of capital — it’s not just the financial capital, but the spiritual capital, the intellectual capital, the human capital, and there’s all of these ways to engage a family around these conversations, as you put together a philanthropic plan. And financial advisors may not always have the capacity to handle all of that or the expertise to support it.
DEBORAH: Yes. Good points there. And I love bringing in all these different types of capital that Jay Hughes refers to. Do you ever hear objections about why advisors are hesitant to bring in a philanthropy advisor?
JANELL: I haven’t really heard of many objections. Well, I’ve heard one, I’ll get to that in a second. I’ll, I’ll say the positive side is that, oftentimes we’re finding that it’s a question around how to bring up the topic. Your role as a financial adviser is to help store the wealth of the family, increase their wealth, and it’s a different type of conversation. So if the family isn’t bringing up philanthropy, then how can you as a financial advisor — not all financial advisors are comfortable in bringing up the topic — and saying, “Hey, have you thought about philanthropy because I realize you don’t have any heirs, and you don’t have any charitable beneficiaries named in your estate.” So maybe this could be a conversation. And so we often work with advisors and I visit with advisors in their teams in their offices to kind of talk through, “What does it look like to insert these conversations into client conversations? What do you have to listen for? What’s the follow on question? How does the introduction happen?” And it really is ‘no one size does not fit all.’ And it requires a careful and thoughtful conversation. I have heard hesitation from some financial advisors around, “Is that really my responsibility? And is it my role to be the one to mention philanthropy? Should I wait for the client to bring up that idea?” So that that would probably be the only real hesitation I’ve heard. But other than that, it’s a matter of what’s happening in the sector? These are obviously people who have been doing their work for decades and years and have certifications and gone to school and done all of these things. And now, I’m supposed to bring up this topic of philanthropy that might be outside of my realm of expertise. And what kind of position does that put me into to propose this conversation? And so our goal is to provide advisors with enough information to feel comfortable to raise it and to know when to hand it off and where to hand it off to.
DEBORAH: Sure. And we’ll get to that last point in a minute. One of the other things that I think that I’ve heard — and maybe it’s outdated — but it’s that sometimes there is a if a financial advisors income is based on assets under management, then it feels like a bit of a conflict of interest to be suggesting that your client send money out into the world, rather than having it sit in investments. So any comment on that?
JANELL: Well, that is one way to think about it, and it is a legitimate question or concern. But I would flip that and propose the idea around the generational wealth transfer that is being talked about widely in various industries. Depending on what source you go to, it could be $81 trillion by 2060, with 12 trillion expected to go to charity. And so, if you think about all of that opportunity and support the transfer of that wealth from that one generation to the next. The opportunity there is not all advisors are currently working with the rising generations within a family. So while you may have assets under management now, think about those assets transferring to another family member, and what if that family member does not have a or already has a financial advisory team in place? Could there be an opportunity there to maybe engage the family around a deeper conversation, maybe it is philanthropy, and establish that rapport and relationships? So that now you are a part of that wealth transfer and at managing those assets that are being handed down to another generation? So I think it just depends on how you think about it. And then, of course, there are firms that the idea is to provide a certain client experience, firms that manage donors, advise funds and want to engage their clients around. But what is happening within their lives in the community and they’re taking a more holistic approach to the topic. So, I would say advisors are maybe beginning to think beyond just assets under management, but how to deepen relationships with their clients and provide a more holistic service.
DEBORAH: That’s so great, thank you for that really important reframe on the way to look at that. I always thought that point of view was very short sighted myself. So I appreciate how you’ve illustrated that. And that points to really the benefit of a financial advisor, bringing in a philanthropy advisor to the team. Are there other ways that we might complement their work with their clients?
JANELL: No two client engagements are alike for us. Within our practice, we customize every experience. So it really just depends on what the advisor is looking for and what the family is looking for. Sometimes it’ll be the family that introduces their advisor and says, “Hey, I’d love to have this conversation in a more holistic way.” And sometimes it’s the advisor that says, “Hey, I know that my client needs this support. Can we have a conversation together?” Or, “Will you speak with them and think about what this could be, and then we’ll work together on a path forward.” So there’s no two situations that are alike technically, and we kind of adapt our approach to fit the needs of that individual or family.
DEBORAH: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. You’ve highlighted some of the points at which you would bring in a philanthropy advisor. Maybe when there’s a wealth event, maybe when there’s an inheritance or a business sale, are there others other points at which it really makes sense for an advisor, to me, a financial advisor to bring in philanthropy advisors?
JANELL: Sure. I mentioned entities that hold death funds, and help clients manage their philanthropic assets in that way. Not all firms have the capacity to be as proactive as maybe their clients have capacity for. And so often, and we’ve all heard about this. There are billions and billions of dollars sitting in donor advised funds. And it’s not because people don’t care. But sometimes it’s just because they don’t know how to give. They don’t have a structure or a strategy in place. And so they need a little bit of help, a little nudge to say, “Hey, here’s the landscape of what’s happening within the charitable sector. Here are all the needs within your community. Here’s how you could have an impact and address the things that you truly care about.” And sometimes it just takes that little push to get folks to open up and think about what they really have capacity to do. So sometimes we do have clients that approach us and say, “I have this big donor advised fund, and I have no idea what to do. How do I manage this? And how do I bring others into this conversation so that I can enjoy advising with the people I care about?” Another reason people might reach out for support is, again, they’re looking for ways to bring rising generations into the conversation. So how do you do that? How do I pass along my values to loved ones and leave a meaningful legacy? And so, navigating that conversation requires some finesse and delicate approach. When we do that, we’ll bring everyone together and start with a little bit of level setting. It’s a matter of some group agreements. How do I want to be treated in this space? And how do I anticipate treating others so that regardless of what generation or your positionality within the family, everybody is kind of starting at the same point, and their voices are being honored and they have a say in the process. So that’s some of where our most joyful work is, in my opinion. It’s seeing the family come together. And we’re providing that facilitation, and opening their minds up to different ideas about themselves in the world. How often are you asked, “What are your values you really have? What is your legacy?” These are big questions that allow folks time to just really pause and think through their lives and where they want to be.
DEBORAH: Yes. I certainly know that. I always feel good when somebody pauses and it’s like, “Wow, you really ask the tough questions.” “Yeah, that’s what I’m here for.“ That’s what our work entails. And I think you’ve done a beautiful job of explaining not only the knowledge but the skills that it takes to have some of these larger, deeper conversations, especially when it involves generations of a family. So thank you. Thank you for that. And what would you say in terms of any changes in the field related to the acceptance, involvement, use of philanthropy advisors and bringing them into the team?
JANELL: The first thing that comes to mind is — we met each other in person at the conference recently — one of my favorite breakouts was facilitated by Jim Grumman, Dennis Jaffe, and Kristen Keffeler on Wealth 3.0. And it was just such a powerful message. And I sat with that and thought about how much that message aligns with what’s happening in philanthropy in terms of how we’re thinking about our work, how we’re coming together in a more positive sort of strengths based way, and bringing families into deeper conversations and learning journeys. So not only as advisors are we on kind of a different learning journey right now, but we’re bringing our clients and these folks along with us. So I think that there are a lot of parallels between what was presented in that breakout. And if folks want to know more, you have to read the book, Wealth 3.0: The Future Family Wealth Advising (shameless plug, but I’ve been fabulous). But I think there’s a lot of similarities there in terms of this more holistic approach that is strength-based and positive.
DEBORAH: That’s so good to hear and encouraging. Because I know, when I got started in this field, there were a lot of silos. And so as much as we can break those down and continue to have this holistic endeavor and team sports, the better. We’re almost out of time here, Janell. I loved our conversation. Is there anything that you want to bring up that we didn’t touch on during our time?
JANELL: I think this was a lovely conversation, an introduction to the work. And again, I appreciate this topic being raised. And I hope we continue to do this as a PPI community. I’ll just leave you with this one nugget. And maybe that will help advisors who are listening, think about their roles and how to work with philanthropic advisors. But if you think about philanthropic advisors, as people who steward the transition of wealth, we handle the people and have those deep conversations and other advisors as stewarding the transfer of wealth. So the more transactional aspects of the work, the charitable remainder trusts and the estate plans and the wealth plans and all of the tools that go into moving an effort forward. I think that’s a kind of a helpful way to maybe think about our roles is the transition versus the transfer of wealth. So I’ll just leave the community with that.
DEBORAH: Beautiful, I love that. Thank you so much, Janell. I loved our conversation today.
JANELL: Thank you, Deborah. It was a pleasure. Appreciate the opportunity to share.
DEBORAH: Great, thank you.