Brighton Jones Philanthropic Giving Surpasses National Average

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Brighton Jones giving in the form of client DAF distributions reached $10 million in 2019

By Molly Norton

Donor-advised funds (DAF) often receive negative press because so much money sits in the accounts over time, with limited distributions to the countless social and environmental causes in need of funding. The number of DAFs has grown rapidly, from 184,000 accounts in 2010 to more than 728,000 today—representing $121 billion in assets.

The more telling statistic is the payout rate, which in 2018 was approximately 21 percent nationally. But this might be changing for the better. Fidelity Charitable reportedly surpassed its 2018 grantmaking number halfway through 2019, leading to a significant distribution year.

We were also thrilled to see higher levels of giving in 2019 among the Brighton Jones community. Donors1 allotted $13 million to DAFs and made $10 million in grants, hitting a payout rate of 77 percent. Looking at the funds in aggregate, our community holds around $30 million in DAF accounts, making our aggregate payout rate 33 percent, still 12 percent higher than the 2018 national average.

In 2020, we believe we can drive that percentage even higher and help foster the change our clients want to see in their communities.

Below are some resources for helping you engage with and feel more confident about your giving in the new decade. As always, your service teams and our philanthropy department are here to help.

Online Resources

The Insights section of the Brighton Jones website offers fresh tips on how to approach your charitable giving, from evaluating non-profits to thinking about family legacy. Additionally, our philanthropy-specific newsletter goes out every quarter and contains ideas and opportunities for engagement.

Philanthropic Support

If you have any questions at all about your giving, from how to set up a scholarship fund to how to connect with good organizations to how to utilize your DAF more effectively, let your service team know or reach out to our philanthropy department directly. We are happy to be a resource for all your needs, big or small.

Personal Legacy Advising

Are you tired of wondering if your donations have an impact? Do you know what issues you want to move the needle on but don’t know how? Are you looking to create an actual plan, involve your kids, and drive real change? Consider our Personal Legacy Advising service, which clarifies what you want to achieve, and then delivers a customized annual strategy that moves your philanthropy to the next level.

Community Impact Circles

These small groups bring together individuals with similar impact goals so that they can learn, grow, and maximize their philanthropic interests. Our first Community Impact Circle, launching in March 2020, will be focused on the Puget Sound environment. Enrollment remains open—we’d love for any and all individuals passionate about protecting the environment to join us! Contact us for more information.

Volunteer With Us

The Brighton Jones team is out and about in the communities where we live and work on a weekly basis. Shoot us an email and let us know that you’d like to be kept in the loop about what we are up to!

Travel With Us

If you’re interested in international issues, join the Brighton Jones Richer Life Foundation’s annual trip to Kenya where we visit grassroots health, education, and environmental projects, and come away with new insights into the complexities and rewards of international giving.

Molly Norton is the philanthropic advisor at Brighton Jones.

1This data relates to DAFs held with our primary partner, Fidelity Charitable. It does not include DAFs held at other institutions.

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