Attorney Suzanne Shier enjoys solving puzzles. In her role of counsel with Levenfeld Pearlstein’s trusts and estates group, she gets to do just that, with and for the high-net-worth individuals and families she advises. “It’s a matter of listening well to my clients and understanding first what their purpose is, and second what their resources are. Then I can take those two pieces of the puzzle and bring them together in a strategy that accomplishes what the client wants to do for their family or community.”
As a DAF holder through the Northern Trust Charitable Giving Program, which is administered by the Trust, Shier believes DAFs can be part of the solution. “DAFs make giving easy for the donor and easy for the donee. If my husband or I have the good fortune to receive a bonus, we can promptly write a check to our DAF. It allows us to give in the moment, and then reflect on how we want to advise those gifts in ways that are aligned with our purpose.” DAFs also makes it easy for donors to give—and nonprofits to receive—more complicated gifts like stock transfers.
Shier knows that giving vehicles are just one piece of the puzzle. For philanthropy to be truly impactful, it must meet a real need. And helping donors identify needs is exactly where Shier sees the Trust’s greatest value. “The Trust is raising our awareness of the issues that are core to solving huge challenges like wealth inequality. That awareness can lead to action and make us more impactful.”