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The Power & Impact in Society

Insights from the 2018 U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy

women running for a charity event

Women are shifting the balance of values in communities, businesses, markets and philanthropy, their impact amplified by accelerating economic power and leadership visibility.

Top five causes supported by women for women

  1. Women’s health
  2. Violence against women
  3. Women’s reproductive health/rights
  4. Economic opportunity
  5. Education

As business owners and executives, philanthropists, investors, community and civic leaders, women are making the world better — for themselves, their families and communities — now and for future generations.

Of the many ways women are making a positive impact, they consider charitable giving as offering the potential to make the greatest impact.

The 2018 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy reveals that among women in high net worth households:

  • 93% give to charity
  • 56% volunteer for charitable causes and organizations
  • Nearly one in four who volunteer serves on the board of a
    nonprofit organization

Not only are women more likely than men to give to charity and volunteer, their high level of engagement with the organizations and causes they support is one reason women also report a higher level of personal satisfaction and fulfillment from charitable giving.

Women have always played a leading role in philanthropy — dedicating their time, talent and resources to helping others and building stronger communities.

Today, senior women in all sectors of society are in a position to drive the agenda in businesses, government, the markets and nonprofit organizations. Their impact will continue to rise as more women are financially empowered and their presence as leaders continues to grow.

  • Seven in ten women told us they are making a more positive impact in the world as their wealth has grown.*
  • As investors, eight in ten women expect companies today to make a profit but also to take responsibility for the impact they have on society and the environment.*
  • In business, half of women executives personally own, lead or work for a company that integrates positive social, environmental and/or governance principles into products, services and/or corporate policies.*
women running for a charity event

Our purpose is to help women achieve their philanthropic goals as a core part of their overall personal and financial goals.
Women give for many reasons in many different ways. Like most donors, they give primarily because they believe in the mission of the organization and also that their gift can make a difference.

  • Six in ten women prioritize causes that have personally affected them or their families.
  • One in four women donors supports organizations that have a specific program or mission focused on the needs of women and girls. Their top reason for doing so, they say, is because they believe that “supporting the needs of women and girls is the most efficient way to solve other social problems.”

In short, women recognize that when the lives of women are improved, the benefits ripple out to families, communities, the nation and even the world.

Philanthropic values and traditions begin at home. In high net worth households, especially, these are the values that define the character of a family and its individual members and become the lasting legacy that passes from one generation to the next.

Seven in ten women say they lead or make joint philanthropic decisions with a spouse or partner. While most couples share similar interests in causes and give in similar ways, one-third of women say they support different issues and/or give in different ways than their spouse or partner.

Our research reinforces what we know to be true, that women, their values and their use of wealth play a vital role in shaping the direction of society.

Yet while women today are at the forefront of philanthropic giving and engagement, only half say they have a charitable giving strategy. And for all they give, just four in ten (42%) can definitively say that their giving is having the impact they intend.

Produced by the Philanthropic Initiative, this site is a valuable resource for women who are committed to increasing their personal knowledge and participation in values-aligned and impact investing. Among the resources provided is the Invest for Better Circle Toolkit, sponsored by Bank of America Private Bank. The toolkit and Invest for Better Circles are resources that focus specifically on women investors, both novice and experienced, to help them overcome barriers, increase their knowledge and hold each other accountable for moving money into purposeful investments.

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