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Nicola Elkins

Nicola Elkins

CEO & Founder, Benefaction Foundation

Benefaction is building bridges between donors, financial institutions, and charities to drive philanthropic activity.


Wealth advisors are seeing an increasing number of requests, especially from high-net-worth Canadians, about the best way to practise impactful, tax-efficient philanthropy. Donor-advised funds (DAFs) — in which a donor makes an irrevocable gift administered through a public charity, immediately receives full tax benefits, and recommends grants to their preferred charities over time — are coming to the fore in this arena.

“DAFs are increasingly popular due to their ease of administration, the investment growth of charitable assets, and the flexibility (and time) they provide to donors in deciding where they want to give, how much, and when,” says Nicola Elkins, CEO and Founder of Benefaction Foundation. “The donor names their Fund and its successors, and the proceeds are invested for tax-free growth. DAFs are also a good option for donors seeking anonymity, since detailed information on private foundations is publicly available on CRA’s website.”

The foundation partners with financial institutions to create a link between their clients, the donors, and charities, to facilitate philanthropic donations, all with an emphasis on financial and tax planning for clients.

Connecting donors, financial institutions, and charities to drive charitable giving

Benefaction, a national charitable public foundation, utilizes a unique partnership model. The foundation partners with financial institutions to create a link between their clients, the donors, and charities, to facilitate philanthropic donations, all with an emphasis on financial and tax planning for clients. “We work with firms like CIBC Private Wealth Management and Assante Wealth Management, which understand that charitably-minded clients are looking for advice on how giving fits with their overall financial plan,” says Elkins.

Donors benefit from flexibility with regard to how much and when they can give, since Benefaction DAFs don’t limit disbursements from the fund on an annual basis. This policy works to further one of Benefaction’s primary objectives, which is to increase donations to Canadian charities by providing high-net-worth individuals with a planning-focused, tax-conscious philanthropic vehicle.

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