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David Ratcliffe
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Breakout Session
April 20, 2017 | 10:00 AM

The 2016 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy - Issues Driving Charitable Activities Among Wealthy Households

David Ratcliffe, Managing Director, Philanthropic Solutions | U.S. Trust

The 2016 Study is the 6th in a series of biennial studies conducted by U.S. Trust in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The study examines giving and volunteering trends, behaviors, attitudes and priorities among wealthy American households. This research series is the most comprehensive and longest running of its kind, and an important barometer for wealthy donors,  charitable engagement and perspectives. It is based on a nationally representative random sample of wealthy donors, including, for the first time, deeper analysis based on age, gender, sexual orientation and race. This expanded methodology enables further exploration of the philanthropic trends, strategies, and behaviors among the high net worth population.


The Philanthropic Solutions group within U.S. Trust delivers experience and comprehensive services to help nonprofit institutional and individual clients build and sustain their philanthropic missions and goals. Philanthropic Solutions is a  leader in the industry serving both institutions and individuals by seamlessly integrating philanthropic management into their broader financial relationships.

David’s current role with U.S. Trust is to oversee Research and Thought Leadership in Institutional and Private Philanthropy.

His previous role was overseeing a team of philanthropic specialists who support Merrill Lynch advisors and U.S. Trust® Private and Institutional Client Advisors. The team delivers their experience in nonprofit endowment management, including Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO), planned giving  administration and management, individual private client philanthropic strategies and grants management.


David joined Merrill Lynch Trust Company in 1994 as the Regional Trust Manager in South Florida and was named National Executive of Philanthropic Solutions Sales in 2009 for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and subsequently, U.S. Trust.  Prior to working at the company, David was a Senior Vice President and Trust Sales Manager in the Trust and Investment Management Group for SunTrust Bank in South Florida.


David earned his BA degree from Wake Forest University. He holds the Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (American Banking Association) and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (American College) designations. His post-graduate work includes the Wharton School of Business and Harvard Business School. In addition, he received his Trust Certification from the Florida Trust School, University of South Florida.

David’s philanthropic involvement has included board and leadership positions with the Florida Grand Opera, the Florida Philharmonic, Broward County Library Foundation and the Community Foundation of Broward County. Currently, he is on the board of Fire Island Pines Arts Project, the Planned Giving Advisory Councils of Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the New York Public Library.

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