Jayme Meredith Hefren-Tillotson
In his job as financial advisor and first vice president with Hefren-Tillotson, Jayme Meredith works with clients who come from a range of backgrounds and have varying degrees of knowledge about charitable giving. “Some have very structured and distinct objectives, and some have the desire to give but don’t know what to do, where to start and how to get involved,” said Meredith who has worked with Hefren-Tillotson for 15 years. “We’ve got clients on both of those extremes and everything in the middle. And The Pittsburgh Foundation’s been a great way for me to connect my clients to their charitable desires.”
Sometimes Meredith works with clients who haven’t given charitable giving much thought, and they also may not have realized that they’re fortunate enough to have enough money so that it will last beyond their lifetimes. “They may not have heirs and quite frankly haven’t thought about their own mortality and what’s going to happen to their wealth after they die,” Meredith said. “The Pittsburgh Foundation has done a great job talking with these clients, discussing alternatives and helping clients build that legacy. And the clients feel really good about that. It’s like ‘Wow—this makes me feel really good—I’m very happy that my hard-earned and accumulated wealth will continue to do good after I leave the earth.’
Meredith has worked with about 20 clients who are actively involved with the foundation. One was interested in setting up a scholarship for his alma mater that he wants to last beyond his lifetime. He’s using the foundation to manage the scholarship program. Another faced a very large tax bill and said, “I’d rather give $100,000 to a charity than $30,000 to Uncle Sam.” The client established a fund at the foundation, saved on taxes, and, as Meredith said, “he’s been very happy he’s going to be able to make someone’s life better.” The relationship has been a good one for Meredith too. As he said with a laugh, “I know just enough to be dangerous. The foundation does a great job educating me in new ways to service my clients on the charitable front, reminding me of things I may have forgotten through the years in trusts and tax laws. And the foundation gives us the ability to continue to manage the client’s assets. That’s especially important for long-time clients of ours who like our conservative investment management—it’s a win-win for everybody.” For Meredith, making sure that client’s needs are being met is paramount, and The Pittsburgh Foundation has helped him do that and to make sure that the beneficiaries who receive the charitable dollars are using them wisely.