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HCF Staff Highlight: Kawena Beaupre, General Counsel, HCF Guiding Giving: Three Key Traits of a Philanthropic Advisor

Advisor Highlight: Kawena Beaupre, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, HCF

Guiding Giving: Qualities of an Exceptional Advisor

A good advisor can greatly impact the course of someone’s life. Nobody knows that better than HCF General Counsel Kawena Beaupre.

Named after her great grandmother, the renowned educator and fount of Hawaiian cultural knowledge and language Mary Kawena Pukui, it was never on Beaupre’s radar to become a lawyer. At the time of her high school graduation from Kamehameha Schools at Kapālama, she wasn’t quite sure what to major in and considered being a teacher. Education was an unquestioned value in her family.

“My parents worked hard and sacrificed a lot so that my four sisters and I could have a quality education. And there was never a question about going to college.”

Much to Beaupre’s surprise, law school was a path suggested by her college financial aid advisor, who had helped her throughout her undergraduate years as an accounting major at UH Mānoa. “All I knew about law was what I saw on TV. But my advisor knew me, I trusted him, and I figured he’s experienced in this, he knows what he’s talking about, so I studied on my own for the LSAT and applied to Richardson and got in,” she says. “Of course, now I can really appreciate the value of it. Being able to understand the numbers side with my accounting background, and then also to know the law and the more critical thinking, reasoning, evaluation, assessment side, they complement each other.”

Reflecting on the advice that put her on the legal path, Beaupre sees the hallmarks of any good advisor. “It comes down to trusted relationships, expertise, and having the client’s best interests at heart. And they all kind of build upon each other,” she says.

The basis of any good advice must be trust.

“The reason you bring an advisor into your circle is they understand you,” Beaupre says. “The professional advisor (PA) network that HCF is fortunate to have exists in large part because PAs know HCF. They've built a relationship with us and they have trust and confidence in not only the organization, but the people that they're working with. So we understand it’s super important that PAs get to know us, by working with us and seeing that we really, genuinely want to do what’s in the donors’ best interest.”

But trust only goes so far; for advice to be of value, it must be based on knowledge.

“One of the areas where we can really add value for PAs is in the charitable niche,” says Beaupre. “A lot of PAs know about many different things, but philanthropy is very specific and we can help them with our specialization. Not just running with what donors say they want to do, but learning more about their situation and seeing if there's other options that might be better. For example, a donor might reach out to HCF Senior Director of Gift Planning and Advisor Relations Jen Lyman and be focused on creating a charitable remainder trust (CRT). Before moving forward, we'll ask a few questions and discuss it internally, because it may be that another strategy or tool is more beneficial to the donor, availing them of other options that may be better for their situation. Jen-L may suggest, for example, ‘have you ever thought about a charitable gift annuity instead?’ And we can give you a comparison to show you how they're similar and how they're different and what that could mean for your situation.”

Most important, especially at HCF, is ensuring that you have your client’s best interests at heart.

“One of our top priorities as the legal team at HCF is making sure that we're upholding donor intent,” says Beaupre. “And some of the first questions we ask are, what is the purpose of your gift? Does it make sense to work with us? Are we the best suited to fulfill your charitable intent? We are very genuine in the way we work with donors and their professional advisors, so they trust that what we're saying and what we're doing is in the donors’ best interest.”

Our staff at HCF embodies these traits, to provide a solid foundation for professional advisors to effectively serve their clients. With a focus on building trust, leveraging our collective expertise, and a commitment to your client’s best interest, our staff serves as a reliable resource to support your client’s philanthropic goals to make a lasting impact in the community.