'Humbled and awed' by clients’ commitment to philanthropy

Q&A with David Sacarelos, Professional Advisor with Seiler LLP

David Sacarelos
Tax Partner
Seiler LLP

David Sacarelos is a partner at Seiler LLP, a leading advisory and accounting firm serving affluent families and individuals, privately held businesses, nonprofit organizations and private foundations throughout California and the world. 

David brings more than 25 years of experience providing counsel in the areas of income, estate and gift tax planning, and all facets of business planning. His clients include multi-generational families, nonprofit organizations, private foundations, entrepreneurial and emerging growth companies, investment partnerships and professional service organizations. A partner based in Seiler’s Silicon Valley office, David has notable expertise in advising families and individuals on their philanthropic goals, including the unique aspects of private foundations and public charities. 

He has served as a director and a planned giving advisor for numerous nonprofit organizations and holds leadership roles in many community and civic organizations in the Bay Area. David received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from San José State University and a Master of Science degree in taxation from Golden Gate University. He lives in Sunnyvale with his wife and two children. David generously agreed to answer a few questions about his work and views on philanthropy.

Q. How do you view in philanthropy in your own life?

A. My wife, Yvette, and I have always tried to express gratefulness, both within our home and also outside our home. It reminds us of what we have, what we’ve been given. This is in contrast to an ever-present culture of entitlement that often surrounds us, where much is expected and taken for granted. We express this thankfulness in our family, not only with our money, but also with our time and with nurturing in our children a sincere appreciation of all the gifts we have been given.

Q. How do you promote philanthropy through your professional life (clients, company volunteering, matching gifts, etc.)?

A. Our firm has a broad interest in philanthropy, and we’re quite proud of it. There are two main areas we like to focus on: local community efforts and environmental efforts. We actively encourage our senior practitioners to be on committees and boards, we have a very robust sponsorship, underwriting and donations program and process about 40 requests per year, at least. We also have a volunteer committee, which is comprised of folks who look for ways our partners and employees can volunteer in groups throughout the year. 

Q. Is there anything new that you are doing with your clients around philanthropy that you’d like to share?

A. It’s interesting, but most of our clients walk in the door with deep, focused and passionate philanthropic interests. I don’t do much to try to convince people that they might consider participating in the vibrant and independent philanthropic and nonprofit sector. They already seem to know what causes they want to work on, how they want to give back, and how they want their family to participate. It’s amazing.

I’m often surprised at the challenges they take on, and I’m humbled and awed by how they go about addressing these needs in the world and in our community. It’s quite impressive. My team, then, is responsible for carrying out their plans, drafting the plan of action and laying out the nuts and bolts. Our clients have a highly developed approach to giving back.