Canada is starting to grow their charitable-giving fund market, with a long way to catch up to the multi-billion dollar market in the U.S.

Mackenzie Investments was the first fund company in Canada to launch such a fund this month, the Mackenzie Charitable Giving Fund was the first launched by a mutual-fund company in Canada this month, according to Dow Jones.

Mackenzie began to lay the groundwork to set up the fund over a year ago. The Strategic Charitable Giving Foundation, an entity independent of Mackenzie and its affiliates, governs the program. Donations can be in the form of cash, publicly listed stocks, bonds, mutual funds or life-insurance policies.

Mackenzie plans on having financial advisers be a key part of charitable giving, with opportunities to bring up philanthropy in conversations with clients, commented Brad Offman, Mackenzie's assistant vice-president, strategic philanthropy. In the U.S., 82% of planned gifts to charity are referred by advisers, he noted. The test of success will come in the fall, when most of charitable giving takes place in Canada.

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