Evan Unzelman


With twenty years of specialized experience in the field of private foundations and charitable remainder trusts (CRTs), Evan Unzelman has risen quickly through the ranks of charitable and tax planning.

Evan began his career at a multifamily office, where he provided comprehensive solutions to the unique challenges faced by affluent families. In 2006, he joined Sterling, where he oversaw the administration of all the firm's charitable clients: private foundations (non-operating and operating), supporting organizations and public charities.

In 2008, he was tasked with the expansion of the firm’s CRT secondary planning services. Since then, he has played a key role in Sterling’s growth into the country's leading provider of planning services for clients with existing CRTs and their tax, legal and financial advisors.

Evan was elevated to Chief Operating Officer in 2010 to expand and sharpen Sterling’s service offering for charitable donors and their advisors. Key accomplishments while COO include overseeing the launch of Sterling's Donor-Advised Fund and developing the CRT rollover, a groundbreaking planning technique designed for clients who wish to change something about their CRT.

In 2015, he was promoted to President of Sterling, expanding his responsibilities to include the supervision of all aspects of Sterling’s business.

Evan is a sought-after speaker and writes frequently on charitable planning topics to a variety of audiences including attorneys, CPAs and financial advisors. He has particular expertise in all facets of CRT planning: up-front design and structure selection (Standard CRUT, NIMCRUT, Flip CRUT or CRAT), implementing the chosen structure, reviewing existing CRTs for potential secondary planning (sale of income interest or CRT rollover), and helping clients and their advisors successfully navigate the sale and rollover processes.

His articles have appeared in publications such as Estate Planning, NAEPC’s Journal of Tax & Estate PlanningTaxation of Exempts, Atlanta Bar Association’s The MortmainWealth Strategies Journal and Atlantic Trust’s Trusted Advisor. He was the lead editor of Managing Foundations and Charitable Trusts (John Wiley & Sons), which is largely regarded as the definitive guide to managing charitable entities.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Evan graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (summa cum laude) in Tacoma, Washington, where he earned degrees in Finance and Economics. He was a standout wrestler at both the high school and collegiate levels.

Evan lives in Leesburg, VA with his wife, Bradie, and two children, Finley (7) and Isabella (4).