Create your personal legacy with a local community foundation
Published: May 12, 2020
Many of us are thinking about our mortality more than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing us to reconsider our impact on the world and how we want to be remembered. Whether we’re sitting down to start our will, or updating one written decades ago under markedly different circumstances, we all want our legacy to reflect the life we lived.
Are you charitable in your life, but don’t know how that generosity can live on once you’re gone? You are not alone. Canadian Association of Gift Planners’ research (conducted through Environics in October 2019) shows that 31% of Canadians seriously consider a charitable gift in their will, but only 5% take action. Why? Because they can’t decide on the charities they want to support.
What is a community foundation anyway?
Community foundations (CF) have existed for almost 100 years in Canada to improve quality of life for people in specific geographic areas – highlighting local needs, engaging donors and making grants to nonprofit organizations. There are 191 community foundations in Canada, serving more than 90% of communities across the country. Each is a registered charity and independent public foundation.
Community foundations are the charitable soul of a city, convening and connecting people to create meaningful impact on behalf of millions of Canadians.
OK, I get it. But why should I consider a community foundation as a beneficiary of my estate?
- It’s so easy. Let me use the Toronto Foundation—where I work —as an example. We can set up a legacy agreement with you in as little as one conversation. And while a will is a relatively static document, a legacy agreement with Toronto Foundation can be fluid. As your charitable interests evolve, so can your intentions for your legacy. Once you name Toronto Foundation as a beneficiary of your estate via Willful, or any other legal will, you can update your legacy agreement as often as you wish, without the hassle of modifying your will.
Many people we serve are shocked by the ease of this process. Donors, who in the past have spent thousands of dollars in legal fees simply to add a charity to their Will, realize it can all be done (for free!) in one email.
Whatever charity you want, whenever you want. Maybe you have a cause that is close to your heart, but don’t know how to support it. Or, maybe you aren’t yet sure what your charitable values are. That’s OK. Your local CF can do the heavy lifting because we have the expertise, community connections, and thorough understanding of local needs and charitable organizations who represent every cause. We can work with you to identify how to have the greatest impact with your legacy. A gift to your local CF can be granted to any registered charity in Canada.
You can trust that your charitable wishes will be realized no matter what the future holds. The future is unpredictable—we know that now in the landscape of COVID-19 more than ever—and that is what CF’s are built for. Our job is to ensure that your charitable legacy established today, is flexible and adaptable to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
A gift in your will to your local community foundation is a way to tell the story of your values and create the world you want to see today, tomorrow and forever. Your generosity will serve your community through whatever challenges the future holds.
Visit here to find your local community foundation.
Nicola Hives is the Director of Legacy at Toronto Foundation. She has helped generous Canadians make an impact through charitable giving for more than 12 years.