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Outreach efforts help donors build a legacy

Charitable organizations and wealth management firms reach out to donors to help them make solid legacy giving plans that help communities grow into the future.

Leaving a legacy—the ultimate gift of support that lives beyond our own time on earth. Legacy gifts give life to and secure the future for our passions and the causes that inspire us to do and be better.

David Sung, president at Nicola Wealth, says leaving a legacy is about the desire to make an impact on the world beyond one’s own existence. “It is about leaving something behind beyond our own lifetime and contributing to something greater than ourselves.”

Patti Nakatsu, Director of Development for Arthritis Research Canada, says legacy gifts offer the flexibility and peace of mind that many donors are seeking.  “Wills are powerful tools,” she says. “And legacy donations often allow people to leave a larger gift than they ever thought possible.”

Deciding how and to whom to leave part of one’s estate is a complex, important decision. Because it can impact families and greater communities for generations to come, several of Vancouver’s charitable organizations and financial management firms say must be made with care, with vision and in consultation with family.

‘Doing well by doing good’

David Sung, Nicola Wealth

Nicola Wealth works with families to educate them on their legacy options, especially from a tax perspective, for passing on their wealth in an efficient manner. “Our advisors council our clients on how to maximize their contributions to family and the causes they most care about,” Sung says. “That can be done effectively by helping clients set up a private foundation, long-term giving through a public foundation or a donor-advised fund.”

Nicola Wealth financial advisors hold helping others and setting a high standard for corporate responsibility as some of its core values. In doing so, the firm partners with causes and organizations that align with its clients’ passions and values, and through a combination of staff donations, corporate partners and a private giving foundation, Nicola Wealth contributed $21.5 million into our communities in 2023.

“We help our clients and their families ultimately manage their wealth and protect and steward that to the next generation,” says Nicola Wealth president, David Sung. “That means our client-facing advisors are meeting with a client multiple times throughout year, reviewing their long-term wealth and legacy plans, and engaging in ongoing discussions about how our clients can maximize their contributions to the causes they care about outside of what they want to leave to their loved ones.”

Nicola Wealth has been “doing well by doing good” for more than 29 years. It was one of the first financial firms to start a donor-advised and public foundation account. Today, Nicola Wealth has Canada’s largest donor-advised fund among private investment council firms, and the fourth largest when larger firms, like banks and insurance companies, are factored in.

“We were early in doing that, so by creating internal expertise, we can use that fund as a vehicle our clients can use to give to the community,” Sung says.

Building community

Photo | Vancouver Foundation

Legacy donations are important to Vancouver Foundation, because they are important to the community. From the donor’s perspective, many individuals want their stories and values—their legacies—to endure.

“This final expression of giving by establishing a donor advised fund is a way we can play a role in preserving that legacy,” says Craig Hikida, Vice-president, Donor Services at Vancouver Foundation.

From the charity’s perspective, one or several organizations close to the donor’s heart will receive ongoing support long into the future and will be strengthened by this act of generosity for generations.

“Planning to make a charitable gift from one’s estate may be one of the most selfless acts one can perform,” Hikida says. “After all, you won’t be able to witness the wonderful work that will transpire from it.”

He adds that because the wealth to make these donations may have taken a lifetime to accumulate, many prefer this type of donation not all spent down at once.

“Vancouver Foundation can provide you with a variety of options so that your donation can endure for many years, or even forever,” Hikida says. “Wealth generated over your lifetime can support a charity throughout their lifetime and can help them tackle issues or events we can’t predict at this time.”

Vancouver Foundation leverages essential relationships with allied professionals, such as wills and estate lawyers, life insurance professionals and financial planners to support their clients when the conversation of charitable giving arises. These professionals take a holistic approach to serving all their clients’ wishes, including community support, and work as part of Vancouver Foundation’s team to serving clients’ interests when it comes to planned giving.

“We know it’s a difficult and overwhelming task to decide to which charities to give, especially since you’re planning for a donation that won’t transpire for many years from now,” Hikida says. “So, don’t.  Instead, think of the issues in the community where you’d like to effect change.  We can help with the rest.”

Medical advancements

Photo | Kidney Foundation – BC and Yukon Branch

The Kidney Foundation has supported world class kidney health and transplant research since 1964. “Legacy gifts are vital to the tremendous advancements we have seen over the years in kidney care,” says Ramya Hosak, Director of Philanthropy with the Kidney Foundation, BC & Yukon Branch. Some examples include prediction and prevention of kidney disease, developing and improving of dialysis treatment, so kidney patients can dialyse at home, and breakthroughs in life-saving organ transplantation and success.

“Legacy gifts will be key to even more discoveries in the years to come,” she says. “We have the power to relieve the burden of kidney disease, but it’s only possible with donors’ help.”

The Kidney Foundation of Canada – BC & Yukon Branch serves thousands of kidney patients in the local community, ensuring marginalized and vulnerable populations have equitable access to programs, services and treatments.

This support includes emergency short-term financial assistance for kidney patients in low-income households and home blood pressure monitors for patients across BC/Yukon with high blood pressure.

“We also offer seven Kidney Suites in Vancouver at little to no cost (depending on income) for out-of-town kidney transplant patients to recover post-surgery,” Hosak says, “and the Kidney Wellness Hub, a low-barrier free online platform to help support the physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing of kidney patients, care partners and living donors.”

The Kidney Foundation reaches potential donors through overwhelming support from the significant number of impacted kidney patients in the community who spread the word about the organization’s services and resources, exciting research into new treatments, and community engagement events.

“This has been instrumental in reaching businesses and donors,” Hosak says. “As a grassroots, volunteer-led organization, we are forever grateful to our volunteers, donors and businesses for helping us achieve our mission to better the lives of kidney patients today and provide hope for the future.”

Care for all generations

Photo | Family Services of Greater Vancouver: Kevin Clark

Family Services of Greater Vancouver relies on legacy donations because they represent a promise to care for future generations. “Many of the children, youth and families who depend on Family Services and our specialized counselling and social work programs are dealing with the impacts of intergenerational trauma,” says Amanda Sayfy, VP, Development at Family Services of Greater Vancouver. “Our programs help break intergenerational cycles, empowering our clients to move forward with safety, confidence and choice.”

Since Family Services’ founding in 1928, the needs of families have evolved. Today, the cost of living, housing crisis and mental health and addictions are just a few of the challenges that marginalized individuals and families face; if they are not addressed, their impacts will be felt for generations to come. “A legacy gift made today will ensure that Family Services can continue to be there for the neighbours who need us with specialized, client-centred and trauma-informed care, well into the future,” Sayfy says. “Legacy donors have a chance to create brighter tomorrows for children, youth and families in need.”

In its long history of community impact, Family Services has always depended on the support of the philanthropic community. Sayfy says individuals considering a legacy gift should look to an organization they can trust and that has the staying power to make a difference for generations to come. “While the role it plays and the challenges it addresses will continue to evolve, the non-profit sector—and donors like you—will always be needed to ensure that no one is left behind,” she says.

Making a legacy gift is a powerful way to make a difference for the causes closest to your heart. Non-profit organizations like Family Services of Greater Vancouver can be a trusted partner as donors look to ensure that their values live on.

Technology innovations

Photo | Burnaby Hospital Foundation

Gifts through Burnaby Hospital Foundation’s Legacy Giving program help transform care for loved ones through the purchase of vital life-saving medical equipment. Legacy gifts ensure that Burnaby Hospital’s team of dedicated healthcare professionals has access to modern technology so when community members need care, Burnaby Hospital is equipped.

“A legacy donation in support of healthcare is a gift that benefits the entire community, ensuring a bright and healthy future,” says Kristy James, President & CEO at Burnaby Hospital Foundation. Burnaby Hospital is a community serving a community. The Foundation bridges the gap between what the government provides and what the public needs. “Our purpose is to ensure that Burnaby Hospital is equipped in every way to advance the health of all generations,” James says.

Burnaby Hospital Foundation is proud to collaborate with industry experts, such as lawyers and financial advisors, to educate the community about legacy giving. Additionally, the Foundation hosts a prominent partnership with Will Power, a national campaign encouraging Canadians to think differently about their charitable giving. Donors are encouraged to visit to learn more and access unique tools to support you in creating your lasting legacy.

When someone makes a gift through their will, a charitable tax receipt is issued for the estate, which ultimately can help ease or eliminate income tax payable upon their passing. “These prospective tax savings can assist with preserving more of their assets for loved ones,” James says.

A legacy gift is one that will live on by fundamentally impacting the lives of countless individuals and their families.

“Leaving a legacy gift is an act that is generous, influential, and remarkably simple,” James says. “It allows people to leave a greater gift with life-changing influences, something that is often not feasible during one’s lifetime.”

Supporting food security

Photo | Greater Vancouver Food Bank: Alana Paterson

“Legacy gifts are often the largest gift an individual will make to a charity, and these gifts are generally intended to be used for our greatest needs, as opposed to being restricted to a specific purpose or project,” says Cynthia Boulter, Chief Operating Officer for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB).

After many years of supporting an organization or as a monthly donor, many find their ability to continue that support in later years challenging—that’s where legacy planning comes in. “Planning for a legacy gift gives donors the comfort that they can continue to support their preferred charities and help impact their community well into the future,” Boulter says.

The GVFB attracts and educates donors by including information on legacy giving in various places where donors will notice. “We approach it as a drip campaign, as it will generally be disregarded until donors are ready to act,” Boulter says. “Keeping the option top of mind may influence donors to consider the GVFB when they are ready to engage in legacy planning.”

The GVFB serves 16,000+ monthly clients across Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the North Shore. It also provides food support to 130+ community agencies throughout these communities, such as housing agencies, women’s and children’s shelters, transition houses and after-school programs.

In doing so, it promotes health and wellness by providing fresh, healthy food to people in need, from babies to seniors, and its broad reach increases capacity across several communities.

“Donations to the GVFB provide sustainability and a secure future with ongoing funding to address food insecurity in the Greater Vancouver area,” Boulter says. “We encourage you to consider a gift in your will to the GVFB, as it will have a lasting impact on our community, helping to feed those in need.”

Better quality of life

Photo | Arthritis Research Canada

“A legacy gift is a wonderful way for people to continue to support Arthritis Research Canada and have a lasting impact for generations to come,” Nakatsu says, noting that the collective effect of these gifts is critical to advancing life-changing arthritis research.

More than six million Canadians are struggling with the pain and disability of arthritis—a serious, life-threatening disease. By 2040, that number is estimated to climb to nine million. Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America.

“Legacy Giving is fueling our most promising research and helping people already living with arthritis and those who will be diagnosed in the future,” she says.

Through patient-centred research and engagement, Arthritis Research Canada is transforming lives as its multidisciplinary scientific team conducts more than 100 innovative research studies to optimize treatment and improve health.

Arthritis Research Canada promotes Legacy Giving through several channels to build awareness about the opportunity for this type of philanthropic support. “People can always visit our website to learn more,” Nakatsu says. “We are also a partner of Will Power, a national campaign designed to inspire Canadians to think differently about charitable giving and empower them to create a positive change through their Wills.”

People are often surprised that giving even a small portion of their estate to charity can have a significant impact. Also, a charitable gift in one’s Will can go a long way in reducing the amount of tax to be paid by their estate after they pass.

“We all want to help those around us and leave the world a better place,” Nakatsu says. “Leaving a charitable gift in your Will is a fantastic way to make a difference. Talk to your financial advisor and share your plans with us so that we can honour your wishes and acknowledge your generosity in a way that is meaningful to you.”

The legacy of hope

Photo | The Salvation Army

Creating a gift in your will for The Salvation Army is the simplest way to create a legacy of everlasting hope. Legacy gifts provide vital, stable support for the agency’s work and whether your estate is large or small, you can make a difference for so many men, women and children in our communities.

The Salvation Army is the largest direct non-governmental social service provider in Canada. The first ministry of The Salvation Army in BC opened on the edge of Chinatown in 1887. Today, The Salvation Army touches lives through a strategic continuum of care and relief, that includes food banks, hot meals, emergency disasters, shelters and transitional housing, addiction treatment programs and ongoing counselling, family support services and employment training.

It is estimated that one-third of British Columbians have been touched in some way by The Salvation Army.

“People often worry that leaving a legacy gift means that there will be less to give to their loved ones,” says Kim Findlay, Divisional Director of Development. “The truth is, you can make a legacy gift without taking away from the gifts left to your family and friends.”

When you think about the values that are important in your life and the ideals you wish to be remembered for, consider including The Salvation Army in your legacy. Some options go to work during your lifetime; others are deferred until after your lifetime. All deliver individual kinds of tax advantages, and these can be powerful tools to save money in your estate or for your present needs.

“We strongly encourage potential donors to seek professional and legal advice when executing charitable gifts,” Findlay says. “If you do not have a will, the government decides where your estate goes, and this may not be according to your wishes, as it can tie up your estate and add to your tax burden.”

Fostering independence 

Photo | Easter Seals

Easter Seals British Columbia/Yukon is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life, self-esteem and independence of individuals living with disabilities. Through specialized services, programs, summer camps and facilities, the organization helps break down barriers and create a more inclusive, accessible and equitable society, ensuring those with diverse abilities grow and thrive.

“Our inclusive programs foster a sense of community and belonging for persons with disabilities, and Easter Seals House provides a safe and welcoming home for families accessing medical treatment in Vancouver,” says Mike Leland, Vice-President, Engagement & Philanthropy. “Our programs provide opportunities for children, youth and adults with disabilities to engage in accessible social interaction as well as skill development that they take back into their day-to-day lives.”

Legacy gifts are critical to the long-term sustainability of Easter Seals here in B.C. They provide vital funding now, but also well into the future. Legacy gifts also have a low overhead, which means they are a cost-effective way to support Easter Seals BC/Yukon because the maximum amount of dollars go directly to programs and services.

“We’ve been doing this work for 75 years and we do it in a fiscally responsible manner, with more than 70 cents on every dollar going directly to support programs and services,” Leland says.

The legacy program at Easter Seals BC/Yukon is growing and represents an important opportunity for Easter Seals BC/Yukon. In 2024, the organization plans to run workshops for donors. “We plan to work with our partners in the finance and legal sectors to help educate people on the many advantages of leaving a gift in their will, advantages that benefit both parties,” Leland says. “If you are looking for a charitable organization dedicated to breaking down barriers and making our communities more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities, as well as providing families with respite care, consider us as your charity of choice.”

Learn more:

Nicola Wealth |

Vancouver Foundation |

Kidney Foundation BC/Yukon |

Family Services of Greater Vancouver |

Burnaby Hospital |

Greater Vancouver Food Bank |

Arthritis Research Canada |

The Salvation Army |

Easter Seals |