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Leave a Living Legacy for Generations to Come

“Many Canadians think a legacy is leaving something in an insurance policy or will, but many of our trust participants are living and want to contribute now,” says Doug Campbell, St. Albert Community Foundation President. “A living legacy allows them to do this. It can be set up by an individual, team, business, family or special interest group. It’s a powerful way to support charities in a long-term, sustainable way right now, and also to see the impact of that support during your lifetime.”

Since 1997, the St. Albert Community Foundation (SACF) has helped individuals and organizations give back in a powerful and sustainable way – by helping them to set up and leave a living legacy. Living legacies help support the community now and far into the future.

“Many Canadians think a legacy is leaving something in an insurance policy or will, but many of our trust participants are living and want to contribute now,” says Doug Campbell, St. Albert Community Foundation President. “A living legacy allows them to do this. It can be set up by an individual, team, business, family or special interest group. It’s a powerful way to support charities in a long-term, sustainable way right now, and also to see the impact of that support during your lifetime.”

While there are many different ways to leave a legacy, the SACF makes it seamless by facilitating the process. The legacy founder/funders can start contributing to their fund, and when it reaches $10,000, they can name the fund. Annual contributions are highly encouraged for the strongest growth.

There are many types of living legacy options, including community (e.g. St. Albert Community Fund, Jackie & Ed Heitzman Family Fund); special interest (Thatcher Neonatal Care Fund); scholarships, bursaries and awards (Humboldt Remembrance Fund); designated (to one or more specific existing charities); donor advised (the Foundation provides insight on legacy distribution); and combined purpose (which supports a mix of discretionary, donor advised and designated distribution).

The SACF is governed by a Board of Directors and is supported by a part-time Executive Director. The main objective is to build a permanent base of legacies to support a wide variety of community initiatives and needs. Annually, 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent of the principal of each legacy is distributed to qualifying, CRA registered charities.

The focus areas of the SACF, with some flexibility to address ongoing needs, includes programs that support youth, social wellbeing, seniors, arts and culture, recreation and mental health. Each charity under this criterion must be in operation for at least one year and must report on their project within two years of receiving funding.

To maximize investments and growth, the SACF operates with a low overhead and low administration costs of under 2 per cent. The Foundation’s investments in the Edmonton Community Foundation’s large portfolio, along with applicable grants, has enabled consistent, sustainable growth among the legacies. To date, the SACF has distributed more than half a million to more than 160 local causes and holds more than $3.5 million in trust.

Just some of the local groups supported by this model include but are not limited to:

  • St. Albert Stop Abuse in Families
  • Outloud St. Albert
  • Friends of St Albert Housing Society
  • STAR Literacy
  • Jessie’s House
  • KidSport St. Albert
  • St. Albert Hospice
  • Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation
  • Poundmaker’s Lodge Treatment Centre

“Anyone can start a trust at any time and then build towards naming that trust,” says Campbell. “Living legacies are more important than ever due to the years of COVID, where charities have been under stress to provide increased programs and services, despite many of them facing reduced contributions. During the 2021 season the SACF had the privilege of helping charities continue their work, and that was only possible due to the generosity of citizens, groups and businesses contributing to their legacies.”

The Alberta Nonprofit Network’s report, The Impact of COVID-19 on Alberta’s Nonprofit & Voluntary Organizations (2020), underscores this reality, noting, “Alberta’s nonprofit organizations and charities are facing loss of revenue from the cancellation of programs and events (including major fundraising efforts), as well as a decrease in donations. At the same time, they are dealing with human resource challenges related to paid staff and volunteers.” (source)

Report participants cite the anticipated long-term effects of COVID on their non-profit organizations: low financial reserves, increased demand from clients and communities, reduced staff hours due to budget constraints, difficulties engaging volunteers and reduced revenues from sales and fees. Basically, the needs and costs go up while the money and resources to fill those needs go down.

This is why the SACF is absolutely critical during these trying times. The impact of the foundation was changing lives before COVID; now, it is shoring up and enabling your local charities to keep operating and supporting those in need.

You can play an active role in changing lives for the better, and you can do it right now. A living legacy has an impact that you see while you are alive, and that continues forever, even after you pass on. It’s the best way to help your local community, especially while the need is high. The SACF invites individuals, businesses, teams, organizations and groups to visit https://sacf.ca/ today, and to get in touch to learn more.