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Rick Frost

Florence Carey, Christine Van Cauwenberghe, and David Christians



by Faith Kaplan, March 15, 2012

Every 12 to 18 months, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba offers a Professional Advisors Committee event, as it has for the past dozen or so years.While the format of the event changes, the purpose behind the event remains straightforward: keeping the Jewish Foundation top of mind for professionals who advise clients on their finances.This networking opportunity has proven effective in reminding the professional community of lawyers, accountants, investment consultants, financial planners, insurance agents and charities to encourage clients to consider their philanthropic goals as part of their financial planning goals.

This year’s PAC luncheon, held on January 25th, was structured as a panel discussion on “Innovation and New Approaches to Legacy Giving”, and featured moderator Rick Frost (CEO of the Winnipeg Foundation, Manitoba’s largest community foundation) and panelists Florence Carey, Christine Van Cauwenberghe, and David Christianson – all leading thinkers in legacy giving - discussing estate planning as a means to philanthropy. Co-chaired by Caroline Kiva and Danny Stoller, the luncheon was well attended. Of course, the event also provides an opportunity to update the community on its progress as an effective steward of donors’ largesse, and CEO Marsha Cowan proudly announced that the capital assets of the Foundation stand at over $70 million, making the JFM the second largest community foundation in Manitoba.

Manitobans are the most generous Canadians, both in terms of volunteerism and charitable giving, and we are fortunate to live in a relatively stable environment with many good causes vying for our attention. The tax implications attached to different planned giving options are a key consideration of donors, who are looking for flexibility, control, and tax advantages in how they direct their charitable dollars to causes that are important to them. Not surprising, donors would rather give their money to charity than the government. Some highlights of the panel discussion:

Donors are aware of the needs of the greater community, and are willing to support those needs. The obvious time to discuss philanthropic giving is when one is making or updating one’s will.

There are huge variations in tax implications depending on whether a planned gift is made during the donor’s lifetime, or after.

The choice of making a single large gift or a series of ongoing smaller gifts depends on tax considerations and the desire to help a particular or many causes. Donors who want to see the impact of their gift are more likely to leave it during their lifetime.

Donors should ask themselves what they hope to achieve with a planned gift, and discuss those plans with the charity they have in mind to ensure the charity can honour their wishes. Similarly, donors should consider what changes in the community they would like to see, and determine the charity accordingly.

The changing composition of Canadian families impacts how donors make decisions. Some donors will prefer to set up a donor advised fund or given a gift during their lifetime to ensure family members don’t challenging their will after death.

There are options outside of wills, such as life insurance. The bottom line is this: There are as many options as there are donors. Donors should consult with their financial team, including their accountant, lawyer, and financial planner, to determine the best approach for them, given their goals, financial circumstances, family obligations, and desire to leave a legacy.

For more information on the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, go to



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.