A Different Kind of Legacy


Over the course of their life together, Doug and Heather Leung* raised a happy family and built up a successful business. They worked hard in the shop and instilled in their children the value of hard work, simple living and care for others. Although Doug and Heather had often dreamed about passing the business on to their children, by the time they were ready to retire, the kids already had homes, families, and careers of their own. So, Doug and Heather decided on a different kind of legacy – they sold the business and are giving the proceeds to charity.

At first, Doug and Heather explored the possibility of creating a private foundation, but the Leungs are private people and wanted to ensure their financial information would remain confidential. They felt uneasy that financial and board information would be easily accessible to the public, and the requirement for private foundations to file annually with the CRA would mean significant paperwork the retirees were not keen to take on. However, when they talked to an Abundance Canada Gift Planning Consultant about the idea of a family foundation, they discovered that with Abundance they would be able to keep their information private. This is because it is combined with all the financial and distribution details of other Abundance Canada donors. In addition, Abundance Canada would take care of all annual tax filings. It was the perfect solution for the Leungs; offering all the joy of giving and none of the administrative work. So, they eagerly opened a charitable fund with Abundance Canada.

Even though Heather and Doug put up the initial investment, they always viewed the charitable fund as a family project. From the very start, everyone’s input was welcomed and encouraged. Now, their adult children contribute to the fund, and each year, Doug and Heather invite all their kids for a dinner that includes a formal meeting to decide where to send the annual interest earnings. It is truly a family project, and they look forward to these get-togethers which have become an important family tradition.

Over time, the Leung family has grown to include several grandchildren, who are quickly becoming young adults. These grandchildren often ask Heather and Doug about the fund and the charities it supports. They are starting to wonder when they’ll be able to come to a meeting. Heather and Doug are so pleased that their grandchildren are keen to get involved in the family generosity project, and are happy to assure them that in time, their chance will come.

The Leungs’ agreement with Abundance Canada not only makes it easy for the fund to operate during their lifetime, but also ensures that the fund will continue after Heather and Doug have passed on. At that time, additional funds will flow to the family foundation from Heather and Doug’s estate, and two new family members (likely adult grandchildren) will be selected to join the annual meeting.  Although quite different from their initial idea of passing on the business to their kids; their business has indeed created a family legacy that will last for generations.

What kind of legacy are you planning to pass on to your children? Is your family interested in starting a charitable foundation? Abundance Canada can help.

*Names and details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals

Contributed by Sherri Grosz
Gift Planning Consultant

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