The Freedom of Disciplined Giving
Growing up in Enniskillen, Ireland, Albert Elliott learned to practice generosity from a young age. His parents faithfully supported their local church, including encouraging their son to place his own bit of money into the collection plate every Sunday. He was also deeply influenced by an aunt who gave generously to help others. “She used to say, ‘You can never out-give God,’” remembers Albert fondly.
When Albert immigrated to Canada as a young man, he was focused on building a new life in a new country. In the years that followed, he launched a successful career in Human Resources management, met and married his wife, Judith, and started a family. As he progressed through busy executive positions in the banking, energy and non-profit sectors, he carried on the family tradition of giving.
A Passion for Helping Others
Judith and Albert shared a passion for helping others, especially young people. The family volunteered at their church and in the community, and they gave to a variety of charitable causes close to their hearts. Albert served on the board of directors for a Christian retreat centre and for the Christian and Missionary Alliance summer camp. Judith (along with the kids) sponsored several children through Compassion Canada. Those more formal donations of time and money were enhanced by a commitment to extend friendship and generosity wherever they saw the need. “Sometimes the biggest impact is in the small things,” says Albert. “Like thoughtfully tucking a card, given from the heart, into someone’s mailbox and not expecting anything back.”
A Strategic Approach to Giving
Albert’s career eventually led him to take a staff position at Ambrose University. It was in this capacity he heard a guest lecture by an Abundance Canada gift planning consultant. Here he learned about the role of charitable giving in planning personal finances. The message resonated with Albert’s business background and commitment to serving others.
Although the Elliotts had always seized opportunities to give their time or money to help others, they hadn’t really considered taking a strategic approach to their charitable giving. “It really got me thinking about putting our house in order for retirement and setting things aside for future giving,” says Albert. “I love that it’s [Abundance Canada] faith-based, and I was inspired by the message and how [they] treated everyone.”
Albert and Judith contacted Abundance Canada and created a Generosity Plan™ that reflected their passion for providing young people with opportunities to reach their full potential. “We [recommended] four to five charities to support,” explains Albert. The Elliotts were able to benefit from Abundance Canada’s advice, giving now in the most tax-efficient way and setting plans in motion for long-term generosity throughout their life and beyond. “We really enjoy donating, and we’re so blessed by what God has accomplished through our generosity,” says Albert.
Paying it Forward
The Elliotts are now passing on that love of giving to the next generation. Albert spends a great deal of time volunteering as a mentor for young men, walking alongside them as they figure out their place in the world. “We often talk about how discipline equals freedom,” says Albert. The mantra he follows is, “If you exercise discipline in your giving, you are freed from the burden of worry,” says Albert. He is keen to talk about generosity planning with the young people in his life, saying, “We need to get the word out so that they can understand the benefits and the process.”
However, this enthusiasm for disciplined strategic giving doesn’t mean Albert has given up on those random acts of generosity. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he received a phone call from the director of a summer camp his kids once attended, explaining that the organization’s annual fundraiser banquet had just been cancelled. “There was a fundraising goal to achieve at the banquet, and he asked me if I could help out,” says Albert. Social distancing had just been introduced and classes across the province had been cancelled. “Rather than wait and see what happens, I gave right away just because I could, and it was the right thing to do,” says Albert. “We don’t know what the future holds, but God has never failed us, even in the most difficult times.”
We don’t know what the future holds, but God has never failed us, even in most difficult times. – says Albert Elliott.
This story comes from our recent Annual Report: A World Where Everyone Lives Generously. Read more stories like Albert’s here.