Legacies can bring a lifetime of hope to communities in need
Leaving a legacy gift to the community you love is a wonderful way to be remembered. This recently happened to the Stratford Perth Community Foundation (SPCF) when Michael Kennedy, a frequent and well-known visitor to the St. Marys community, left a sizeable legacy to support the town.
While Kennedy lived in New York State, both his mother and grandmother were larger-than-life presences in the St. Marys community during their lifetimes. When his mother Isabelle passed in 2003, he and his brother, Stephen, worked with SPCF to honour her wishes and established the Annie and Isabelle Chesterfield Fund to support organizations in St. Marys.
“Michael often came to visit us and his mother’s hometown of St. Marys, even suggesting he might move here one day,” said Heidi Culliton, SPCF executive director. “Sadly, he passed away in January 2019 before realizing that dream. Michael’s passion to make a difference in the lives of others lives on through his legacy gift to the town he loved as much as his mother and grandmother.”
Kennedy’s fondness for the Town of St. Marys will see his estate support the St. Marys Smart & Caring Community Fund. This fund was established to support local community priorities for years to come.
Leaving a legacy for the community is a meaningful way for individuals to support their charities of choice in perpetuity. Contributions to a fund can be through donations during a person’s lifetime, or as a bequest. Donors can contribute to existing funds or establish individual trusts to honour a family member or other noteworthy individual. Culliton says anyone interested in exploring a legacy gift should talk to a financial advisor to determine their best approach then call the Foundation to bring their vision to life.
A legacy gift can have an incredible long-term impact,” Culliton said. “The endowments we care for support a range of charitable organizations across Perth County, from general funds to specific ones focusing on areas such as healthcare, seniors, kids, or scholarships. Our organization’s role is to ensure we are preserving the donations and dispersing the earnings from the principal so they can deliver benefits to the communities in perpetuity.”
“The power of legacies is even more critical during these challenging times,” said St. Marys Mayor Al Strathdee. “The demand for grants and funding is higher than ever. Local museums, libraries, sports organizations, and education programs are suffering. Perpetual legacies show us that a small amount of money can make a big difference in supporting so many important local causes.”
“Michael’s gift is a shining example of what can happen when families are inspired to give back to their communities,” he said. “His generosity will have a very large impact for many years going forward.”
It’s easier than you may think to leave a legacy that will support the community and causes that matter most to you. Contact us today to learn more or to donate.