The word legacy has different connotations in different contexts. Will you be remembered, and if so, how? Will you be remembered for your professional contributions? The lessons you taught your children? The lasting impact you had on your friends and family? Or perhaps the enduring influence you had on our community?
May is Leave a Legacy month and therefore an opportunity to reflect on what each of our personal legacies can be. Last year, the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation adopted the tagline “there is a way to live forever.” The meaning behind this is simple:
• Each of us has the power to make a difference and ensure that we leave a personal legacy. Individuals of all means can make a tremendous impact;
• By making a legacy gift, the causes we support in our lifetime can continue to reap the benefits of our philanthropy in perpetuity.
Making a legacy gift has never been easier. It begins by reflecting on the causes you are most passionate about it. The summer camp you attended? Helping the vulnerable? Education? Support for the people and State of Israel?
Then, engage in a conversation with your financial adviser and/or contact Jared Isaacson at the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation – firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-798-4696, ext. 248 – to discuss the legacy giving vehicle most appropriate for you. Gifts appearing on a final tax return are 100 per cent tax deductible. As such, donating life insurance, marketable securities or RRSPs can add up to significant tax savings. In other words, you can ensure your philanthropic legacy while also ensuring the financial security of your loved ones. Through the legacy challenge, the Foundation will even assume the legal fees required to establish a legacy gift.
The Foundation recently received notification of an incredible future legacy from Dr. Truda Rosenberg. Dr. Rosenberg was 19 years old when Nazis invaded her hometown of Lwów in Poland. She survived the Holocaust and eventually earned a PhD. She has worked tirelessly and continuously toward educating and informing the public about the horrors of the Holocaust.
When Dr. Rosenberg was asked to what she attributes her survival, she answered without hesitation.
“I knew who I was. This kept me fighting for life and survival as a human being with the celebration of life that I was taught, with a love of people and a love of life. This, to me, is survival.”
This indelible spirit and desire to educate others is what shines through in her legacy gift.
“People need to give of themselves – their goodness, their thoughts, their understanding of one another. Sometimes we deviate from it a bit – but to think of the values of other people in our world is very important,” said Dr. Rosenberg when speaking about our role in the world.
By choosing to make a legacy gift, she is ensuring that the values and principles of acceptance, respect and the need to be connected to others – values she has spent a lifetime teaching – will continue to be transmitted to future generations. According to Dr. Rosenberg, positive results follow when individuals are guided by both their head and heart.
As Dr. Rosenberg is a life-long educator, it seemed fitting to use her inspiring story to teach us all a lesson about the value of giving, and the knowledge that we can and should leave a legacy that helps to make the world a better place. Please consider using legacy month this May to contemplate your legacy. Will you join the growing number of thoughtful philanthropists who have accepted the legacy challenge?