By Spencer Yarnell Head of Spreading the Herd Word
So we here at IBEX decided that the best way to reach out to Medicine Hat might be to get to know Medicine Hat. Astonishing. And what better way to get to know a community than to get to know the people giving back to it? This quest of mine led me to the Community Foundation of Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta and to.. Interest.
Interest. The banking kind. As the proud parent of a student loan the word brings a shiver to my bank account. To the folks at Community Foundation of Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta it is music to their ears.
Community Foundation of Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta is a charity group that is dedicated to building a better community in the Southeast of Alberta through directly funding charitable causes. What makes them different from most charities however is how they get their money. Interest.
No, they aren’t lending out money. (Well not in a strict sense) The charity functions on what its executive director Mike Christie calls “permanent legacies”. What this means is that Community Foundation keeps their donations as endowment funds in the bank and without touching the principal it pays for charitable action through the money made off investments and interest. Who knew banks could be the most loyal donors to charity?
The charity raises most of their endowment funds through planned donation, that is donations written right into people’s wills and estates. This kind of giving has great benefits for a donor such as tax exemptions on your estate and an opportunity to show what sort of values you lived for. While there’s nothing quite like sticking it to taxes, these kind of donations can be quite complicated with lawyers, accountants and a cocktail party full of paid professionals involved. As such the Community Foundation has formed a partnership with several other local charities to help them gain the knowledge and experience to engage in this very personal donor relationship.
Community Foundations hopes that its Legacy Partnerships program will help other charities gain a base endowment that will allow them to pay their costs with interest. As Mike Christie said “In today’s world the greatest challenges facing charities is sustainability.” By arming a charity with a strong basis of endowments charitable causes can forge ahead with the confidence of a steady income.
Here’s the thing about this kind of charity, it’s damn smart. At times it can be depressing that we live in a world where the best way to make money is to have money, but at least some people are capitalizing on this to make the world a little bit better. It’s like when the bad guy fights with the good guys in comic books, you can’t help but be excited. The more we learn about Medicine Hat, the more we’re energized to keep fighting the good payroll fight there.
If you want to check out the Community Foundation some more this is their website.
What great charity ideas have you heard? Do tell, I might even do a little investigating on them myself!