The Mayne Island Conservancy is delighted to announce a soon-to-be established legacy fund inspired by a recent gift from the late Susan Bloom. This new endowment will provide ongoing support for our mission to work with the community in conserving the ecology of Mayne Island and its surrounding waters for future generations. The $100,000 unsolicited donation comes from a Trust representing Susan Bloom’s estate and is in addition to $90,000 she contributed to the purchase of St. John Point in 2017. The fundraising campaign for St. John Point Point was a great success, and the property is now a Capital Regional District (CRD) Park. The endowment will be dedicated to another very important goal: that of reducing the conservancy’s dependence on individual grants, along with the time and resources required to maintain a predictable level of income from year to year. Increases in annual revenue provide much needed stability to an organization that delivers services with and on behalf of the community.
Susan Bloom began her philanthropic work as a young woman, working tirelessly for decades to protect the ecological integrity of the BC coast. In 1990, Ms. Bloom purchased Stubbs Island (now Clayoquot Island) and registered a conservation covenant on approximately 70 per cent of it with The Land Conservancy of BC. This prevented further development on the site of the first European settlement on the west coast of Vancouver Island—a fur trade outpost established in 1855. Over the years the original settlement became a fishing village with a population of 400 people which included a hotel, school, jailhouse, and beer parlour. Schooners were prepared there for voyages to the Bering Sea, and there was a Japanese village on the island before the Second World War internments. In 2016 Susan Bloom donated two-thirds of Clayoquot Island (some 93 acres) to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. At that time, she released the following statement:
“From the very first time I visited and then became the owner of Clayoquot Island, my goal has been to protect the island from any more development, to preserve it in its natural wild state. My recent lifetime goal is to see that this beautiful land, steeped in Canadian history, be placed into safe conservation hands, and cared for in perpetuity.”
Susan Bloom died peacefully on Salt Spring Island this past December, after a long and accomplished life of personal commitment to environmental protection, preservation, and restoration. Her will made it clear that the Trustees of the Bloom Canadian Alter Ego Trust 2020 were vested with the power and discretion to make donations to any registered charity in Canada. It chose the Mayne island Conservancy as one of the recipients of a significant unsolicited donation. Bequests and donations like this one sometimes come as a surprise, and this one most certainly did. However, it is only one way to make a charitable bequest through a will – there are many others!
All charities accept cash. However, there are all kinds of other possibilities. If you have a will or are thinking of creating one you can set up bequests directed to your favourite charities. It is a good idea to discuss bequests of real estate, personal effects, private company shares, etc. with the charity beforehand to ensure it can properly accept them. For example, with real estate, charities may be concerned with environmental contamination and the potential for liability. Many charities have policies for accepting donations, so while planning larger gifts or non-cash contributions, it is worthwhile reviewing them. In next months’ article on planned giving we will include examples of endowments which have been effective in supporting environmental conservation values and goals.