Thursday, December 31, 2009

The history of the Vancouver Foundation

An endowment in Vancouver has given over $725 million dollars to the area's poor since 1943. People contribute to the fund because they like the idea money helping others long after they are gone. For the endowment only uses the interest that is gained from the money donated.

The Vancouver Foundation endowment has a rich history and some of that was shared in an article from Canada'sGlobe and Mail. Writer Robert Matas tells us how the fund was originally set up.

Alice MacKay introduced an innovative approach to charity-giving in Vancouver almost seven decades ago that continues to attract more and more enthusiastic supporters with each passing generation.

Ms. MacKay left an estate of $1,000 when she died in 1943. Without any children, she had decided to leave her life savings to women living in poverty.

But she did not want the funds to be handed over directly to the indigent. She insisted that only interest earned from the funds should be used for charity.

Local industrialist W.J. Van Dusen was intrigued with the idea of financing community charity with an endowment fund.

He spoke to some of the wealthier families in Vancouver about contributing to a foundation dedicated to helping less-fortunate people in the city.

Mr. Van Dusen and nine others put in $10,000 each, providing the Vancouver Foundation with its first endowment fund of $101,000.

The concept of a legacy fund, giving across the generations, has resonated with British Columbians. The Vancouver Foundation has a collection of endowment funds worth $660-million as of December, 2008, which is the most recent, publicly available statistic. The foundation has distributed around $725-million since 1943 to groups and individuals in the community. The funds came entirely from interest on investments, while donations to the funds remained untouched.

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