Leaving a gift for the future

“It’s in everyone’s best interests to ensure the best health services we can,” says Ernie Ooms.

Wendy Guillemaud and Ernie Ooms always give to charities. Both retired and with no children, they wanted to be proactive in managing their affairs. They decided to include Calgary Health Foundation as one of the seven charities they support in their estate.

“It’s in everyone’s best interests to ensure the best health services we can,” said Ernie. 

“People don’t realize how badly we need this until something really bad happens to you and you end up in Emergency for a short or long stay at the hospital. For us, you can’t do better than supporting health care,” said Ernie

Before choosing Calgary Health Foundation, they donated to various health programs for quite some time. They found that by donating to the foundation, they could better allocate their funds to what was important to them.

“The Calgary Health Foundation does so many things, it’s not just concentrated on one problem,” said Ernie.

One of the main reasons the couple decided to leave a legacy gift to the foundation was because they wanted to ensure that the community that needed the healthcare system would be properly taken care of even when public health funding was challenging.

“It’s so important to have a good healthcare system, because sooner or later we all need it,” Ernie said.

When choosing to leave a gift in their estate, it came down to wanting to ensure their money went to the causes that were most important to them.

“We don’t have any kids, so we had to look at what we were going to do when we both died,” Ernie said. “We picked the charities that meant most to us and those are the ones we’re leaving legacy gifts to. Hospitals are right up at the top there, we’ve both been for stays over the years.”

Wendy and Ernie want people to know that when choosing a charity to direct your funds to, it’s quite simple. There are several ways to leave money for foundations; you can choose to leave money for a specific goal or leave it for what is the greatest need.

“People should know that they shouldn’t just put the charity in their will. They should contact the charity and let them know they’re doing that,” said Wendy.

She believes that setting up a relationship with the charity provides the most meaningful gift as you can get updates on initiatives that are important to them or tour facilities.

“It really cements the relationship and puts a lot more meaning into what you’re doing,” she said.

Wendy and Ernie have decided to leave their legacy gift to the area of greatest need because programs or research they’re interested in right now may not be a program that is around when their gift is available.

When they were picking the charities to donate to, they looked at each charity to see how beneficial each of them was and where the money was going so they could best determine how much impact their gift would have. For both of them, supporting healthcare was an easy decision.

Wendy worked in investment counselling as an administrator, she spent most of her career at one company for 27 years. Ernie worked for Telus and had an opportunity to take an early retirement when he was 53. The couple stays busy and is very active in the community. We are genuinely moved and incredibly grateful to donors like Wendy and Ernie who choose to leave a legacy gift in their estate planning. Because of donors like them, we can continue to provide the best healthcare outcomes possible and help transform lives.

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