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Sandra Richardson: Small acts can leave an impact for generations

In a time of constant emails and notifications, our days can feel like our attention is being pulled in many directions. However, there was one story that came across my desk this summer that had a profound impact. It reminded me that our actions could have an impact not just today, but for generations.

One of our staff members came back from a visit to their family’s home on the east coast of Canada. They had spent their time cleaning out the house, which had been in the family for close to 150 years. They shared stories of discovering antiques fit for a historical movie set including a corset, food ration slips from World War II, and even arctic goggles.

Through these relics, stories of family members were shared. There was a great-grandfather who was an avid investor who also gave back to the community. This relative had stacks of IOUs attributed to the coal they sold, ensuring every member of the community had a warm house. Their grandfather carried on this tradition of giving back, supporting a multitude of causes throughout their lifetime.

These antiques, gifts and stories were passed down through generations. They helped create a legacy that resonates to this day. It’s a reminder that no matter the size of the action, giving back through our time, talent and treasure can have an impact well beyond our years.

Every day we see this through our work at the Victoria Foundation, the impact the non-profit sector has on Greater Victoria. Non-profits and individuals work tirelessly to make our community a better place, giving back through their time and talent. There is also the generosity of our community who give back through donations, supporting the community through their treasure.

This year, the Victoria Foundation is proud to support the national Will Power campaign, a cross-country initiative designed to inspire Canadians to think differently about giving and consider a gift to charity in their Will.

Much like the story of antiques and generosity passed down through a family, the impact of a gift in a Will could be felt well into the future. If enough Canadians donated just a small percentage of their estate to charity, it could mean as much as $40 billion for the causes we all care about.

Beyond the dollar amount, it’s touching to think about the impact generous acts like leaving a gift in Will can have on friends and family. It’s encouraging to imagine a future in which one of our family members pulls out a piece of paper, or reads a story online, about generous acts rooted in the legacy of giving back to our community.

So, through all the notifications and emails we’ve stepped back into this fall season, I’m taking time to pause and remember something simple. Sometimes, what may seem like one act of generosity can reverberate and leave an impact on our community, and family, for decades to come.

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