Vital People: ‘Will Power’ campaign shows we can all make a difference

Vital People: 'Will Power' campaign shows we can all make a difference

Tony Gooch has spent a lot of time on the water, exploring B.C. and the world with his wife.

“Most of our lives together, Karin and I have been sailing — sailing on all the oceans of the world,” Tony says.

The Oak Bay couple love to be in nature and are passionate about protecting the environment.

“I’m very concerned that those things we found so valuable are being lost,” explains Tony, who’s decided to leave money to the Victoria Foundation in his will for charities he and Karin care about.

“There’s a real risk here on the Island of loss of biodiversity, loss of our wilderness, particularly the forests being chopped down, our salmon are in trouble so if we can leave money into the future, then other people can come behind us and they’ll enjoy it too.”

Charitable gifts in wills have helped the Victoria Foundation make a big difference in our community — and it’s not just for people who are wealthy.

“Making a gift in your will is really easy to do and we can all do it,” says Sara Neely, the Victoria Foundation’s director of philanthropic services.

The national ‘will power’ campaign on now is hoping to inspire people to use their will to help change the world.

“You can support the causes that have been important to you during your lifetime,” Sara explains. “You want to make sure you’re providing for your family but you can do both. Even if each of us gave one per cent of our estate to the charities that are meaningful to us, we would all help lift up our community.”

At Victoria’s Belfry Theatre, which is one of several local non-profits taking part in the Will Power campaign, they’re getting ready to re-open after being hard-hit by COVID.

“We’ve been closed to the public for about a year and half now and we’re just gearing up to open up to live audiences again in November so it’s been a destabilizing time,” Belfry Theatre director of development Susan Stevenson says.

The Belfry usually gets one bequest a year, and they’ve helped the theatre survive and thrive.

“That’s been a really important part of building the future health and stability of the theatre as well as right now in this difficult time,” Susan says.

For Tony, giving back to the community he’s called home for 35 years was a given.

“We’ve enjoyed it, we’ve enjoyed the world,” Tony says. “We’ve had a great life and I think it’s important for our generations and the one behind us as well to bring forward as much resources as they can so future generations can enjoy it as well.”

You can visit the Victoria Foundation’s Will Power page at this link.

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