May is Leave a Legacy Month, a nationwide campaign that brings awareness to the impact of planned giving as a way of leaving a lasting mark on your community for generations to come.
A legacy or planned gift is a donation you make now – whether it’s cash, property or other assets such as stocks – that is designated for your chosen charity at a future date, often through your will at the time of your death.
Why does leaving a legacy for our foundation matter? We sat down with Chris McKenzie, our development officer who works with legacy donors, to talk about the power of planned gifts and his passion for helping donors leave their own legacies to support transforming health care in Alberta. Find out more about Chris below.
Meet Chris McKenzie, development officer
How do you help planned givers and their families?
As a development officer, it’s my honour to work with individual donors, grateful patients and families, and foundations and businesses that share a passion for supporting Covenant hospitals and continuing care sites across Alberta. In a typical week, I work with donors across our province to help them choose the best way to not only support our foundation’s work but also get the best tax benefit from their planned gift.
What does planned giving mean to you?
When I think of planned giving, I think of gifts that require a step or two more than writing a cheque or donating online, and make such a big impact on our community. Planned giving provides more options. With more options, you can make more impactful gifts! It’s so exciting for me to work with donors – whether they have a personal connection to our foundation or not – to help impact the areas of health care that are most important to them and their families.
What expert tips can you share about planned giving?
Did you know gifts of transfers of stocks, public securities or mutual funds allow you to make a gift with a greater tax benefit than cash? And that gifts of life insurance won’t impact your current disposable income? When I was younger, I thought the only people who could leave a gift to a charity in their wills were the very wealthy. That’s not the case. We see gifts of all sizes left in wills and they all have an impact.
How does planned giving impact Covenant's patients, residents, families and healthcare teams?
You can choose to designate your gift to any of the 21 Covenant hospitals or continuing care facilities we support in your community. Our foundation is involved in several vitally important projects that we need support for. Our current goals are centered around initiatives in seniors health, mental health and addiction, palliative care, women and children’s health, rural health, and spiritual care.
If you've experienced Covenant's compassionate care firsthand, making a planned gift not only allows you to support the facility that matters most to you, it also gives you an impactful way to thank the staff who provided exceptional care when you or your loved one needed it most.
What advice do you have for someone considering planned giving?
Talk to me! I’m here to help make the process as simple as possible for you. You may also want to talk to your accountant, lawyer or estate advisor to find out what method of giving would be best for you. If you’re considering a gift in your will, talk to your family — sharing with them why you love our foundation enough to make us part of your estate planning gets them excited about the gift, too.
What's your favourite part of your role?
Meeting and connecting with people! I've always loved chatting with people in my community, learning their stories and helping them leave the gift of a lifetime. Showing donors the impact of their generosity is very rewarding. Hearing from donors who have received excellent care at Covenant hospitals and continuing care sites and who now want to give back is a really moving experience. At its core, it shows the good in people — people wanting to help people. And hearing from hospital, long-term and hospice care staff about the impact our donors make keeps me motivated.
Tell us about you as a person. What does your life look like outside of work?
As a husband and father to two children, I’m dedicated to my family’s needs and am proud to work for an organization that supports the improvement of health care across Alberta. Personally, I’m known for my warm personality, ability to build meaningful relationships, and commitment to my community.
I genuinely focus on being positive and living my best life. I’m very health conscious and focus my spare time on track & field and getting ready for big races to push myself to be better and reach goals that I set for myself. My children enjoy sports and it’s such an honor to watch them learn and grow and ultimately persevere.
My father suffered from dementia and that was tough to watch him go through that before he passed away from a stroke, but I am so happy that I had the opportunity to be with him at the end of his life and I understand the challenges that people go through with aging parents. My wife is also currently studying at school to be a nurse, so we have an innate natural bond together of really wanting to help and support the people in our lives.
|If you’re considering making a planned gift to Covenant Foundation: thank you! I’m excited to work with you to ensure we're using your gift how you intend. Your decision to support our foundation shows your dedication to health care and your fellow Albertans. I'm a foundation donor, too, so I appreciate how important this decision is to you. Thank you!|
Interviewer and editor: Tara Joyce, Jackie Fowler
Your legacy gift would represent a significant contribution to our mission and would provide you and your loved ones with tax and estate planning benefits.