The Belfry is participating in a public awareness campaign called Will Power this season.
The goal of the national campaign is to increase the percentage of Canadians who include charities in their will and to raise awareness that it’s possible to do so even if you have family members to support. Often a bequest is the largest gift someone will make in the history of their giving to a charity, and the Belfry has been fortunate to be the recipient of about one major bequest per year lately, typically from our long-time subscribers or volunteers.
Sometimes, donors who have made plans for a bequest will later decide to gift the value of the bequest to a charity during their lifetime, rather than in their will. The Belfry is grateful to have received one such significant gift from Ronald and Juliana Polstein in 2020.
The Polsteins had always valued travel and the arts. With artistic people in the family, they fully understood that artists live on a tight budget and that arts groups struggle to present shows even at the best of times. Ronald explains their reasons for deciding to make their gift to the Belfry sooner rather than later: “When the pandemic came along, it closed down venues around the world and took away the opportunity for people in the performing arts to have audiences. Revenues dropped, apart from government support. The need for donations became even greater and the arts needed help.” So they decided to advance the amount of their bequest to the Belfry Theatre Endowment Fund care of the Victoria Foundation, allowing it to qualify for government matching funds.
Juliana, who was very knowledgeable in her appreciation of the arts, passed away the next year in 2021. Ronald has continued to make generous gifts to Belfry operations through gifts of stocks, as he finds it very tax-efficient to give appreciated assets away. He strongly believes you can support family members as well as charities during one’s lifetime as well as in estate planning. He describes it as a form of “tithing” commenting that “We all have a responsibility to give to charity and it doesn’t have to be a large amount, even the value of a weekly cup of coffee can be an easy way for anyone to start giving.”
The Belfry formed a Legacy Circle of supporters who have bequests or other types of planned gifts for the theatre, and the circle has grown to more than 30 members in recent years (note: it’s possible to be a member and remain anonymous).
For further information about joining the Belfry Legacy Circle, contact Susan Stevenson, Director of Development at email@example.com or 250-385-6835 ext. 229 or visit https://www.belfry.bc.ca/legacy-giving/