Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences FoundationThunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation

Donate Now Northern Cancer Fund Northern Cardiac Fund Health Sciences Discovery Fund


Group Makes Legacy Giving About Enhancing Community


Legacy Giving Thunder Bay is a group comprised of five partner organizations whose goal is to increase awareness of the impact of legacy gifts in our community. Pictured here is, from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Gail Brescia, Manager, Advancement. More information can be found at

By Heather Vita - September 6, 2017

Are you thinking of making a gift in your Will, but don’t know where to turn? Confused about how to proceed, but fearful of asking a charity? That’s where Legacy Giving Thunder Bay is available to help.

Legacy Giving Thunder Bay is a group comprised of members from five partner organizations – the Thunder Bay Community Foundation, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, St. Joseph’s Foundation, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and Confederation College. Started in 2010, the group’s goal was to increase awareness of legacy giving in Thunder Bay. “When you think about it,” said Katrina O’Neill, Executive Director, St. Joseph’s Foundation, “each organization exists to better our community, so when we thought about legacy giving, it seemed only natural that we would pool our resources with each other to convey the message about the impact of legacy gifts.”

“We want to give people the opportunity to make a gift so future generations have access to exceptional healthcare, outstanding education and supportive social services,” said Terri Hrkac, Senior Director, Major and Legacy Giving, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. “That’s why our organizations joined together to form Legacy Giving Thunder Bay – we want to educate and inspire people on the benefits of legacy giving.”

The group’s tagline – ‘Your Will is a Gift’ – brings home the idea that anyone has the power to leave a legacy. “I think, previously, many people had the perception that you needed to be rich to leave a legacy gift,” said Dana Levanto, Manager, Fundraising and Alumni, Confederation College. “But we’re starting to see a shift in thinking – more and more people are realizing that they can, in fact, make a gift, or even multiple gifts in their Will and that it can be a wonderful extension of their values once they pass away. It’s a very valuable step in end-of-life planning that can bring incredible joy to a donor and their family – knowing the impact that gift will have in the future.”

There are multiple options when it comes to making a legacy gift, and the group encourages people to speak with their lawyers or financial planners to determine what’s right for them. “I also think it’s important that the donor speak with people at the organization(s) where they wish to designate their gift(s),” said Katherine Biasiol, Advancement Coordinator, Northern Ontario School of Medicine. “When donors are able to speak with us, we can help them decide, exactly, how they wish to designate their gift so that it reflects their beliefs and passions.”

“Additionally, when donors let us know their intentions, we can better thank and honour them in their lifetime,” said Hrkac. “We have the very trusted role of ensuring that a person’s life or family’s history is preserved through this gift, and when we can talk to them in advance, we can provide the reassurance that their gift will be used exactly as they envision. For our community to advance, legacy gifts are critical, and each of us takes our responsibility very seriously when we meet with donors to determine how their gift will play a role in our future.”

“We find that once donors become more aware of the impact and ease of legacy giving, they frequently wish to give to several charities,” said Bonnie Moore, Executive Director, Thunder Bay Community Foundation. “Our group is very keen on working together to ensure that donors in our community are well-informed about the options they have when choosing where to assign their gift, and I think it’s important that donors are aware that we’re working collaboratively.  There’s no competition between us as charities because we know it’s the overall spirit of philanthropy that makes a community great and we want to encourage that specifically.”

“Conversations about legacy giving aren’t always the easiest to have,” added O’Neill, “but I think people can feel more comfortable knowing there’s a group in our community who are presenting this information in a way that highlights the importance of legacy gifts, without pressure for a gift to any one particular organization. We truly want to work together, with donors, to better services in Thunder Bay – and we’re proud of the work we do collectively.”

More information about each organization and legacy giving can be found online at Members of the group encourage anyone with questions to call or e-mail at anytime.

< back to articles

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation
980 Oliver Road  |  Thunder Bay, ON, Canada P7B 6V4  |  807 345 4673  |
OUR MISSION: To inspire the people of Northwestern Ontario to give generously to advance our healthcare at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Charitable Registration Number: