Leaving a Legacy of Generosity


Bill Griffis is looking to the future and recently made the decision to leave a donation in his Will. He’s content knowing that it will be used to fund any area of need within the Hospital.

By Heather Vita - November 22, 2017

“I’ve been really lucky in life. I’ve done well and I’m capable of giving, so I’m doing it,” said Bill Griffis, who recently chose to leave a donation in his Will to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation.

Having lived in multiple provinces, including Alberta and British Columbia, Bill returned to his hometown of Thunder Bay in 2012 to build a home on his family’s property on Oliver Lake.

The solitude of the lake setting allowed him to think seriously about how he could give back to his community, and thanks to helpful advice from his lawyer, he made the decision to make a donation in his Will. “Having the advice of a professional was paramount,” he said. “It allowed me to feel comfortable with the structure of the donation so that I knew that the people I love would be taken care of and that I could also direct funds to the Hospital.”

Bill chose to make his donation to the area of highest need. “I trust that the Health Sciences Foundation will use my donation where it’s needed most at the time. I like knowing exactly that it will support the Hospital, but as to where it goes within the Hospital – I leave that to the experts there,” he said.

“I have seen how much need there is when it comes to funding equipment at our Hospitals,” continued Bill. “There seems to be this attitude that our healthcare should be funded completely by the government. Almost a ‘you owe me’ feeling. I don’t believe that to be true. If anything, I think we, as a community, have the ability to be much more generous.”

Bill has directly benefitted from generous citizens himself. He went to Simon Fraser University on a football scholarship, which, as he said, “changed my life. The people I met there played a large role in my life going forward.” He’s also seen the force behind some very significant legacy gifts; he recalled a $100M donation to a College in the United States that paid for a new arena. “Obviously, we’re not all capable of that level of giving,” he laughed, “but the US alumni associations are brilliant and people who’ve gone to some of those schools share a culture of philanthropy – one that would be wonderful to mimic here in Canada.” 

“We’re fortunate that we do have some very generous people in our community,” he said, especially noting the contributions made by Dr. Mark Henderson. “When I was thinking about my donation, I was a bit uncertain about how much I could give now. That’s what led me to think about making a donation in my Will, because I knew I wanted to do something significant, and this seemed to be the best answer for me.”

Concluded Bill, “I feel really good about making my donation. There’s a sense of pride and satisfaction that comes with doing this. Best of all, I know when I’m gone that I’ll still have the great honour of contributing to my community’s healthcare needs.”

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