Green Legacies Guide offers donors and professional advisors help with environmental giving

By Natasha van Bentum, Director, Give Green Canada (G2). A project on Tides Canada’s shared platform, the mission of Give Green Canada is to see a stronger, more resilient conservation, environmental and food sector with a diversified funding base and to foster increased support by citizens for conservation, the environment, and food security.

Photo: Guilhem Vellut

Photo: Guilhem Vellut

As a young boy, Jim Little spent many hours observing wildlife near his grandparents’ land in Peace River Country in northern British Columbia. He especially enjoyed visiting a nearby lake, which had waterfowl visitors such as Western Grebe and rare plant species like the Calypso Orchid. In 1999, Jim and his wife, Margaret, purchased 52 hectares (128 acres) of land in the same area, including the lake, as well as wetlands, muskeg, and mixed forest.

Calypso Orchid. Photo: Keith Dixon

Calypso Orchid. Photo: Keith Dixon

The Littles became deeply attached to this land. But they were concerned about protecting it for future generations. As a result, Jim and Margaret decided to donate this ecologically sensitive land to the Nature Trust of British Columbia. The lake is now protected forever, and has been named “Little-Levin Lake” after Jim’s grandparents and parents.

The Littles’ gift was made through the federal government’s unique Ecological Gifts Program. And even though saving on income tax was not a priority for Jim and Margaret, it was a bonus the program offered.

Making an Ecological Gift is just one of many ways British Columbians can give green. With less than two cents of every dollar donated going to the environment, Tides Canada project Give Green Canada (G2) has a goal of increasing giving to the environment and conservation sector.

“In my experience as a philanthropic advisor with a major bank, a key barrier to increasing philanthropy for conservation and the environment is a lack of awareness about ways of giving. In particular, Canada has excellent tax incentives for eco-gifts that need to be better publicized and understood,” says Malcolm Burrows, Head, Philanthropic Advisory Services, Scotia Wealth Management.

Green Legacies GuideTo help address this need, G2 released an updated edition of its Green Legacies Guide, in collaboration with the Land Trust Alliance of BC. The first issue was published in 2002.

The updated Green Legacies Guide is a robust resource not only for professional advisors like Malcolm, but also for individuals who are contemplating making a gift to benefit the environment. It includes information on annual gifts, bequests, gifts of life insurance and real estate, endowments, Ecological Gifts, and more.

“The guide is a work in progress, and updates will be made to the online edition,” says Natasha van Bentum, CFRE, Director, G2. “G2 is very pleased to be working on a new, forthcoming chapter on giving options around foodland and farmland. In British Columbia today we face significant challenges related to secure and affordable land access for food production, especially for a new generation of farmers interested in building alternative and sustainable food networks that utilize environmental best practices to enable regional food security. Watch for the new chapter in June 2016 in our online edition of the guide.”

“I made good use of the first Green Legacies Guide for donors when working with clients interested in green giving and am delighted an updated edition has been created,” says Margaret H. Mason, Partner, Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP. “It’s a wonderful resource to help describe the “landscape” to donors interested in this type of legacy.”

“I have witnessed the value of the original Green Legacies Guide as a catalyst for gifts in BC,” says Malcolm. “Since 2002, professional advisors in British Columbia have made good use of the Guide when working with clients. It gives all professionals a greater degree of confidence in discussing philanthropic options with clients and donors. I have also been an advocate of Give Green Canada (G2) for over a decade. Their philosophy and commitment to producing high-quality, publicly-available practical information and tools for the sector is well recognized.”

G2 and the Land Trust Alliance of BC would like to express sincere appreciation to The Law Foundation of British Columbia for making this updated edition possible.

FLOW: advancing sustainable water management in Canada

The Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW) is an independent think tank focused on water policy issues in Canada and a project on Tides Canada’s shared platform. We interviewed Project Director Tony Maas to learn more about the project and its work on public policy.