Mennonite Heritage Village

Why it is Better to Give Now Than Later

December 14, 2023

By Gary Dyck

Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash
Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash

Recently, the prominent Ivey Foundation decided to distribute all its funds almost all at once. This is the opposite mentality to the traditional model of philanthropy, which is about creating a large fund with careful investments made by administrators and then disbursing a stream or trickle of grants and donations to worthy charities from the dividends year after year. In its 75-year history, the Ivey Foundation has given away $100 million, but within the next five years, they want to give away the rest, another $100 million.

“Central to the decision is the urgency of the climate crisis and the UN’s warning of a ‘brief and rapidly closing window’ to secure a livable planet.” Considering this outlook, Ivey’s board questioned whether it should exist for another 75 years or give the money away now when it might be most needed. “It’s our opinion that there’s no real strong argument for why a foundation should exist in perpetuity,” said Bruce Lourie, president of the Ivey Foundation. “Our thought is really that we should be benefiting the generations of today with the resources we have” (Inayat Singh, CBC News).

Most of us take the same traditional ‘save up approach’ to giving. The thought is that once we have secured our schooling, car, house, put kids through school, and developed a nest egg with compounding interest – then we can really think of significant donations. However, after years of a saving mentality, we naturally keep saving and do not do anything significant until we pass away. Shouldn’t giving always be a focus? First, giving it all in our estate is not optimal for tax purposes. Do we want half of our donations to be sent to lawyers or estate taxes? Second, it is better for our communities to be an active participant in supporting services now. Giving when you pass away does nothing to develop your character and doesn’t inspire others as much. Giving now rather than later makes you a model for others and their giving. Talk about it with your partner, family, and friends and think of what good can take place now rather than later.

The ‘save up and give later’ approach focuses inwardly on one’s personal effort and benefit and doesn’t look outward to the wider community’s needs. It misses the crucial fact that effective giving can produce compound returns for a community-focused service or institution. Like the Ivey Foundation, think of all the people and causes that can be helped by increased giving now. Giving now lets the organizations you support help many others. Once people’s essential needs are met, a lot of them can go on to contribute to their local economies and further their communities. Now that is a compound return!

As you think about your year-end giving, please remember Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). In addition to preserving the Mennonite experience for the next generations, we provide life-giving community programming throughout the year. This includes meaningful work for our senior volunteers, school programs that ground children in Mennonite heritage and historical knowledge, and families that come to life with every village visit.

Upcoming Events:

Winter in the Village, Friday and Saturdays, Celebrate the Christmas season with a village full of festive lighting and displays (4-8pm), a bonfire, snowshoe trail with snowshoe and kicksled rentals, live musicians from 6-7:30pm, hot chocolate and apple cider. Saturdays include sleigh rides from 2:30–6:00pm, kids crafts 2-4pm.

Mennonite Heritage Villagewill be closed for Christmas from Sunday, December 24th, 2023 – January 7th, 2024.

Winter Day Camp for ages 6-11 will be running Jan. 2-4, 10am-4pm. Cost is $99 per child and will include a mix of indoor and outdoor activities including: skating, sleigh rides, crafts, snow sculpting, games, and heritage skills. Register here today.

“Keeping Time: The Art and Heritage of Mennonite Clocks” exhibit is being presented at the Manitoba Museum. Visit the exhibit from Oct. 27-Feb. 25. This is an exhibition developed by Kroeger Clocks Heritage Foundation in partnership with Mennonite Heritage Village.