“I believe that it is important to contribute to the community. Barrie is such a great city and the people here are so very giving.”
Those are the words of Ed Harper, who moved to Barrie in 1970 when he purchased Beers Tire on Anne Street (which he reopened as Harper Tire). “This community has been very good to the Harper family.”
To express his gratefulness Harper has chosen to give the charities close to his heart his valuable time and resources. Royal Victoria Hospital is one such charity. Harper gave the hospital a good portion of his time when he served as a board member. In 1993, when Harper went to Ottawa as the only Reform Member of Parliament in Ontario, he elected to take a 10 per cent cut in pay and donated that money to RVH. He is also a member of the Royal Victoria Society for which he makes an annual financial commitment.
Giving is not something new for Harper. Since the seventies Harper has been involved with the Salvation Army. It would be rare for a Christmas to pass without him taking his post by an Army Kettle. “Last year I think I did five shifts, two- hours each, for the Sally Ann. It is a wonderful organization with great people,” he said. And while the members of the Army are no longer ringing bells to catch the attention of Yuletide shoppers, Harper gets into the spirit of the season by donning a Santa Hat.
As good as it feels to help the Salvation Army, Harper wanted to spread his own goodwill just a little further. That’s when his thoughts turned once more to RVH. “By giving to the hospital we are giving to so many people. Everyone, at some point in their lives, is going to need the services of RVH,” he said.
With the exception of Rosemary Harper’s recent knee replacement or using the hospital Emergency Department when their children were young, Harper and his wife are both blessed with good health. In fact, they can often be seen walking around the Lakeshore or golfing at the Allandale Golf Club, but they know others are not so fortunate. By giving to the hospital they can play a direct role in meeting the health care needs of people in this community. To make this happen, Harper chose to name RVH as the sole beneficiary of his life insurance policy. For him the transfer of his policy is a win-win situation. Harper pays his yearly policy premium to RVH, for which he receives a charitable tax receipt, and the hospital in turn pays the insurance company. “The tax receipt helps in reducing our tax burden. It was actually my insurance broker Reg LaChance who planted the seed about planned giving. I’m glad he did because it allows me to give on an ongoing basis,” he said.
Harper says the starting point for planned giving is the appreciation of the charity you are going to give to. Then, a person needs to think how they can give and get the most value for their donation dollar. Then when they are in the financial position to do so — make the commitment.
Once a person has decided to move forward with planned giving they should consult with legal, financial, banking and business advisors as well as the not-for-profit organization they wish to support. Monies can be left to an organization in many ways. A person my choose to leave a portion of their estate or assets such as real estate, jewelry, stocks, bonds or mutual funds in their will. Or, as in the case of the Harper family, choose to name the charitable organization as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
“Our feeling was that RVH was the one charity the not only encompassed the entire community, but one that deserves our support,” he said.