Important Community Needs Met By Generous Philanthropic Organization
NANAIMO – Over the past 40 years, the Nanaimo Foundation has funded over $40 million in grants to numerous worthwhile causes in the city.
An anonymous person recently willed $3 million of his estate to the Foundation – its largest donation ever – and the organization’s directors can see a long-time goal within reach, Chair Daniel Martinez told those in attendance at an October 20 gathering at Nanaimo Golf Club.
“We have a fund which we call the ‘Give Where You Live Fund’, from which we provide grants on an annual basis, and it has been our intention to get it to $10 million,” Martinez shared. “This gift brought us to $7.5 million, so we only need $2.5 million to get there now. The reason why that is so important is that we receive anywhere from between $300,000 to $500,000 in grant requests each year. If we build the fund to $10 million, we will be able to service 100% of the grant requests in perpetuity.”
Martinez noted the anonymous donation was remarkable, adding he never wanted to bring attention to his charitable gift. “He didn’t have any relatives, and his wife had passed on before he did,” he adds. “We’re trying to convince the executors to give some kind of recognition to him, but we will have to see what they say.”
Martinez, a partner in Integral Wealth Management, has been with the Nanaimo Foundation since October, 2013.
“I fell in love with the Nanaimo Foundation when I had the opportunity to visit some of the charities that they provided funding for,” he recalls. “I can specifically remember my visit to the Samaritan House in south Nanaimo, and once I visited the facility, I knew we should do something there.
“We help a number of charities that usually fall under the radar. . .they do great things, but don’t know how to ask for money,” he adds. “I was approached by one of our donors who had been contributing to Food Share that started the Good Food Box, which has been funded by the Nanaimo Foundation as a result of Covid, and 125 families were dependent on the fresh food and fruits that were provided through the system.
“The program was coming to an end, and when the community outreach coordinators of School District 68 became aware of it, they were shocked. Immediately I called Tony Harris, and we got together and decided to fund it for another year with $60,000.
“Instead of worrying about this year, we said let’s raise an endowment fund, and if we can raise $1 million, we can provide for this in perpetuity. Other organizations, like Young Professionals of Nanaimo, have jumped on board as well.”
Martinez is grateful for being in Canada, and in a position where he can help others.
“Life has put me in a position where I have more than I could have ever imagined,” he notes. “When I was eight years old growing up in Mexico waiting for public transportation with my mom, my big aspiration was to buy a car one day, and be the first one in my home to buy a home.”
He is a big believer in helping others help themselves, including his own family.
“I actively promote giving our children the best education we possibly can, but after that they’re on their own, and they know that if they work hard, they can get ahead,” he says.
He cites renowned investment expert Warren Buffett, who has willed $100 billion of his fortune to charity, and often sates he “wants to give their children enough money so they feel they can do anything, but not so much that they can do nothing.
“We understand that not everybody has that much money, but the donations that come to the Nanaimo Foundation can be a big part in changing lives in Nanaimo.”
The list of recipients from Nanaimo Foundation is extensive, from anywhere to $385 to $100,000 to groups providing everything from food and equipment for numerous community groups and organizations for citizens young and old.
Under the Nanaimo Foundation, several local families have their own Foundations, which make significant contributions throughout the area, including the Harris, Johnston and Sullivan families.
Individuals can receive tax deductible receipts for monies donated to Nanaimo Foundation, or create their own foundation under the NF umbrella and decide where specifically the funds in their foundation can be distributed.
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