Report on the Fund's work

This update on the recent work of the Legacy Fund appeared in the summer 2013 edition of the St. Francis-in-the-Wood church newsletter.

Two of the donations made in 2011 were to Hollyburn Family Services on the North Shore and to the work of LUMS in the downtown Eastside.   These donations were given as potentially the first of two to each organization, with the second contribution being considered subject to review in 2012.

Hollyburn Family Services:  The 2011 Legacy Fund contribution was to a new project of Youth Transition houses, which continue to be homes today to youth undertaking the “Life Success Program”.    This Program provides transitional housing and support to assist homeless young adults, ages 18-24.   Key areas of focus include employment, interpersonal relationships and community integration.   The Program support help youth to cultivate a sense of belonging, build social relationships and creates opportunities for success.   

The St. Francis Education Bursary was envisioned by the Legacy Fund Trustees and set up with the intention of directly extending the education opportunities required for employment, which then promotes self-reliance and helps to break the homelessness cycle.

Therefore in the summer of 2012 the Trustees reviewed the success of the Bursary to date and were encouraged by the extremely positive feedback from Hollyburn Directors as to the significant impact the Bursary opportunity was having.     For some, education begun in 2011 when no other support funds were available was continuing, others were starting out, but for one the training programme funded by the Bursary had enabled her to subsequently acquire paid employment, including the money to purchase new steel tipped boots and vest required for her first job.    With this positive first year use of the Bursary the Trustees were pleased to provide the second tranche of $10,000 to the Fund in the Fall of 2012.

This second contribution strengthens the aim of the program – that is to give “homeless youth a chance to get on their feet, build skills, and form a web of community resources around them while being encouraged and supported in creating a healthy and balanced lifestyle”

LUMS:   Our donation late in 2011 was given at a critical time for this organization when the continuance of their work of the previous 15 years to those in need in the downtown East side was under threat.      Street Priest Pastor Brian Heinrich describes his work as something “that nobody else in the ‘hood, not even the other religious communities in this community offer …. one on one, human scaled pastoral care.   We put the resources placed in our care back into the Downtown Eastside in the form of pastoral care. That is our priority and we back that priority up with how we expend the precious gifts to God that you share with us.

What do we do here?  We attend those discarded. We listen to the deaf. We mourn with our aboriginal friends in grief. We share hospitality with those often dehumanized. We are convinced that this is worth doing.” 

The 2011 donation enabled the organization to move forward into 2012 with the ability to plan programmes and continue much needed work.  The Trustees had also committed to consideration of a second part to the original donation to be made in 2012.     On meeting with Board Members and Pastor Brian Heinrich in the Spring of 2012 the Trustees agreed to a Part 2 donation of $10,000 subject to ‘matching donations’ achieved through additional fund raising by themselves.      By the Fall of 2012 LUMS had achieved the goal and so the Legacy Fund eventually made this second contribution.    

In their Winter 2012 Newsletter the LUMS Treasurer writes, “The summer fundraiser was very successful and very fruitful – my sincere thanks goes out to everyone who heard the call to give.   Your donations have enabled us to access matching monies from the Legacy Fund at St. Francis-in-the-Wood in West Vancouver.   I would like to thank that Fund also for their support, which enables LUMS, Father Brian and our efficient and faithful Administration Assistant Susan to continue to serve the Downtown Eastside in so many daily ways.”

North Shore Restorative Justice Society: This Society was originally formed in response to the community recognizing the need to approach justice (particularly youth justice) in a different way than it had in the past.  It is a non-profit organization that advocates and supports restorative responses to crime and conflict in North and West Vancouver. It has operated the Restorative Response Program, a community-based initiative that provides an effective alternative to the court system, since 1997.

“The Society remains a well-developed, grassroots restorative justice group with four programs including the Restorative Response Program, the Restorative Awareness Dialogue Program, Restorative Responses to Adult Abuse and Neglect Program and Restorative Approaches in Schools. NSRJS enjoys strong partnerships with other community agencies, the RCMP, and the West Vancouver Police Department. The Society’s ability to serve the citizens of the North Shore has been made possible through the commitment of Volunteer Facilitators and Board Members as well as caring staff and community partners.”   The program responds to situations of crime and conflict committed by youth and adults and is reliant on volunteers to carry out this Restorative Program.  Their reliance on volunteers for the execution of these programmes requires the Society to seek funding to train and mentor their volunteers, whose caseload can be long and arduous.

The programme is supported by many police officers within North and West Vancouver when they believe that the traditional approach to justice could be counterproductive for particular juvenile/adult offenders in addressing the beginnings of potential ongoing criminal behavior in a young perpetrator.    A presentation by Alana Abramson, President of NSRJS to us outlined the work and programmes of the Society and identified to the Trustees how the Restorative Justice approach, which includes the Offended in the process, is not an easy option for the perpetrator, yet has the potential to be transforming.

To this end the Trustees agreed in the Fall to give $10,000 to this organization from the funds available in 2012.

Now looking forward to this year and beyond……

We would encourage parishioners to thoughtfully consider the work of the Legacy Fund and make a Living Gift and/or make a Bequest to the Fund.   This will enable the Fund to continue to support the needs of people/organizations in British Columbia such as the disadvantaged youth, the elderly, the homeless and those suffering from substance addictions.

If you have already included a future bequest to the Fund we thank you.    As Trustees we look to the future of the fund as the lifespan of annuities diminish but are not necessarily aware of what may be made available to the Legacy Fund in the upcoming years.    If you feel you would like your Bequest made known to the Trustees in confidence then do not hesitate to contact us.    For those who have already donated to date we would like to keep you in touch with the giving of the Fund on a regular basis and would welcome receiving your name and address to contact you if this is your choice.   Unless identified otherwise, all donations are treated as confidential, and thus we are unable to contact you and keep you in touch personally.

As ever, we look forward  to new opportunities to donate and ‘make a difference’, as part of what St. Francis-in-the-Wood Church is all about.    Please make us aware of others in need in British Columbia that may be known to you but are not yet ‘on our radar’.   Join us in making that difference by your support of this Fund.

Marilyn McBeath

On behalf of the Legacy Fund Trustees