Why have I left a legacy gift to OCISO in my will? – David Rain

Hello. My name is David Rain, I’ve left a legacy gift to OCISO in my will and I’d like to tell you why.

For close to 35 years, I worked for a variety of organizations in the field of international development, travelling extensively in Africa and Asia, spending 10 years of my life in the beautiful East African country of Tanzania, and in 2015 I retired. That same year I began my connection with the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO), when my choir the Stairwell Carollers made a special donation of $2,000 to OCISO at one of our Christmas concerts.

That, as they say, was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Soon after, I began to learn more about OCISO’s inspiring work with refugees and immigrants here in the Ottawa area, I became an OCISO donor, an OCISO volunteer, and more recently a part-time OCISO fundraiser. For me, it was a match made in heaven.

I am so impressed by the amazing diversity of people that I have encountered: OCISO program staff, Board members, volunteers, mentors, mentees, clients, etc. It reminds me of the rich cultural diversity that I experienced during my travels abroad, and is indeed woven into the social fabric of so much of OCISO’s work with newcomers to Canada here in Ottawa.

During these past three years, I have been privileged indeed to bear witness to an outpouring of support for OCISO from so many generous donors and volunteers like yourselves.

It has been a real pleasure to organize the annual Run for a New Start campaign (now in its fourth year) as part of the Ottawa Race Weekend and to see so many runners and walkers, of all ages, cultures, shapes and sizes, come together and raise funds in common spirit, as part of a team that has grown to over 160 volunteers!

It has been equally inspiring to see so many organizations and groups commit themselves to fundraising for OCISO too: workplace supporters like TrendMicro Canada and SurveyMonkey Canada (where socially-responsible employers have matched the funds raised by their dedicated employees); local area schools like St Thomas More Elementary School and Ridgemont High School (with their inspirational team of newcomer students who were featured on CTV News); women’s groups like WEunlimited (raising funds each year for OCISO’s Marion Dewar Scholarship Fund); university students at the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College (who have organized major fundraising dinners right in the middle of their studies); inspiring groups like the youth-led Maple Wishes Foundation; my own choir, the Stairwell Carollers; and so many others.

And to be so actively involved in learning about and publishing the stories of OCISO’s early “pioneers” during our 40th anniversary celebrations in 2018, this was very special. OCISO is indeed fortunate to have so many supporters who are still connected to the organization four decades later. What an incredibly rich history OCISO has had, and continues to have, as the organization builds new lasting relationships with each passing decade.

The daily news on the world stage can easily become a source of despair and depression. My association with OCISO has led me away from that dark place and into the light, of hope for a better world, a world of mutual respect and understanding.

When I look at OCISO’s vibrant social network of support to immigrants and refugees who are trying to make a new home in Ottawa, I see a commitment to building bridges between people. It is a commitment that I have decided to financially support, both now and long into the future, with my legacy gift to OCISO that will take effect following my death.

They say that when a donor considers making a legacy gift to a charity, it may well be the largest donation that they ever make. This is certainly true in my case.

I recently turned 67. I know I won’t be working with OCISO forever, and I realized some time ago that I needed to update my will as I wanted to include a charitable bequest to OCISO, in recognition of this special connection and “friendship” that I feel.

This is the second legacy gift that I have made to a charity. Like many other Canadians, I have chosen to include more than one charitable bequest in my will, as I support multiple causes, not just OCISO’s work. This is totally normal, we don’t have to support just a single cause, we are diverse individuals in a diverse society.

And of course when I did the revisions, I made sure that my will still makes provisions for my loved ones, that’s very important to me. It’s not all going to OCISO, for sure, but a substantial sum has indeed found its way into my will. And I do hope that OCISO won’t be “cashing in” any time soon. I’m still in good health, touch wood, but I have to say that I sleep much better now, knowing that I have made all the necessary arrangements for this legacy gift to OCISO.

If you have read this far in my story, then please allow me to pose a question to you. Do you feel your own special connection to OCISO? Does its mission and work with newcomers to Canada align with your own values and your own life experience? Do you have confidence that this organization will be building respect, understanding and meaningful bridges between people for decades to come?

If the answers are “yes”, then please give a thought to whether making a legacy gift to OCISO might well be something you would like to consider yourself.

In the coming months we will be exploring how best to launch an OCISO legacy gift program – this note to you is just the beginning. If you have any thoughts on the matter, or if you would like to let us know that you’re thinking of making a legacy gift yourself, please send me a confidential email at [email protected], or give me a call at 613-404-1761.

And keep in mind my own special motto: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Thank you for your support.

David Rain