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Legacy Giving – Anyone Can Make a Gift in Their Will.

There’s a misconception that legacy giving is only for the wealthy and that the words “Estate Gift” are associated with palatial like homes and considerable personal riches.  But the truth is that Legacy Giving is for everyone- anyone can make a gift in their will.

Legacy gifts can range anywhere from $150 to over $1 million – but it’s the thought that counts beyond measure of monetary amount. Legacy gifts are very meaningful because they reflect the hopes and vision of the donors who make such arrangements, and every gift is appreciated.

You spend your lifetime building your personal wealth and if you are considering a legacy gift, you are choosing an organization that (to you) represents the future of what you value for those you care about and your community.

Below are some of the most common questions that come up for those thinking about a legacy gift:

  • Can I ensure my loved ones are provided for and still support the Heart Institute?
  • What if my circumstances change?
  • Do I have the means to make a legacy gift?
  • What impact will my gift make?
  • Do I feel good when I think about my legacy gift?

 

Can I ensure my loved ones are provided for and still support the Heart Institute?  Providing for your loved ones and making a legacy gift are not mutually exclusive.  There are many options that can help you provide for your loved ones and support the Heart Institute.  In fact, legacy gifts can provide your estate with a tax credit that will enable you to leave more to the people and causes you love and give less to the taxman.  Options such as:

  • Residual Gifts or Bequests
  • Gifts of Life Insurance
  • Gifts of Listed Securities
  • Gifts of Retirement Funds
  • Trusts

What if my circumstances change?  Our lives are forever changing, which is what makes it so important to have a will and to revisit your will regularly.  As you move through life, you may find that you have a little more to share.  Or you may find that, after working hard over the years, you deserve to spoil yourself a little, travel, treat the grand-children, indulge, and find yourself with a little less to leave behind.  That’s the thing about legacy gifts, they’re flexible and  can change right along with you.

Your will included a gift of cash for the Heart Institute, but you now find yourself needing to make a change.  Maybe a residual gift to the Heart Institute is a better fit for you at this time; take care of what needs to be taken care of first and, if you wish, you bequeath what’s left, the residue, to the Heart Institute.

The important message here is that you always have a choice and the option to make changes or to change your mind altogether.

 Do I have the means to make a legacy gift?  A legacy gift is simply a gift provision made within an individual’s will.  However, there are different ways a person can provide a legacy gift.

Life Insurance policies are a great example. You may have an existing policy on which you pay premiums, and you have reached a level of financial stability that the policy no longer holds the same value for you.  If you name the Heart Institute as beneficiary, the policy will not form part of your estate and therefore, won’t be subject to probate fees.  In addition, your estate will receive a charitable tax receipt for the value of the contribution (the policy) – which means more of your estate will go where you intended and less will go to the tax man.

Or maybe you would prefer to transfer ownership of the policy to the Heart Institute and continue to pay the premiums, in which case you will benefit from a charitable tax receipt for premiums paid during your life time.

Talk to your bank, financial advisor, or lawyer to see which of the many available options is best for you. More information about the different legacy giving options is also available on our website.

What impact will my gift make? All legacy gifts have a remarkable impact on the work we do, the growth and future of the Heart Institute, and the cardiac health of your community.  Legacy gifts allow us to plan for the future, to ensure that the Heart Institute is here for generations to come – continuing to provide excellent patient care and still making groundbreaking discoveries.  It’s not about just one gift!

In 2017 the Heart Institute received 45 gifts ranging in value from $325 to $450,000 for a grand total of $2.6M.  These gifts funded education, research, patient care, equipment purchases, women’s heart health, and so much more.    And you can’t imagine all of the incredible accomplishments of these programs made possible thanks to legacy gifts.  Read more about legacy giving impact in Marion’s story.

At the very heart of it, a legacy gift is very personal. If you are considering a gift in your will to the Heart Institute, it’s because our work and vision for the future of cardiac care resonates with you.

Your decision to leave a legacy gift is extremely important and will have an impact and help shape the way cardiovascular medicine is practiced and revolutionize cardiac treatment and understanding to serve the local community right here in Ottawa as well as in the  national and international communities.

So to recap:

  • Make sure you have a will
  • Talk to your financial advisors and lawyers, about ways to support your family and the causes you love – and about how one can help you to leave more for the other
  • Talk to your loved ones
  • Revisit your will
  • Then revisit your will again
  • Treat yourself, travel, treat your loved ones
  • Aaaaand revisit your will again
  • Most important – create peace of mind by designing a legacy you are proud of

 

Giving with Heart

Marion Martell is passionate about health, or more specifically, women’s heart health. There is no doubt that it has been a driving force in her leadership and volunteer work with the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

It is her passion for women’s heart health and for the work being done at the Heart Institute through the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre that inspired her to leave a legacy gift in her will.

As a former nurse, Marion understands the impact that health can have on someone’s life. “I always knew I would be doing something related to health in my retirement,” Marion shared.

Marion is committed to helping women better understand their own heart health and to championing the opportunity to provide education, awareness, and support for women in our community.

Heart health has touched Marion’s life in more ways than one. Her father had valve surgery at the Heart Institute in the 1990s and then in 2008, she herself became a patient at the Heart Institute. Marion had developed sudden onset complete heart block. She required surgery and received a permanent pacemaker. Her firsthand experience as a patient gave her a deeper understanding of the importance of heart health.

As the years passed, Marion became more and more involved in programs connected to women’s heart health. She became a member of the Women’s Heart Champion Advisory Committee, and contributed to the creation of the Women @ Heart Peer Support Program (a program launched for women with  heart disease, run by women with heart disease to provide information, education, and support) and became one of its leaders and continues as both leader and Program Ambassador.

Marion is also involved in fundraising for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. From 2009-2016 she co-chaired the Jeanne Fuller Red Dress Golf Classic which supports the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre and raises awareness about heart disease in women.

Marion’s desire to help women through her volunteer and advocacy work led to her decision to not only volunteer but to also give what she could financially. Heart disease used to be considered a “man’s disease,” but no longer. Heart disease is a leading cause of death among Canadian women. Although more research is being conducted than ever before around women’s heart health, there is still work to be done in order to better understand how heart disease presents in women.

“There is a gap in education and awareness around women’s heart health,” said Marion. “When I decided to give a legacy gift in my will, I did so in order to help sustain the many valuable  and essential programs at the Heart Institute,  including those provided by Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre.”

Marion’s legacy gift gives her the opportunity to make a lasting impact on an area that is important to her. “I am simply glad to be playing a small part,” she said. “And doing what I can to remind women that I sincerely take their health to heart.”

A legacy gift through your will can affect the development of new programs to further the research that will become tomorrow’s treatments.

To learn more about the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre, please visit https://cwhhc.ottawaheart.ca.

To learn more about leaving a legacy, please  contact the Legacy Gifts team at 613-696-7251 or wjksociety@ottawaheart.ca.

Alpha Phi Red Dress Canadian Womens Heart Health Centre Ottawa Heart Institute

Party your heart out: local sorority chapter holds 4th annual Red Dress Gala to raise funds for women’s heart health

There’s more to a red dress than material! Just ask the ladies of Alpha Phi.

Alpha Phi (pronounced “Alpha Fee”) is an international sorority boasting more than 200,000 members, with a presence on more than 170 campuses throughout North America.

The organization has been around since 1872—however, representation in Ottawa is still relatively new.

In fact, it was only three short years ago that Alpha Phi established a chapter at the University of Ottawa.

That chapter is led in part by Chattalie Jayatilaka, VP of Campus Affairs for Alpha Phi Iota Upsilon (the Greek name of the local chapter).

Like most (if not all) sororities, service is a core value for Alpha Phi. As such, chapters regularly host a variety of local service opportunities throughout the year, encouraging members as well as the general public to give back.

Supporting women’s heart health has always been a major focal point for the sorority. It was highlighted as an important cause during Alpha Phi’s first convention in 1946 held in Quebec—when, says Chattalie, the organization decided it needed an international cause they could “give their all to.”

“Right from the beginning, Alpha Phi had the idea of helping to fight a disease that was affecting a majority of women on a large scale.” Interestingly, adds Chattalie, “Even today, we understand that heart disease is the number-one killer of women in North American—but it’s still a huge surprise to people. Everyone seems to think that it’s cancer. And when we talk to people, it’s shocking to us that women have no idea how prevalent it is and how many of us might even be affected.”

As such, Chattalie and her chapter spend a great deal of time throughout the year educating others on campus about women’s heart health, holding blood drives and fundraising bake sales, and promoting heart-healthy activities to their peers.

This year, the Ottawa chapter will also host its fourth annual Red Dress Gala: a fundraising event to support “heart health organizations” including the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation.

The 2017 gala will be held November 11th at the Lago Bar and Grill on Dow’s Lake. Building on the success of other chapters’ galas, Chattalie acknowledges that the local event has certainly grown since its “early days.”

The Alpha Phi Red Dress Gala raised over $1500 in 2016

“This will be our fourth gala,” says Chattalie. “In September 2014 when we first started the chapter, we only had a few members and our goal at that time was to raise $1,000. That first gala was in February 2015—not giving us a lot of time to plan! But we hit our goal. And every year since then, we’ve raised the bar a bit higher each time.”

This year, Alphi Phi Iota Upsilon’s goal is to raise $5,000 toward heart health.

“We have 100 girls this year working on the event, and we’re inviting more than 300 people and tickets are available to the public, so I’m pretty optimistic that our group will do its part to meet our financial goals,” says Chattalie.

Half of the funds raised from the Red Dress Gala will go toward the Heart Institute Foundation to support programs and initiatives at the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre, with the remainder going to the Alpha Phi Foundation’s Heart to Heart Grant. Since 2014, this $100,000 annual grant has been awarded to hospitals and research facilities that are making breakthroughs in better understanding heart attacks, heart disease and strokes in women—specifically its symptoms, treatment and prevention.

In the week leading up to the gala, Alpha Phi Iota Upsilon will man a table on campus to raise money and awareness about women’s heart health, and encourage students to take life-saving classes in CPR skills training.

But that’s not where Alpha Phi’s commitment to the cause ends, says Chattalie: on an international level, the sorority is also known to help its own members.

“Our entire executive goes to an annual conference every year, and one of the girls had heart disease and needed a heart transplant,” she recalls. “Obviously, things are different in the US in terms of health care. Alpha Phi paid for everything for her—all her bills. And now, she’s doing great.”

 

Attend the Red Dress Gala!

The gala is open to anyone who wants to support women’s heart health. Join Chattalie, Alpha Phi, politicians, Heart Institute employees and other community leaders and supporters this November 11th at the 4th annual Red Dress Gala. Tickets are now available for purchase through Eventbrite.com.

 

 

Kaufmans Legacy Gift Honours Humanitarian Couple’s Commitment to Education and Philanthropy

Legacy Gift Honours Humanitarian Couple’s Commitment to Education and Philanthropy

Dr. Hyman (Hy) Kaufman and his wife, Dr. Sylvia Van Straten Kaufman spent their lives committed to making a powerful impact on future generations. A shared passion for philanthropy, research, and education, together with a strong belief in the potential of rapid developments in cardiology, inspired the Kaufmans to leave a legacy with a generous gift to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Often, the choice to leave a legacy gift in your Will stems from each donor’s personal experience – the Kaufmans were no different. In 1980, following Hy’s retirement from McGill University where he was a Professor of Mathematics (and where he and Sylvia met and married in 1959), the Kaufmans moved to Ottawa. In 1988, Hy became a patient of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute as a result of a heart attack. In 1995, he underwent double bypass surgery and an aortic valve replacement – the Kaufman’s Endowment Fund and the beginning of their legacy would begin just 5 years later.

The Drs. Kaufman started the Dr. Hyman and Dr. Sylvia Van Straten Kaufman Endowment Fund at the Heart Institute in 2000 and for over 15 years, the fund supported the Institute’s annual Kaufman Grand Round Lecture, enabling medical professionals to learn, grow, and exchange knowledge and ideas. Many esteemed lecturers have participated in this annual event, including specialists from world-class hospitals such as The Cleveland Clinic, and from as far away as Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

In addition, the Kaufmans’ legacy gift supported the creation of the Dr. Hyman and Dr. Sylvia Van Straten Kaufman and Dr. Kwan-Leung Chan Fellowship in Echocardiography. This fellowship honours the Kaufmans’ wishes to transform their legacy gift so that it would have greater impact on research and education in the field of cardiac medicine.

The Kaufmans’ gift also had significant impact on the Heart Institute’s new building, slated for completion in March of 2018. Their gift contributed to the purchase of highly specialized medical equipment, and to development and outfitting of patient-focused care facilities such as the unique and innovative Hybrid Operating Room.

The Kaufmans were academics – Hy held Ph.D.s in Mathematics and Physics while Sylvia’s Ph.D. was in Chemistry – who also shared a deep love and appreciation for art in all forms: music, poetry, painting and more. Four paintings created by the couple, two each by Hy and Sylvia, now adorn the walls of the Kaufman Training Centre at Hillel Lodge, yet another example of the Kaufman’s commitment to leaving a legacy in and for their community.

Both Hy and Sylvia displayed their humanity by impacting others through education and charitable giving throughout their lives. Hy continued to grow the fund at the Heart Institute in her honour after Sylvia’s passing in 2006 and, following Hy’s passing in 2014, the full extent of their gift was conferred upon the Heart Institute and it is our esteemed honour to continue their legacy.

 

When you leave a legacy gift to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation, you become a member of the Wilbert J. Keon Legacy Society and will become part of providing ongoing support that funds patient care, research, The Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre, the most urgent needs of the Heart Institute, among other initiatives and innovations. Your gift will not only help save and improve the lives of others, but it will help you to leave a lasting legacy you can be proud of. To learn more about including the Heart Institute in your Will, please contact the Legacy Gifts team at 613-696-7251 or wjklegacysoceity@ottawaheart.ca

A Newfoundland couple’s story of strength, compassion, and a new heart.

It is fitting that Donna Connolly hails from Newfoundland, because her strength is like a rock. But even a feisty, determined woman like Donna needed the Heart Institute — and she and her husband Greg urge others across Canada to seek out its services, and to give generously.

On a typical Saturday night, Greg and Donna Connolly sat down to watch Greg’s favourite show, “Mantracker”. After a playful back and forth where Greg mentioned that if he had to watch Donna’s soap operas, she could watch “Mantracker”, the couple laughed, and he turned his head back to the television. Suddenly he heard a loud gasp, “it was like a seal”, Greg said. He looked over at Donna. “When I looked, she was dead. I was sure.”

“I could feel my heart stop and everything slowly stopped down through my body, and I remember falling back, and I don’t remember anything after that, until I was on the ambulance stretcher”, said Donna.  “Then I heard Greg’s voice.” Donna had a defibrillator and a pacemaker, both of which were inserted 12 years ago as a precaution while she was in St. John’s. “If I didn’t have [the pacemaker/defibrillator] that night I would be in heaven now”, she said.

Donna and her husband Greg came to the Heart Institute a few months ago, so that Donna could benefit from a heart transplant. Having suffered for years from heart failure, broken bones due to blackouts, shortness of breath, and heavy coughing, Donna’s heart was at 18% capacity when a doctor in her home province of Newfoundland broke the news to her. “My darling, you’re a lot lower than that”, Donna recalled the doctor saying. “I have to tell you something, and it’s not very nice to tell you, but I don’t give you a year to live.” He told her she needed a heart transplant.

Within three weeks, Greg and Donna had found a temporary home  in Ottawa, and meeting with Dr. Davies and Dr. Yip for a full workup. By the time they arrived, Donna’s heart capacity had dropped to 9%, and she was added to the transplant list. During this time, Greg couldn’t help but think, “I came up here, and I figured I was going home alone.”

While waiting for a donor heart that was the proper size and matched her blood type, Donna continued to experience the blackouts she had suffered from for years. One night she fell. “My leg went underneath me, and I broke the tib and the fib (tibia and fibula) — both at the ankle”, Donna said. After being rushed to the emergency room, Donna was told that they wouldn’t be able to operate because her heart was too weak. They cast her leg and her recovery lasted over two months, during which time she couldn’t sit or bear weight. Due to the cast on her leg, she came off the transplant list. Donna wondered if she would “get through this”, but with constant check-ins from Jackie Grenon and other Heart Institute staff, she began to feel hopeful. Eventually, Donna’s cast changed to a walking boot, and she was placed back on the transplant list.

A week later, the Connollys got the call. “I was sitting there one evening and the phone rang, it was the nurse practitioner and she said, ‘We have a heart for you, can you come?’ I was there in 15 minutes — I washed my hair first — you can’t go out without your hair washed!” Donna’s strength is matched only by her fun-loving nature, and her deep love for her husband, Greg. The Connollys are exactly what you would expect of a couple in love from Newfoundland — friendly, down-to-earth, and humble.

After a long delay, as the donor’s family was not yet ready to let go of their loved one, a team retrieved the heart and it was time for Donna’s surgery. All of her nervousness went away when she met the anaesthesiologist who would prepare her for surgery. Dr. Sohmer’s jokes about Newfoundland relaxed her immediately. Due to this rapport, Donna ended up with the nickname “Madonna the Newfie”, and promised Dr. Sohmer and her surgeon, Dr. Boodwhani that she would gift them each with a bottle of screech after her surgery.

The Connollys were amazed by the compassionate care provided by the staff, and the humanity they were shown.  Donna sums it up, “well, if you ever met anybody in your life, that could take you from dead to living, it was Dr. Ben Sohmer.”

When Donna was admitted to surgery, her heart capacity had plunged to 7% and it was estimated that she had two hours to live. “They said it was the worst heart they had ever seen”, said Donna, “they didn’t know how it was beating.”

Before the surgery, her kidneys were starting to fail and she says she could actually smell her own heart rotting from the inside. “My heart was enlarged three times as big as it should have been, because it was beating so hard, it was enlarging itself, and the right side was doing the work for both”, said Donna.

Although she had been experiencing signs of heart failure for over 19 years, Donna was not sent to the Heart Institute until the situation was dire. Now she and Greg agree that it should have been sooner. Greg urged, “People have to know that this is available. They have to say to their doctor — what about the Heart Institute? Can you get me up there? Do I need to go up there? The main thing is — ask questions.” Donna agrees, “and you have to complain — it’s something I didn’t do — I was never a complainer.”

The couple may not agree on television shows, but one thing they agree on wholeheartedly is the impact the Heart Institute made on their lives: “The Heart Institute was just fantastic. They were with us every step of the way. It was unreal”, said Greg.

“Oh my God, the treatment I got, was like second to none”, added Donna. “It was like from the time I got in the door, till I came out the door — it was unbelievable.”

“I never saw care, or was given care, like I was given here”, Donna professed. “If I won the lottery today, they would get half of what I won. Because they deserve it. ” Greg added that they truly felt seen and heard by all of the staff, and not treated like a number. When Donna’s surgeon, Dr. Boodwhani called Greg after her surgery, Greg was impressed: “when he called me after surgery, he didn’t just say, she made it, and that’s it — he took the time to talk to me. He had time for me.”

The excellent care did not stop with the doctors. “The nurses have compassion for you — they feel. They’re not just there to do a job”, said Greg.  “They’re angels.” echoed Donna.  “I can’t get over how kind they were to me.” Greg added: “they also looked after me — not only did they look after her, but they never forgot about me.”

“I take my hat off to them, I really do. I can’t thank them enough, even down to the lady who came into the room to clean up”, said Greg. Both Donna and Greg struggle to find the words to truly thank The Heart Institute. “I can’t give back enough to say thank you — for what they gave us”, said Donna.

“They gave me life.”

“They gave us life”, Greg added.

In addition to the doctors, nurses, and staff at The Heart Institute, it goes without saying that Donna’s heart transplant would not have been possible without her donor. “Whoever gave me the chance at a second life — God bless them, because I pray for their soul every night”, she said. Donna credits her faith, strength, and relationship with her husband for helping her through this experience. “I thank God for my faith — next is my strength”, she said. “Even though I went through all that, I never once thought I wasn’t going to make it.”

Donna’s message for others who may be facing what she went through is to think positively: “Don’t ever give up because if you give up — you’re finished. Fight to the bitter end.” She adds,It was my faith, my strength, and my better half here — he was with me 100% of the way. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner if I could invent one.”

The Heart Institute’s Urgent Equipment Needs: How Our Community is Stepping Up

On January 5, 2015, shovels broke ground on the largest expansion in the history of the Heart Institute.  Fast forward 2.5 years and the building frame, walls, and windows are up which means that 145,000 sq feet of new operating space is nearing completion.  As teams of doctors and nurses prepare for the big move in April 2018, the community is doing everything they can to make sure that essential life saving tools are waiting for them when they arrive.

Donations by phone, mail, and online continue to demonstrate that the philanthropic spirit is very much alive in Ottawa and the surrounding region.  As the community hears about the Heart Institute’s need for equipment, they are responding as only the people of this region would – generously and from the heart.

One man in particular, Jack Keyes, has gone above and beyond to help ensure the doctors and nurses have the vital equipment they need to treat thousands of patients each year.  Jack, a life-long resident of Gananoque, was first introduced to the Heart Institute when his brother, Richard, was a heart patient.  Grateful for the care Richard received and witnessing the care given to so many other patients, Jack decided that he would purchase a new piece of equipment for the Heart Institute each year.

In 2016/2017 alone, the Heart Institute received more than 220,000 patient visits. Jack knows the impact equipment can have for those patients and how crucial these purchases are for the new clinical tower.  This year, Jack gave an incredible $100,000 for the Heart Institute to buy a new Portable Heart Lung System.  These systems, essential to the daily operation of the Institute, monitor important blood parameters including blood oxygen saturation and hemoglobin, as well as arterial and venous blood temperature- essentially these machines are like a guardian angel watching over each patient.  When asked what he hopes his generosity will accomplish, Jack responds, “My chief priority is ensuring the new building is equipped to save as many lives as possible.  Second, I hope my contributions will inspire others to give back as well.”

Although the new clinical tower is nearing completion, this is not where the story ends. In fact, it is after April 2018 when the true work will begin. Thanks to donors like Jack, the Heart Institute is on a path to success. However, there is still much more that needs to be done, so that when the doors open and the lights go on, the Heart Institute is ready for the next chapter.

With just a few months to go, the excitement is palpable – for both staff and the community. With visionary leaders like Jack giving transformational gifts we know that the community is stepping up in a big way.

“We make a living by what we get, but make a life by what we give”. – Winston Churchill

Peter (Petros) Foustanellas

We are saddened by the passing of Mr. Peter (Petros) Foustanellas, one of the Heart Institute’s greatest and most generous friends. His unwavering support has inspired many in our community and can be seen in the legacy he leaves us with here at the Heart Institute.  In giving his name to our state-of-art auditorium, our life-saving cardiac surgery suite, and to the creation of a lectureship in his name, Mr. Foustanellas has made lasting contributions that will stand the test of time.

We will forever be grateful for his support, and for his friendship. On behalf of the entire Heart Institute Family, our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones.

 

February WAS Heart Month 2017

February is Heart Month and it provided an amazing opportunity to bring people together to raise awareness – and essential funds – for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Our sincere thanks to our sponsors, community champions, partners, event organizers and participants, volunteers, and donors.

Wrap Up Image eblast

Our new building – the Heart Institute’s first major expansion since its founding more than 40 years ago – will be completed in early 2018. This expansion will allow the Heart Institute to address patient needs for the long term, treating more patients on an ongoing basis with an increased focus on specialized cardiac needs. As the building nears completion, our focus is on purchasing the highly specialized equipment it will require.

Thank you for supporting the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation. Your generosity goes straight to the heart of care in your community because we simply couldn’t do what we do, without you!