Craig and Marc Kielburger founded Free The Children and Me to We. Their biweekly Brain Storm column taps experts and readers for solutions to social issues.
“One of the kindest and most generous friends I’ve known,” one chief executive officer commented.
“His goodness moved us even more than his greatness,” close friend Adam Grant wrote.
When a titan of Silicon Valley’s technology community dies, we expect accolades about his business acumen and accomplishments. But after Dave Goldberg’s death on May 1, his talent and record as the CEO of SurveyMonkey took second place to his legacy as a loving husband, father and friend.
Reading the outpouring of online tributes to Goldberg reminds us that each of us builds our legacy every day. We leave our mark on the world in the way we love our families, care for our friends, treat strangers and pursue issues we are passion about.
Of course, we can also leave a lasting impact in other ways.
Consider the legacy of Lois Lilienstein, who died in late April. As one-third of the legendary children’s group Sharon, Lois & Bram, she contributed her musical gifts and ever-sunny disposition to generations of Canadian children.
Shelley Hunt of Penticton, B.C., donated a kidney late last year to save a six-year-old boy she had just met. “I’m not a doctor or a scientist,” she told us. “But I can save a life.” (Go to organsandtissues.ca to find a living organ donation centre near you.)
Living day to day, it’s easy to lose sight of our sense of meaning, and how we would like to be remembered. Résumés list work skills and professional accomplishments. But it’s worth filling our true curriculum vitae with something bigger.
This week’s question: How can each of us leave behind a lasting impact on the world?
Ruth MacKenzie, executive director, Canadian Association of Gift Planners, Ottawa:
“To make a legacy gift in your will, first talk directly with charities you might want to support. Learn more about what they do, what giving opportunities exist, and how your gift can allow them to continue their work. Then, consult a professional to get advice on the best giving plan for your financial situation and philanthropic goals. Finally, make sure that your family members are aware of your intentions so they can support your wishes.”
Diane Weber Bederman, multifaith chaplain, Toronto:
“The greatest impact we can make on our world is teaching, living and passing down the ethic of caring for strangers and those who are different. We can model [compassion] for our children, family and friends.”
Dot Landis, clinical social worker and author of Creating a Life Legacy, Minneapolis:
“Seek out simple-to-pass-on values and important life lessons to [share with] others. Tell a story, write a letter, give a family heirloom, photo or recipe with an explanation of the meaning behind it.”
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