It's a common enough desire to make the world a better place for one's descendants, but Betty Bonnington went one step further – she included provisions in her will for changing the fortunes of those in need.
Ms. Bonnington was born in Saskatchewan and moved to West Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband Ken in 1957. Although the couple had no children, they shared their life with an extended family and many friends. And through her brother and his wife, Ms. Bonnington was kept informed about the work of the Salvation Army and its services for the marginalized people in her community.
In addition to leaving gifts for her family and friends, Ms. Bonnington's will included the Salvation Army. This made her one of the many Canadians who contributed to the estate gifts received by the Salvation Army, which last year alone amounted to $52-million.
Upon her death in 2013, Ms. Bonnington's gift was divided into three separate categories, says Kathy Mannas, planned giving representative for the Salvation Army's legacy giving program.
Betty Bonnington's will included a generous gift to the Salvation Army. Supplied
"The first one was an undesignated gift applied to the Salvation Army's programs where the need was greatest. The second gift was designated to programs on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast to help purchase a new building," Ms. Mannas explains. "The third allocation of Betty's estate gift was used to replace two dilapidated outdoor signs at the Salvation Army in North Vancouver."
She believes that Ms. Bonnington would be pleased with the new illuminated signs that point the way to the North Vancouver facility. "Passers-by are popping into the centre for the first time to seek assistance with mental health challenges, food programs and addiction treatment referrals," she says. "Some local residents have entered to volunteer to help, and others have inquired about the Sunday church service."
Would Ms. Bonnington have guessed the impact of her gift when she planned her estate eight years ago? "She would be beaming with pride," says Ms. Mannas.
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