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The Beauchamp family at their family cottage 34 years ago. Seated below his father, Walter (in the centre), is Bruce Beauchamp, who passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 31. The family came together to build a legacy of strategic philanthropy in his name.


Issue Area:
Health and wellness
Toronto’s Vital Signs Statistic:
Four in ten Torontonians don’t report good health.

In 1988, Bruce Beauchamp died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 31 after 10 years battling the disease. Bruce's parents – Walter and Elinor Beauchamp – and his siblings were devastated to lose their family member at such a young age. But Bruce's valiant fight and his very positive attitude prompted his family to honour his life by creating a fund in his name.

"Our parents turned the initial pain of loss into a memorial to his legacy," says Bruce's brother, Terry. "It was one of the first to be established with the help of Toronto Foundation."

Twenty-eight years after Bruce's death, the fund continues to support worthy charitable organizations. "We have distributed more than $300,000 in Bruce's name to about 100 mostly medical causes," says Terry, "such as the Terry Fox Foundation, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the West Park Healthcare Centre Foundation."

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Today, the torch has been passed along to the second generation of Beauchamps to manage the fund, including Terry, his sister Julie and his wife, Helen, with ongoing support from the Toronto Foundation. "The staff always gives us good advice and they are very easy to work with," says Terry. "They allow us to focus on what matters most: Bruce's memory and the causes."

Recently, Walter Beauchamp Tailors, the 108-year-old family's business, has partnered with Holt Renfrew Men.  In return, the high-end Canadian specialty retailer has agreed to make ongoing contributions to the family's fund. "We now hope to grow it to a new level and support more of Toronto Foundation's innovative initiatives," says Terry.

Issue Area:
Arts and culture
Toronto’s Vital Signs Statistic:
Every dollar the City spends on the nonprofit arts sector generates $8.25 in revenue.

When Paul Butler and Christopher Black realized that their will was woefully out of date, they wanted to revise it in such a way that their beneficiaries would continue receiving their support after their deaths. In their case, the main beneficiary is the Toronto arts community. Instead of hiring a lawyer and an accountant, a friend of theirs suggested they approach Toronto Foundation for help.

"We were impressed to see the research and care they take [at the foundation] to ensure we make the impact we want," says Mr. Butler. "We feel confident about their advice and grateful that they were able to take a lot of work off our shoulders."

A business analyst at the Ontario Arts Council and an advisor to the Canadian offices of Microsoft respectively, Mr. Butler and Mr. Black appreciate the value of the arts on the local economy, as well as the quality of life they bring to communities. "For every dollar invested in the theatre, dance and visual arts," Mr. Butler notes, "the give-back value is threefold."

Their strategy entails funding the larger theatre companies such as the Stratford Festival and the Shaw Festival, as well as the smaller, independent groups such as Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and the Factory Theatre.

"We realize that being an artist is tough," says Mr. Black, "so we're happy to fund those who have a passion for it."

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And on a more personal level, Butler says a well-funded arts community gives them a strong reason to stay in Toronto and love the city even more.

Issue Area:
Toronto’s Vital Signs Statistic:
60% of the Toronto Region population has a post-secondary education.

In June 2009 Sheila Kirpalani and her son, Dr. Anish Kirpalani, a radiologist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, sat down with the advisors at the Toronto Foundation to establish a foundation.

"My mother had been diagnosed with cancer," Dr. Kirpalani says, "and we wanted to honour her legacy by funding issues she was passionate about."

Because his mother was a biology teacher at Central Commerce Collegiate Institute (now Central Toronto Academy), Dr. Kirpalani and his family set up a permanent scholarship fund in biology for financially challenged graduates. A classically trained musician, she also wanted to fund organizations that helped those who specialized in South Asian music education and performance in Toronto, and as well as across Canada. One month after she and her son signed all the paperwork, Sheila Kirpalani passed away.

Since then, Dr. Kirpalani, together with his wife, Pooja, has been administering the fund. This year, they gave another gift to honour Sheila's kindheartedness: Roots of Empathy, an organization that helps schoolchildren develop a sense of emotional literacy to reduce bullying and foster responsibility and caring.

"We made the gift to celebrate our son's first birthday," says Dr. Kirpalani. "Even though our son never met his grandmother, we believe that the foundation will help him feel connected to her. And in the future, we hope he will participate in making decisions on behalf of the foundation as well."

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Read the Vital Signs Report:

Produced by Globe Edge Content Studio. The Globe's editorial department was not involved.

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