To mark Leave a Legacy Month in Canada, two generous supporters of the Jewish General Hospital explain why they’ve planned legacy gifts – and why others should too

When people think of charitable giving, most imagine the familiar idea of donating money from their wallet or bank account. A lot of good in our society comes from these donations, including many positive changes made possible at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH). But there’s another form of charitable giving that’s also vitally important to the long-term success of institutions such as the JGH: planned or legacy giving. The name says it all. These are donations people arrange in advance and which are received after they are gone. The JGH benefits greatly from such gifts, thanks to the foresight and generosity of legacy donors. We talked to two planned giving donors to the JGH Foundation, as well as to Melissa Margles, the Principal Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving, about why arranging such a gift is important, how it works and who should consider it (spoiler alert: everyone should!).
Randi Flam - Planned giving

Randi Flam


Randi Flam’s connection to the JGH began in the 1970s when she got a job as a hospital lab technician. It has never stopped. She’s had other jobs at the hospital and its research arm, the Lady Davis Institute, and has been a volunteer since she retired. She tended to her ailing mother at the hospital and has been a patient herself. “I’ve been donating to the JGH Foundation since the early 1990s, and I also find out where funds are needed,” she said. “When a doctor happens to tell me he needs a microscope for his research, for example, I make a donation towards it. There are so many small things needed by doctors and staff, and having them can make a big difference to their ability to help patients.” Making a planned gift was a logical extension of her years-long involvement with the JGH Foundation. “I donate every year, I don’t have any children, so it was simply logical to plan a legacy gift to support the JGH.” Now she’s encouraging her friends and others to do likewise. “It’s so easy to arrange and anyone can do it. Small amounts can make a big difference too.”
DONNA LEVY KANE - Planned giving

Donna Levy Kane


Donna Levy Kane’s association with the JGH runs deep – she has been both a patient and a witness to the excellent care that her family members received over the years. As a dedicated donor and volunteer with the JGH Foundation, she served for many years on its Board. Given her extensive involvement with the hospital, she fully appreciates the significance of legacy gifts for the JGH’s future. Donna emphasizes that professionals in investment, estate planning and insurance need to be educated and become aware of planned giving, which would benefit the JGH as well as the donor. She notes that staff at the JGH Foundation can work with these professionals. “Planned giving is crucial to sustain the JGH’s growth and longevity,” she said. “To keep the hospital thriving and alive, planned giving is a major key.”

MELISSA MARGLES  – Principal Director, Major Gifts and Planned Giving, JGH Foundation

“Planned giving is such a simple gesture, but one that has a huge impact as a way for people to continue their generosity to the JGH even after they have gone,” she said. “Best of all, it doesn’t need to be complicated.”
“Planned giving is such a simple gesture, but one that has a huge impact as a way for people to continue their generosity to the JGH even after they have gone.”
The simplest way, she said, is to add a line in one’s will saying a donation of a certain dollar amount or a percentage of the estate should be given to the JGH Foundation. If planned giving donors prefer, they can designate how it should be used. That’s all that needs to be done, though Melissa recommends donors tell key family members about their intentions to avoid surprises later. She is happy to speak to potential donors about their gift or to discuss other ways of planned giving, such as through the donation of stocks or insurance policies. These gifts can be a little more complicated to finalize but the effort is worthwhile for the benefit they bring. A big misconception, she added, is that planned giving is only for the wealthy. As well, many people living on fixed incomes in their later years don’t realize the value of all their assets and think they don’t have anything significant to give. “Every gift of whatever size is important to the hospital and makes a big difference. Many small gifts quickly add up to fund major new equipment or programs.” With just a little planning, anyone can make an important contribution as part of their personal legacy. To learn more about how you can support the Jewish General Hospital with a planned gift, contact Melissa Margles at [email protected]