Gail and Bruce Young are big supporters of the Jesuits and other religious groups. Photo by Michael Swan

Giving back, looking forward

By 
  • October 31, 2019

For Gail and Bruce Young a rewarding life isn’t something they can keep to themselves.

Many ways to give

  • Cash and outright gifts: You gift a specified amount of cash and are given a tax receipt for the same amount
  • Bequests: A bequest in a Will is eligible for a tax receipt to your estate. Some of the most common types of bequests are residuary (in which a percentage of your estate is gifted to the Church) and specific (in which a specific dollar amount is gifted for a specific purpose). Seek advice from a lawyer.
  • Endowments: An endowment is a gift made to last. The original capital of the gift is preserved in perpetuity while the income that the capital generates is used to fund charitable programs.
  • Life insurance: As these gifts can be technical, it is necessary to consult a life insurance agent. Depending on how the policy is structured, a donor can elect to receive a tax receipt on an annual basis or wait until after death, in which case the receipt is issued to the estate.
  • Listed securities: A gift of securities can reduce taxes because securities that have appreciated in value and are donated directly to a Canadian charity escape capital gains tax.
  • Gifts of RRSPs and RRIFs: It is possible to donate Registered Retirement Savings Plans and Registered Retirement Income Funds to charity and receive a tax receipt. Great care must be taken as there are tax consequences. You should always consult a financial professional before making this or any other type of estate gift.
  • Gifts of real estate: Real estate is another type of asset that can be donated, but it is important to note that when the property is not eligible for the principal residence exemption (i.e. it is not the primary residence) capital gains are taxable. Donors receive a charitable tax receipt for the fair market value on death.
  • Annuities: An annuity is generally understood as a type of insurance product that pays out an income for a period of time at a rate and amount specified at purchase.
  • Other types of in-kind gifts: These can include fine art, coin and stamp collections, jewellery, valuable sports memorabilia, vehicles, etc. The charity will most likely look to convert the gift into cash. The tax receipt issued will be for the fair market value of the donation (not the insured value). It is important to note that the charity may require an independent appraisal.

“We’ve been very, very blessed over the years. We feel we have to give back. You just can’t carry on and not,” said Gail.

Bruce Young was a judge for 30 years in the Criminal Law Division of the Ontario Provincial Court. Before that he was a crown prosecutor.

“So I’m lucky enough to get two pensions,” Bruce told The Catholic Register in the living room of the senior couple’s modest but elegant apartment on the southern edge of Toronto’s Rosedale neighbourhood.

The downside of the pension cheques is how Canada Revenue Agency takes notice of them.

“I’ve got a significant income tax to pay and one of the ways to reduce your income taxation is to make charitable donations, particularly in capital stocks,” Bruce said.

The Youngs never had children, though Bruce insists, “We’re still working on it.”

Without the expense of educating children, the Youngs have travelled extensively.  But at this point in their lives the focus has shifted to a half-dozen major charities they have been attached to through the years. Most of them are Catholic and thanks to some planning, they will be giving to the charities even after they have passed away.

It all starts with the two downtown Toronto parishes where they attend Church — the Jesuit-run Our Lady of Lourdes and the Basilian-administered St. Basil’s on the campus of the University of St. Michael’s College.

Add on to that regular contributions to the Jesuit causes: 

• Regis College, the pontifical faculty of theology at the University of Toronto;

• Manresa, the Jesuit infirmary in Pickering;

• Jesuit formation because it costs between $25,000 and $33,000 per year over more than a decade to get a Jesuit from novice to priest.

“Generous benefactors like the Youngs support the Jesuits, both financially and with their prayer and service,” said Jesuit advancement director Barry Leidl in an e-mail. “(They) give Jesuits the freedom, flexibility, resources and training to respond to the greatest needs of the Church.”

The Youngs’ attachment to the Jesuits has a lot to do with the 20 months Bruce spent in the novitiate after high school.

“When they discovered what I was really about they said, ‘Thank you, but …’ and they sent me away,” explained Bruce.

Friends he made at the novitiate in 1961, including Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, are still friends today. Gail has caught the Jesuit bug and now serves as a regular volunteer and committee member with the Jesuit advancement office.

The Youngs’ philanthropical interests don’t stop with the Jesuits. After Bruce left the novitiate, he and Gail met as undergraduates at St. Jerome’s University, the Catholic affiliate of the University of Waterloo. Bruce was in the arts program and Gail studied sociology.

In gratitude for their education, the Youngs have been helping out St. Jerome’s for years. Gail served two terms on the St. Jerome’s Board of Governors before moving on to the University of Waterloo Senate and then its board of governors.

That volunteer involvement naturally flowered into the MacDonald-Young Scholarship and Bursary, a fund they set up in 1986 in honour of their parents who helped Gail and Bruce through university.

“When you read some of these letters that the students who got the money write, it’s great satisfaction,” said Gail.

Recently the Youngs stepped in with a special gift for an international student at St. Jerome’s who was on the edge of having to leave university and the country without a degree.

When St. Jerome’s began a renewal and rebuilding campaign in 2015, the Youngs again contributed by financing a 100-seat classroom.

The Youngs make regular contributions to support the Daily TV Mass produced by the National Catholic Broadcasting Council and they are regular donors to Catholic Missions In Canada.

Their generosity also extends to Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind. They’ve visited to witness how the dogs are trained to do everything from answering the phone to opening a fridge. 

The Youngs’ generosity won’t end when they do. They plan to make a few gifts to nieces and nephews before they die, but the charities will benefit from their Wills.

“We have a corporate executor with the TD Bank, which is going to distribute our main amounts of money,” said Bruce. “So we feel like good will continue.”

The plan calls for percentages of the Youngs’ legacy to be paid out over several years after their deaths until it is all dispersed.

There’s nothing random about how the Youngs have chosen their charities. They’ve all sprung from personal contact.

“I think that personal contact is very important for any of these charities,” said Gail.

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