Donor Story: A gift of an investment continues family ties to the Red Cross

Topics: Our Impact on the Ground, Philanthropy News
Canadian Red Cross | February 09, 2016

Ms. Marjorie Putt, Canadian Red Cross donor

For Ms. Marjorie Putt, the Canadian Red Cross has always felt like a part of the family. Here, Ms. Putt tells us about her family’s extensive history of volunteering and supporting the Red Cross and why, at the age of 95, making a major financial donation to Canadian Red Cross is important to her and her family.

Canadian Red Cross: Can you describe the connection the Canadian Red Cross has to your family’s history?

Ms. Marjorie Putt: Yes, both my parents worked hard during the Second World War. Mum worked with the group that made quilts and they did knitting of socks for the people in the bombed-out shelters in England. I think they worked together twice a week and also individually almost all the time from home.

I grew up in a little town between Saskatoon and North Battleford. My father was a school inspector in northern Saskatchewan who was really opening up schools. When I look at the map, in the old days, we thought it was very far north. But now, it is far south! In the 1940s, during the war, my father used to work for the Red Cross, he collected funds as a volunteer.

CRC: So, you’re the second generation helping the Red Cross?

MP: Yes. I’d say so. I think that’s natural. When I hear about a crisis, so often I hear the first ones there are the Red Cross. Just like Lac Mégantic. They’re taking money and using it wisely so that when an event like this happens, they have something to go on. When the Lac Mégantic crisis hit, they couldn’t wait to raise money. They had to have it ahead of time.

CRC: Is that why you choose to support the Red Cross?

MP: Definitely! The Red Cross needs to be ready when an emergency happens – there’s no time to wait when people need help. That’s why donating outside of big disasters is important. Donations like mine let the Red Cross get to work as quickly as possible. And with every crisis, there is always help needed for a long time afterwards. So funds are also needed then.

CRC: You seem very engaged with what’s going on in the world.

MP: I think I’m a bit of a news junkie. I follow politics quite closely as well. I was a teacher before I was married. I remember I even thought about studying law once. There were only one or two women so I wouldn’t do it. I also did some substitute teaching while raising our five children.

CRC: Did you and your husband pass on your charitable ways onto them?

MP: Oh. I think so. My husband always wanted to help people. He was an agricultural scientist and he always worked for the government. He didn’t want to work for a private company, he wanted to help people. He was a plant pathologist and agronomist and assisted in agricultural projects in the third world.

He also fundraised for different causes, including the Canadian Red Cross. And it’s rather strange. I’m not good at that at all but he was. And I used to ask him how he can do it and he said: “I’m not doing it for me.”

CRC: Where are your children now?

MP: I have three sons, one is out in Winnipeg, one in British Columbia and one in Rome. I also have two daughters, one in Philadelphia and one here in Montreal. I have been here 10 years.

CRC: And they supported your decision to make a major gift to the Canadian Red Cross?

MP: Oh yes. It’s a good idea to do what I did in my own interests. My accountant showed me how making a gift of my investments instead of the cash eliminates the capital gains tax on that money. All I had to do was transfer the investments in kind to the Canadian Red Cross.

I’m not wealthy, but I chose to give a gift because I thought the Red Cross should have it now. It was money that I was not using.

CRC: Why is it important for Canadians to support the Red Cross?

Unfortunately, we don’t know how long we are going to live. We don’t know how sick we are going to be. We are very lucky in Canada. There are many people in this world who are very needy and catastrophes happen every day. And a good organization like the Red Cross has to be ready to help people in need when these terrible things happen.

Making Gifts of Stocks or Securities

The Canadian Red Cross gratefully receives gifts in the form of securities such as stocks and mutual funds. These securities must be transferred first to the Red Cross, not cashed in, to receive the tax benefits.

Learn more about supporting the life-saving work of the Canadian Red Cross with a gift of securities.

This interview was edited and condensed.