A Red Cross legacy of giving to help future generations: Peter and Donna’s story

Peter and Donna Collens, a couple from Newfoundland and Labrador, have an unwavering commitment to giving back and helping the community.

Their Red Cross story began with volunteering their unique skills over many years, and it will continue long into the future thanks to the legacy gift to Red Cross that they have left in their wills.

Volunteering their expertise for a good cause

Like so many Canadians, Peter and Donna first encountered the Canadian Red Cross as teenagers taking swim lessons. In fact, neither one of them remembers a time when the Red Cross wasn’t touching some aspect of their lives.
Peter standing beside Donna with his arm around her shoulders, in front of a blue background“We think that the Red Cross has touched the lives of so many people, whether it be through being in a hurricane or a fire, or through swimming lessons and different things like that.”
When Peter got a call 20 years ago asking if he’d lend some of his tax expertise to the local branch of the Red Cross in Newfoundland and Labrador, both he and Donna quickly volunteered their time. They both knew the Canadian Red Cross had a good reputation, something that would later be reinforced over their years of involvement at the local, provincial and national levels.
As Donna explains, “At first we weren’t aware of all the things that the Canadian Red Cross does, but as we learned about disaster response, medical supplies, and their first aid programs, we became increasingly interested in helping.”

A will to help future generations

The Collens were also impressed by the high level of medical expertise the Canadian Red Cross brings. They were inspired by the opportunity to directly help so many people around the world – and that motivation to give back to others stayed with them through their estate planning process.
As a tax specialist, Peter knew about the financial benefits of leaving a gift in your will. He also knew in his heart that this felt like the right way for them to continue their commitment to global disaster relief. Even after their passing, it would be a way for their values to live on.
“The Red Cross is there. They are there for everyone, every day. We think they will always be there,” Peter shares. “That’s why we left a gift in our wills and why others should too.”
Some people think they need to be wealthy to make a gift to charity in their will. But as Peter and Donna know, this simply isn’t the case. “We’re not rich, we’re not talking about a million-dollar donation or anything like that,” explains Donna. “But we felt that we could spare something. We wanted to leave something to the Red Cross because you never know exactly what the need is going to be at the time.”
“The Canadian Red Cross has touched us deeply, and we’ve been involved for long enough to have immense trust and confidence in the work it does. That’s why it was easy for us to make our own decision to leave a gift in our wills to the Red Cross.”
Thanks to Peter and Donna Collens, their legacy of care and commitment today will continue into the future.
Are you interested in leaving a legacy gift to the Canadian Red Cross in your will? Learn more about legacy giving and download a free will planning guide.
Visit Willpower.ca for free resources on planning a charitable gift in your will.


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