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New ways of giving helping Aberdeen Health Foundation meet changing community health needs

Apr 12, 2024

Home 5 News 5 New ways of giving helping Aberdeen Health Foundation meet changing community health needs

New ways of giving helping Aberdeen Health Foundation meet changing community health needs

New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Friday, April 12, 2024


Michelle Ferris remembers the day she received an email from a financial advisor to say that a client had selected Aberdeen Health Foundation as the beneficiary of a grant from a Donor Advised Fund. “Of course, curiosity kicks in, I want to know who had taken these steps to set up a charitable gift that would provide an annual grant and why we were this donor’s chosen charity, says the Foundation’s Executive Director.

That was three years ago, and the Foundation continues to be the beneficiary of this donor’s generosity. With permission, the Foundation was able to make contact to thank the donor personally and learn their reasons for giving.

Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) are a philanthropic giving vehicle that is becoming an increasingly popular way to donate to qualified charities and organizations, such as the Aberdeen Health Foundation. Donating via a DAF allows benefactors to receive an immediate tax deduction, creates the possibility for investment growth on their gift, and helps to streamline the giving process.

Andrew Bradshaw, a Senior Investment Advisor with iA Private Wealth in Antigonish, Nova Scotia specializes in philanthropic financial advice and has achieved the Master Financial Advisor – Philanthropy (MFA-P) designation. In his career, Bradshaw has helped establish many DAFs for his clients, from individuals and families to organizations and businesses.

“The benefactor makes a contribution of assets such as cash, stocks or other appreciating securities and they get an immediate tax deduction,” explains Bradshaw. “The amount that they give tends to have investment growth and grows tax-free over time. The donor makes grant recommendations to one or multiple qualified charitable organizations.”

“It really streamlines the process, so instead of one person managing numerous individual donations and writing out cheques to various organizations, the donor can focus on giving just one gift and then it’s up to the DAF to administer those gifts.”

In most cases, donors can not only select the organization they would like to donate to but can designate their gift to a specific cause in the community. “I’ve had clients who have donated specifically to Aberdeen Hospital’s oncology department, for example,” offers Bradshaw. “One client in particular donated to the Aberdeen Hospital because, as he put it, ‘I was born there, and I’ll probably die there.’ His wife was in care in the oncology department at the time, so that cause was something meaningful for him.

Photo caption: Unrestricted gifts to the Aberdeen Health Foundation enable flexibility over the long-term to respond to the ever-changing needs of the community. One example is the ability of the Foundation to support music therapy, an evidence-based health intervention. Such a program was not available when the Foundation’s medical equipment fund was established in the 1980s, but because of unrestricted gifts, the Foundation has resources to support a program like this today, both in the hospital and in the community. Pictured above is Heather Cameron, Music Therapist for NS Health.

Once the DAF is set up with the initial contribution, donors can contribute to it at any time down the road. “I had another client who had inherited a large family business and wanted to give to charity. She opted to set up a DAF and really enjoyed that she didn’t have to worry about running her own foundation but could still get her daughter involved with it as well. She benefitted from the upfront tax receipt which she was able to apply to the business. What was most important to her was that she got to decide where her money was spent, because otherwise that money would have gone to tax.”

Anyone interested in setting up a DAF should do their due diligence, says Bradshaw. “You want to do your research into who is sponsoring these. Fees are important as well, and clients should educate themselves in tax laws and incentives, which are always evolving. We always recommend working with an advisor to guide you in these decisions.”

It’s also important for donors to consider how engaged they’d like to be with the charities they support. DAF’s provide administrative simplicity and ease but may feel one step removed for some donors, those that want to have a direct relationship with the charity’s work and impact.

“To me, what’s important is that I get to see the enjoyment of my clients spending their money and making a difference now, rather than having their estate pay taxes down the road and having someone else make the decision of where their tax dollars get spent. I think for my clients, it’s impactful that they get that enjoyment.”


“For us,” adds Ferris, “We’re honoured that donors trust and value the governance of our Foundation enough to bestow these types of unrestricted gifts. Donations like these are the best way to ensure the Foundation has means to respond to the ever-changing needs of the community into the future.”


The Aberdeen Health Foundation is the leading charity for enhancing health care in Pictou County. In 2023 the Foundation invested over $2 million to fund medical equipment and enhance health programs at the Aberdeen Hospital and in our community.

Michelle Ferris
Executive Director
Aberdeen Health Foundation

902-752-7600 ext. 4442