The Colchester Wire
Giving to the greater good
North Shore Area Community Fund contributions better than giving to the tax man
David Stevenson likes to think big.
Granted, the $100,000 invested into the North Shore Area Community Fund (NSACF) he helped create is a nice tidy sum. But he would like to see it exponentially larger.
“We might get into affordable housing a little bit,” he suggests, of one of the concepts he envisions the fund could be used for after it grows some more.
Stevenson, the current chairman of the fund, and his wife Judy were initial contributors along with a few others of their small executive group. The idea for the fund was sparked several years ago following a study co-sponsored by the Colchester United
Way, the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia (CFNS), the Central Nova Women’s Resource Centre and the municipalities of Colchester, Stewiacke and Truro.
That study was designed to measure the vitality of the community and to identify significant trends related to such things as population, food, transportation, housing, safety, health and wellness, arts and culture and a number of other wide-ranging subjects.
It also prompted Stevenson to look around at the various initiatives intended to fulfill community financial shortfalls
“The fund is in the people. It’s not in the money. It’s in the people and the willingness to take care of each other.”
and caused him to think about how much more could be done if the contributions from organizations such as the Community Health Board, the United Way and so forth could be amalgamated.
“So, we started looking at this money and said, wait now, if we kind of coordinated this . . .,” he said.
It also got him thinking about the money some people have sitting in their maturing RRSPs and how it could better be used for the greater community good instead of being subjected to heavy tax lop offs when the money is withdrawn.
“If you take out $50,000, you get taxed,” he said. But if the money were invested into the community fund, the contributor would receive a tax benefit.
“People leave their money to various things, so why not leave it here? … if you don’t need it and you can enjoy the benefits of some of it and know that it’s doing work,” he said.
“And, that wealth, that’s going to be transferred from one generation to another, stays right in this area and the income from it is what gets used for betterment in the community.”
The North Shore Area Community Fund is administered and invested by the CFNS. And while the capital amount remains intact to grow, the income it derives, which currently stands at $4,000 per year, is used to benefit the North Shore community.
But if more people can be convinced to contribute to that capital amount, the annual income would also grow.
“With this kind of fund the capital amount, the amount that gets donated in by people, it stays and keeps building up and it’s only the income that gets spent. So, it is going to go for a long, long time,” he said.
That could be to support a given charitable organization, to ensure the Creamery Square can continue to support the local performing arts centre, or to subsidize affordable housing to maintain the area’s population so it retains a sustainable economic base.
“The fund is in the people. It’s not in the money. It’s in the people and the willingness to take care of each other,” Stevenson said. “Once there’s more income to be used, then the projects can get a little bigger.”
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