A fair world. Social justice.
These ideals inspire the generous giving of Bill Bargeman and Nancy Hawkins, retired teachers and union leaders who established a Donor Advised Fund through Vancity Community Foundation in 2014.
They give and invest their assets the way they live. “It’s the way we were raised. The way we look at the world. The people that we’ve met. And who we are,” says Nancy.
They care deeply about so many things: peace, the environment, international development and reducing poverty. The Nancy Hawkins and Bill Bargeman Fund supports over 40 non-profits, a list spanning the gamut from grassroots to global: Oxfam to Bright Beginnings Foundation, Pivot Legal Society to CoDevelopment Canada (CoDev), where Nancy serves as president of the board, and so many more.
They give more than financial support, because, as Nancy affirms: “you don’t just donate money, you contribute.” Aside from Nancy’s work with CoDev, a non-governmental organization which promotes social change in the Americas, she also leads children’s programs at the Museum of Vancouver. Bill focuses on food security and has been a board member of the East End Food Co-op since 2009.
Always engaged citizens, they first met in the eighties at the Teachers’ Committee on El Salvador, a BC group supporting teachers’ human rights there. Separately, they each put themselves in the line of fire, travelling to the country to act as humanitarian witnesses, where their presence provided a deterrent to violence.
Next, they bumped into each other on their bikes, en route to another meeting and the rest is history. Now at 72 and 66, Bill and Nancy still ride their bikes everywhere, taking their grandchildren age six and two on the trailer. They’re conscientious about their footprint in this world. They make no garbage.
Being members of Vancity Credit Union fit their values and when their Vancity Wealth Advisor Pat Shellard suggested they establish a Donor Advised Fund with the Foundation to streamline their philanthropy, it seems like a natural extension.
“It was a practicality,” says Bill, “as we support so many organizations. Now we get just one receipt from Vancity Community Foundation."
Bill is very impressed with the Foundation’s focus on building sustainable local organizations, where people are assisted in turning things around for themselves, like Megaphone Magazine, which enables people experiencing poverty to earn income by selling the publication.
What started out as a way to efficiently manage their charitable giving evolved into so much more thanks to their relationships with Pat and the Foundation’s Interim Executive Director Allison Felker. “Nancy and Bill are such wonderfully engaged donors,” says Felker. “They are truly partners in investing in positive change, working with our team to focus their giving where they will have the greatest impact.”
This year, Bill and Nancy are exploring impact investing in partnership with the Foundation to help tackle the desperate lack of affordable housing in Metro Vancouver.
“The opportunity for impact investing with Vancity Community Foundation is taking our giving to the next level,” says Bill. “By putting a sizable amount into a single focus we expect to have a real impact.”And the best part: when the impact investment is repaid, they can give it all over again.