The Victoria Foundation is proud to be a part of the national Will Power campaign. This story originally ran in the Nov. 2022 issue of Island Giving in the Times Colonist.
It’s a scene west coast campers are familiar with, torrential rain and a leaking tent. Throw in camping on Mayne Island with your three-year-old and many people would pack up and head home. For Mayne Island resident Vicki Turay, it was motivation to return. “I had to find a roof over my head,” she said.
Turay and her husband, Harold Kasinsky, are now full-time residents on Mayne Island where they regularly enjoy the spectacular outdoors. It’s also why they are giving back, so generations can marvel at the same surroundings.
“Our generation has had a high quality of living and has been able to enjoy the environment,” says Turay. “Now it’s our time to pay it back.”
Turay and Kasinsky started the ‘Peaceful World Vision Fund’ through the Victoria Foundation. Through Kasinsky’s retirement fund, they support many organizations close to them. One of those is Mayne Island Conservancy, which also holds a fund with the Victoria Foundation. The Conservancy is dedicated to preserving the ecology of the island and its surrounding waters for future generations.
Founded in 2003, Mayne Island Conservancy is a grassroots environmental organization. Their work includes caring for land and shorelines, community education and engagement, landholder consultations and more.
“The work staff have done has embedded the conservancy in the mindset of people on this island,” says Robin Walsh, a volunteer board member. Walsh recounts the tremendous support of the community and what they’ve accomplished, including planting over 10,000 native trees and shrubs for habitat restoration work and securing the protection of 68 acres at St. John Point.
“The needs for the work of the Conservancy are as strong as ever. As critical as ever,” says Walsh. “We can only imagine that 10, 20 years from now the work of the Conservancy will be just as vital…our work isn’t going away.”
When Turay reflects on the community of Mayne Island, she doesn’t mince words. “It’s one of the most giving communities out there.” She cites community members hosting art shows in a park, dinners, and raising over $2 million to purchase a parcel of land.
It’s one reason Turay and her husband decided to start their fund, so future generations can enjoy the picturesque trails and ocean views. For years, she has made it her mission to give back, whether that’s volunteering her time or supporting organizations financially. When they set up their fund, they also discussed it with their three children.
“The inheritance is for [our children] and the fourth is for the world,” says Turay. She emphasizes that she believes leaving a portion of their estate to charity isn’t taking from family, but it’s giving them a better world. “Giving to the world is giving to family,” she says.
Helen O’Brian, a board member with Mayne Island Conservancy, says it’s inspiring when a gift is left to their organization. “To hear someone is leaving us a gift in their will, it’s a real vote of confidence.” Mayne Island Conservancy, along with the Victoria Foundation, is part of Will Power, a national initiative to inspire Canadians to leave a gift in their Will to charity while still supporting family. If enough Canadians donated a small percentage of their estate to charity, it could mean as much as $40 billion for causes supporting our communities. When a gift is left, it shows the community “believes in the work we’re doing,” says O’Brian. It’s a gesture that can have impact across generations.
Fast-forward to the present day, and Turay regularly hikes the trails on Mayne Island, many of which are preserved thanks to Mayne Island Conservancy. There’s one bench she regularly visits to pause and meditate as she breathes in the ocean air.
When asked what she would say to those considering leaving a gift in their will, Turay poses a simple question. “Ask them what they would like to see in the world in 30 years.” She’s seen what acts of generosity can accomplish on Mayne Island, so future generations can enjoy their own camping trips, leaky tents and all.
The Victoria Foundation and Will Power
Learn more about leaving a legacy through the Victoria Foundation Legacy Giving and Wills page or willpower.ca/charities/the-victoria-foundation or contact the Victoria Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-381-5532.