I have updated and added a new section to this previous post. Be sure to check out the section on How to Get Started and a new section on Donor-Assisted Funds. I have come across this relatively new way to donate that makes life and giving all the easier. Go GSD.

Avid readers of this blog and website will know that I am a big fan of and regular donor to Room to Read.

I have written quite a bit about the huge accomplishments of co-founders, Erin Ganju, John Wood and Dinesh Shrestha. And there will be more to come in future posts.

I received an email, a little while ago, from Erin Ganju. Her email was warm and touching. I liked that.

Here is a short excerpt from Erin’s email.

It is your compassion that has helped empower millions of children to re-write their story; through life skills lessons Tamanna in India gained the confidence to insist that she be able to continue her education when her parents wanted to marry her off at the age of 16. In Vietnam, you inspired Nhut to read to his little brother, Tu, seeding his foundation for a lifetime of learning 

Little by little, line by line, we wrote Room to Read’s story together. It is a tale that began with books delivered on the back of a yak and has grown to benefit over 23 million children so far. Where we go from here depends on you.  

I invite you to consider investing in the future of children’s education by including Room to Read in your legacy giving plans. Writing Room to Read into your will is one of the simplest and most impactful ways to protect every child’s right to learn. 

I liked how Erin included short poignant stories of how children, families and communities can be helped in powerful ways.


My wife and I have been researching the charities we want to leave money to in our wills. We have a strong interest in education for children, all across the world. We already donate monthly to Room to Read and it is on our short list for our wills.

We have also been reading up on the best ways to leave money to family as well as the causes we care about.

Many people worry that there may not be enough money to go around. This concern prompts them to leave all of their assets to their children and loved ones. This makes sense , of course.

After a little more reading, however, we realized that there are taxes to be considered. Some of the money left in our wills may go to the government, whether we want that to happen or not.

When you choose to leave money to charities, often that money can help reduce your taxes. In this way, money donated to charities in your will can go where you want it to. We like to have as much control as we can over our current lives and our legacies.


It can be overwhelming to figure out all of these details.

That is why many charities will help you figure it all out. In Erin’s email above, she included a link which can help you breakdown your decisions into bite-size pieces. Of course, your lawyer or financial advisor would be happy to do that too.

One simple strategy, that I like, is to think about donating a small percentage of your estate to start with. You don’t have to figure out how much your estate is worth or calculate how much to give each important person in your life.

You can start by leaving a small percentage, say 1 or 5 percent of your estate, to a charity you admire. A simple note to your lawyer or an addition to your will can make this happen.

Now you have a start. And this can be changed or added to at any time.

You have become part of the solution. Small donations, or percentages, can help in big ways.


Maybe you have wondered about starting your own charitable foundation. This used to be reserved for people with a lot of money to donate. But now more and more people, even with modest means, choose this route for their charitable giving.

Google can show you how to set up a private or public foundation. And show you the rules and tax implications, that apply wherever you live.

A simpler and cheaper way is to set up your own charitable fund – a donor-assisted fund. You can do this with the help of a Community Foundation. Most cities have Community Foundations. There is no need to hire an accountant or lawyer. You can set up your own fund within this Community Foundation and give it whatever name you choose. Then you can donate to this fund you set up, within the larger foundation, and make donations to any registered charity. And you will receive the same tax benefits.

Some foundations will also allow you to use your own investment adviser. This is what appealed to my wife and I. Usually, there will be some build-up of money in your fund, before you have made your donations. We liked the idea of having control of how this money is invested, until donations are made. We chose to use a company called Benefaction Foundation (a Canadian company), who will work with our adviser at CIBC Wood Gundy.

A donor-assisted fund also makes it easy to leave some money to charity in your will.


Most charities would appreciate hearing about your gift to them, even if it is left in your will. But, this does not have to be your first step. You can do this whenever you wish or you can keep it as your secret. Either way it will be a big step and will warm your heart.

Until next time, let our warm hearts soar!



And thank you for caring that little bit extra – it really makes a big difference.

Image from Room to Read - Thank you

“Education is the only thing that cannot be taken away. It is the key to fulfilling my dreams.”
Girls’ Education Program Participant

Room to Read Nepal