Letters from Santas: May 2016

Do you know what keeps Santas Anonymous busy throughout the year? Follow our “Letters from Santas” series to learn more about the people at the heart of Santas Anonymous, and why we love what we do.

May’s guest writer

Eric Spurling sharpened 2x3 300 dpi sRGB for internetAt Santas Anonymous, our focus is typically on getting your donations to children and families in need as efficiently as we can. But as our programs have grown to support more people in the Greater Victoria, so has our footprint…and our bottom line.

For May’s Letter from Santa, we’ve invited Eric Spurling to talk about opportunities for you to celebrate LEAVE A LEGACY™ Month by supporting the CFAX Santas Anonymous Society.

Eric is the founder of Victoria-based Proline Management Ltd., and has served on the Santas Anonymous board of directors since 2011. He puts his expertise in real estate and business management to use as a member of our finance committee and as chair of our HR committee and legacy committee.

As a community, we are fortunate to have had the CFAX Santas Anonymous Society playing a role in helping children and families in need for some 38 years. For the last couple of years, our Board of Directors has been looking at ways to ensure that this organization will be able to continue helping the community for the next 38 years and beyond.

The Cooper Cann Fund

As an organization and as a Board, we have been proud of the way that the vast majority of the funds raised have been able to be redistributed within the community. Unfortunately, as the need has grown so have the demands for full-time help and assistance. While we have operated for years with one paid employee and some 400 volunteers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain this model.

With this eye to the future, Santas Anonymous has established the Cooper Cann Fund, named after Mel Cooper and Marilyn Cann—the two people who really got Santas Anonymous off the ground at the beginning. This legacy-style fund has been established with a goal to gradually raise sufficient funds such that the annual returns will cover the organization’s basic administrative costs in the future.

At the moment, the Cooper Cann Fund has a balance of $220,000, and our goal is to eventually reach $2,000,000. It is lodged with the Victoria Foundation, which provides strategic support for local charities and assistance to donors in achieving their philanthropic goals. Started in 1936, the Victoria Foundation is one of Canada’s first community foundations and has a strong track record when it comes to returns.

From operating costs to operating space

One of the other challenges the organization faces is having a space to work in. While everyone appreciates the generosity of CFAX 1070 initially (and now Bell Media) in providing a home base for our office, it has been a constant challenge over the years to find the warehouse and workshop space necessary to deliver the Christmas Hamper program.

For the past couple of years, we have benefited from the use of a vacant building provided to us by the District of Saanich. This temporary space has provided stability and enabled us to significantly improve our operations, while reinforcing just how much a permanent space is needed. A year-round home is essential for continued delivery of the Christmas Hamper program, ongoing storage, and the expanding Kidz Helping Kids program.

With this in mind, we have established the CFAX Santas Anonymous Society Building Fund, also through the Victoria Foundation. We now have a balance of $136,000, but there is a long way to go to generate sufficient funds to lease or buy a building—as with most things in life, you need to make a start in order to finish.

Leave a legacy

May is national LEAVE A LEGACY™ Month, and if you’d like to donate to the Cooper Cann Fund or the Building Fund, you can do so via the Victoria Foundation website or by direct donation to Santas Anonymous. You can also discuss a legacy gift as part of your estate planning by contacting our executive director, Christine Hewitt.

Whether you help us today with a donation to one of our funds or in December with donations for children in need, I hope you’ll agree that CFAX Santas Anonymous has a legacy worthy of everyone’s support.

Eric Spurling
Chair of the Santas Anonymous Legacy Committee

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