Giving Is For Today – Summer 2018

By Victoria Emslie and Charis Whitbourne

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NICOLA WEALTH MANAGEMENT HAS ALWAYS STRIVED to be an active member of our communities, both locally and internationally — not only as a company but also in how we facilitate our staff and clients’ philanthropic goals. This newsletter is intended to inspire the culture of giving through sharing client stories and highlighting charities and causes. Collectively, we maximize the impact of our individual efforts and initiate change.



David and Alison Bentall

Our clients are as PASSIONATE about MAKING CHANGE as we are. Meet one of our clients and hear their story.

From an early age, charitable giving was important in the life of David Bentall, previous President and CEO of Dominion Construction. His grandfather, Charles, who the Bentall Centre in Vancouver is named after, and his father Clark, both modeled for him a life of generosity and community involvement. To this day, David and his wife Alison support many organizations that are close to their hearts and work to motivate the next generation to continue giving.


How did your grandfather and father influence your thinking about charitable giving?


My grandfather was a generous man. He was very successful in his career but his priorities for his financial resources were growing the company, looking after his family and helping others.

He was a life-time Kiwanis Club member, as well as an active participant in his local church where he was also a Sunday School teacher. Consequently, he was motivated to provide financial support to initiatives related to these organizations.  Growing up, my Dad and Mom also taught me the importance of giving regularly; every Sunday at church my Dad would press a couple of quarters into my hand so that I could get into the habit of giving.


It sounds like you had a lot of strong influences in your life starting at a young age. Can you tell us more?


Yes, I want to share a story about Dr. Ben Gullison, founder of Operation Eyesight.

The first time I was inspired to make a charitable donation was when I was 12 years old. Dr. Ben visited our church and told us how he, as a young man had heard the call of God, to take his experience and training as an eye surgeon, and travel to India to establish mobile eye clinics.

Performing cataract surgeries throughout the country, often in remote villages, he explained that for just $20 I could give the priceless gift of sight to another human being. How could I not help out!? Here was a man who was making a real difference and I wanted to do my part to help.


Were there any other people who influenced you in a significant way?


Yes, I had a very memorable conversation with Jim Pattison when he visited our home for a Christmas party when I was just a teenager. I heard my Dad and Jim talking about tithing. Jim was reminiscing about how hard it had been to donate $12.50 per month to the Church, when he was only earning $125.00 per month.  However, he went on to explain that as he earned more, this discipline, which he had established decades earlier, now enabled him to give away much larger amounts, because it had become a habit.

After hearing my Dad and Jim discuss the subject that night, I was encouraged to set up a separate tithing account at the bank.  Automatically, for over 40 years Alison and I have arranged to have 10% of our earnings, automatically deposited, on a monthly basis into our tithing account. This gives us the capacity to give regularly to organizations that matter to us, and to other special projects as they come to our attention.

Furthermore, following the example of one of our friends, when we turned 50 we started annually increasing the percentage of our earnings that we were designating for charitable purposes.


What are some charities that you are most passionate about?


The three charities I am most passionate about all have someone I know and trust behind the organization and I believe they are worthy of support. They are:

  1. Hope International:

    Their mission is to help the poorest of the poor and they do this often by providing clean water (which helps people with their health and growing their own crops, all leading their communities to be more self-sustainable). I served on the board of Hope for 6 years, and I trust David McKenzie and his team to use the resources raised to make a difference.

  2. Barnabas Family Ministries:

    This is an organization founded by my cousin Rob and his wife Kathy over 25 years ago. Their purpose is to strengthen and encourage families through the vehicle of Christian camping.  Alison & I have attended numerous of their camps with our kids, and have seen the true impact of their work. We have also been able to help with the construction of several of their buildings (including their very first structure named the Carriage House, which our company pre-fabricated in Vancouver prior to being barged up to Keats Island for a good ol’ fashion barn raising).

  3. Operation Eyesight:

    Established by Dr. Ben Gullison has now given the precious gift of sight to over 500,000 people. (all because of the vision and dedication of its founder).


It’s great to hear that there are so many charities you are not only passionate about, but have been involved with for many years. What is your ongoing plan? What does your legacy look like?


We have a small family foundation which was funded primarily by a gift from my parents, and in which Alison and I have added to over the years. Starting last year, we invited our adult children and their spouses to be involved in helping us prioritize what our giving would focus on. Going forward, our desire is to encourage them to give out of their own earnings by matching through the foundation what they choose to give.

In the future, our estate will be divided equally between our four naturally born children up to a pre-planned amount. Anything over and above that will be divided five ways with the fifth share being our family foundation.


Speaking of your children, how have you engaged your children in philanthropy?


When our kids were younger, we taught them to count using their weekly allowance and three mason jars. Each week we helped them to divide their allowance between spending, saving and giving. They were each given an opportunity to spend 80% of their allowance as they chose, with 10% going to giving and 10% going to saving.  We followed a similar pattern even during their university years, when we gave them an allowance (clothes, etc.) which also included a proportional amount for giving, so that they could maintain a habit of giving.


What advice would you give to someone who is considering giving?


DO IT!  As noted earlier, perhaps the best advice I ever received was to set aside 10% of my income automatically, so that every month I would automatically create a capacity to give. This has made it much easier for Alison and me to support the things that matter to us. I also means that we don’t need to choose between consumption and giving on a daily basis.


How has Nicola Wealth supported your philanthropic efforts?


One of the primary functions of a high quality financial advisor, which Nicola Wealth is, is to work towards achieving our objectives. This includes being able to leave a pre-agreed amount to each of our children and also to leave a pre-agreed amount to our family foundation. They have also helped us put in place life insurance strategies and investment strategies to preserve the funding for our family foundation well into the future.


Anything else you would like to add?


A few years ago I was shocked to find out that a person with an annual salary of $25K per annum was in the top 10% of the world in earning income. Even more remarkable, I learned that anyone with $400K in net worth would qualify for the top 1% in the world in wealth. Although these amounts have increased modestly over the last few years, these facts helped me look at the world differently. Every time I think about these statistics, I am reminded to be grateful.

If you are reading this article, you are likely in the top 10% in the world in income, or perhaps in the top 1%. When you think about how fortunate you are, perhaps, like me, you will also want to ask : “what more can I do to help?”



Arts Umbrella

Mission and Purpose

Art changes lives in incredible ways, building self-esteem, nurturing self-confidence, and providing critical creative outlets. Since 1979, Arts Umbrella has strived to be Canada’s leader in arts education for young people through a commitment to innovation, excellence and inclusivity. Arts Umbrella is committed to building strong, vibrant communities and ensuring the life-changing benefits of an arts education are available to all children across Metro Vancouver regardless of their financial, geographical or cultural circumstances.

Since 2015, Nicola Wealth Management has partnered with Arts Umbrella, working together to ensure that the high-quality visual, mixed media and performing arts programs that Arts Umbrella offers can continue to reach the young people who need it most. Most recently, Nicola Wealth Management has taken philanthropic leadership of Arts Umbrella’s annual golf tournament, raising record-breaking funds all of which benefit our community’s youngest artists.

Culture and the arts are essential to the development of our next generation,” says David Sung, President of Nicola Wealth Management. “Arts Umbrella provides both expertise and a supportive environment in which youth are encouraged to advance and express themselves. Arts Umbrella has become a fundamental component of our community. Through financial and other supports, their renowned arts programs enable the Vancouver area’s budding artists to thrive, engage, and collaborate in creative activities.

More than 20,000 young artists access Arts Umbrella programs every year and of those 80% access the arts at no cost to their families through bursaries, scholarships and free community programs. Free workshops for vulnerable schools, bursary programs for over-stretched families, and school performances for elementary audiences are just some of the ways Arts Umbrella removes the barriers to exploring the arts.

The power of an arts education

Research conducted by the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC shows that in various areas of Metro Vancouver between 30-52% of children are considered vulnerable. Poverty, language and cultural barriers, cognitive challenges, family dysfunction, anxiety and isolation are just some of the issues vulnerable children & youth face on a daily basis.

Arts Umbrella’s programs encourage students to use the arts as a safe, welcoming, and non-judgmental outlet to explore and process difficult or troubling emotions that would otherwise be challenging for them to vocalize. Students find community, emotional safety, and self-worth, rather than feeling compelled towards harmful or self-destructive behaviour.

Studies show that vulnerable children who have high levels of arts engagement demonstrate improved school grades and test scores, and higher likelihood of high school graduation, post-secondary educational enrollment, and volunteerism. Arts Umbrella’s programs have been proven to engender self-esteem, proactive, and informed decision-making, imparting essential life skills, and reducing vulnerability factors in their lives.

We see a lot of negative behaviours transform over time into more proactive attitudes. The feeling of belonging, and the simple act of learning how to use specific mediums in a safe environment, do wonders for a child’s growth and self-esteem.” – Arts Umbrella programming assistant

The Nicola Wealth Management Invitational to Benefit Arts Umbrella

The Nicola Wealth Management Invitational to Benefit Arts Umbrella was held on Monday, June 25, 2018 at the picturesque Point Grey Golf & Country Club. A tremendous success, the event raised over $298k in gross proceeds, the highest amount raised ever!

In addition to the Title Sponsorship of the Invitational, Nicola Wealth was proud to support Arts Umbrella’s Bursary Fund with a Leadership gift of $20,000, to help achieve a goal of raising $100,000 to ensure that Arts Umbrella is able to assist families with financial need in providing their children with an arts education.

Donations are still being taken for the Bursary Fund and are 100% tax receiptable. For more information or to make a donation please contact Emily Oswald at [email protected] or by phone at 604 681 5268 ext. 223 or visit

Arts Umbrella and Nicola Wealth Management believe that the arts create a better world. Through exploring their creativity, children become more compassionate, confident, creative and contributing members of our society. Together we are Inspiring kids… for good.



Nicola Wealth Management values the role companies play in making the world a better place. The Nicola Wealth Gives Back Charitable Committee is a board of Nicola Wealth staff, management, and spouses committed to developing and fostering a culture of giving. The Committee acts as facilitators for employees and partners to succeed with their charitable goals thereby giving back to the world in meaningful ways.

Summer 2018 Update

The Nicola Wealth Gives Back Committee has lots of exciting programs on the go and are pleased to give you an update.

We hosted our second annual Wine & Learn on June 28, in which four winners were chosen for a fully paid trip to Ecuador in October 2018 to work with WE on one of their projects that we support! This insight trip is sure to spread the culture of giving back within our firm and we will be sure to share photos and stories from the trip when they return.

Our volunteer team also headed to Richmond on June 21st to invest some physical equity at the Sharing Farm, a community member-run facility growing fresh and healthy produce to feed local families in need.

On June 24 our Nicola Wealth Management for Kids team ran in the Vancouver Scotiabank Half Marathon and 5k in support of Cassie and Friends, an organization working to transform the lives of kids living with juvenile arthritis. Our team raised a total of $23,275 helping to make 2018 their biggest fundraising year yet. So far in 2018 the organization has raised $225,000 and our team in Toronto will also be taking part in the Toronto Marathon in support of Cassie and Friends in October.

On July 7th, we were pleased to donate $3750 to pay for half of a container for the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation. This foundation sends much needed containers of medical supplies to West Africa.

We have also registered our Nicola Wealth team for the Ride to Conquer Cancer event on August 25-26. Participants will be riding from Vancouver to Hope to raise funds for Cancer research. To date, our Nicola Ride To Conquer team has raised over $100,000! If you would like to donate to our Nicola Wealth team, donations are being collected on our team page.

These are just a few of our updates so far this year. Stay tuned for more!