Bequests – remember Foundation House in your will
Leaving a bequest to Foundation House in your will is a meaningful way to leave a lasting legacy. Bequests are a clear record of your commitment to the work we do with refugees and asylum seekers.
Long standing Board member and supporter Ian McKenzie, who died in 2014, generously left a bequest to Foundation House which has subsequently been used to establish the Ian McKenzie Endeavour Grant. More information about the IMEG is available here.
A very dear friend of Ian and Louise McKenzie, Julia Steele, has also left a bequest to Foundation House. These are her thoughts about the process:
Writing a Will can be a rewarding experience
I’m not yet in my dotage, but turning seventy has focused my mind, especially as my partner and I are about to embark on an overseas trip. What if something happens to us while we are away?
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been discussing our Wills. After ensuring our family and friends are taken care of, our minds turned to which charities should we bequeath part of our estate?
A few years ago I was introduced to the wonderful work Foundation House has been doing to support survivors of torture. I was lucky enough to visit their head office. Here I witnessed first-hand the dedication and passion of all who worked there. I listened to some of the stories of how their clients begin the long journey of establishing themselves in their new country, a journey made possible because of the many excellent and varied programs Foundation House offer.
Writing my Will was an interesting journey. It raised many questions about the importance of relationships with family and friends. Do I leave more to those members who are less well off? Or less to those members who have not bothered to keep in touch? Should that portion of my Will be shared equally among all members?
With charities it was much easier, or so I thought. I knew I wanted to support charities working in specific areas: education/support of sexual assault survivors; education of Aboriginal young people; refugee resettlement support; support for people of refugee backgrounds who have experienced torture and trauma. After I had carried out a thorough Internet search, based on certain criteria, I decided who I would support.
One of my criteria was that the charities did not spend their income on fancy offices, big salaries, or too many glossy brochures. Another, of course, was corporate governance. I visited the charities of my choice in person, and in all instances found this to be a far more rewarding experience than I had imagined. Here I learned of the passion of staff and volunteers for working for an NGO, the love of witnessing positive change in their clients. I also observed the camaraderie among all levels of staff. And the pride they had in their workplace.
These visits allowed me to make a direct connection with the people who work there. I reflected afterwards that for me, building a relationship was terribly important. It gave me a sense of belonging, and I felt the people I met appreciated that I bothered to take the time to visit, to interact, to show interest.
And I learned in these meetings of the struggle to attract funds, of how many more programs they could run if they had the money. The consistent theme was ‘we would love to support more clients, but…’
I was surprised to hear that few people make bequests in their Wills to our charitable organisations. Although the charities cannot count a bequest as income (and, of course, a Will can be changed at any time), bequests are shown in their Financial Statements, indicating an intention to bequeath.
That intention shows the individual NGO that people have faith in their longevity, and value the work they do to support vulnerable people.
Personally this exercise has brought me an enormous amount of pleasure, and introduced me to some truly remarkable Australians.
Bequeathing part of my estate to charities has been a most rewarding experience.
3 August 2017
If you are considering including a bequest clause in your will, we thank you for your consideration and have suggested wording below.
Should you have any questions or would like to have a confidential discussion about making a bequest, please contact our Finance Department on (03) 9388 0022 or email Your inquiry and privacy will be held in the strictest confidence. It is important for us to know, wherever possible, when bequests to the Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture Inc. have been written into a will. This not only assists us with future planning but enables us to thank you for your intentions before the bequest occurs. If you do include a bequest to the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc. in your will we would be very grateful if you could advise us on (03) 93880022 or to firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggested bequest wording
To donate a percentage of your estate:
“I give to the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc. 4 Gardiner Street, Brunswick, Victoria 3056 (ABN 52 783 974 656), to be used to continue the work of supporting refugees to Australia who have experienced torture and trauma in their country of origin or while fleeing, free of all duties XX% of my residuary estate for which an authorised receipt from VFST Inc. will be a sufficient discharge for the executor(s) or trustee.”
“I give to the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc. 4 Gardiner Street, Brunswick, Victoria 3056 (ABN 52 783 974 656), to be used to continue the work of supporting refugees to Australia who have experienced torture and trauma in their country of origin or while fleeing., free of all duties the whole of the residue of my estate for which an authorised receipt from VFST Inc will be a sufficient discharge for the executor(s) or trustee.”
To donate a specific sum:
“I give to the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc. 4 Gardiner Street, Brunswick, Victoria 3056 (ABN 52 783 974 656), to be used to continue the work of supporting refugees to Australia who have experienced torture and trauma in their country of origin or while fleeing, free of all duties the sum of $XXX for which an authorised receipt from VFST Inc will be a sufficient discharge for the executor(s) or trustee.”