Planned gifts for York soar to $885,000

Carrie Brodi, communications officer with the York University Foundation, sent the following article to YFile.

Students attending York will be the indirect beneficiaries of $885,000 in planned donations to the University – three gifts of life insurance and three bequests.

The planned gifts range from $75,000 to $275,000 each and were made by former faculty members, York alumni, friends and volunteers. All six donors directed their gifts to an area of the University toward which they feel a personal connection.

Three donors named York University the owner and beneficiary of a new or existing life insurance policy. For a relatively modest, ongoing philanthropic investment, they have created a significant gift that will help secure the future of a specific program or project at York University.

Retired president and CEO of Consumers’ Gas, Robert W. Martin (left), has been an active leader at York for more than a decade, first as a member of York’s Board of Governors, and more recently, on the York University Foundation’s Board of Directors. He and his wife recently made a $150,000 gift of life insurance to York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, which will support student scholarships in a yet-to-be determined area of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

“My wife and I saw a need for student support in the Faculty of Fine Arts, which is a growing centre of excellence,” Martin said. “A planned gift was the most effective way of doing our part.”

Virginia Rock (right), a retired women’s studies professor and a longtime supporter of the University, named York the beneficiary of a new $100,000 life insurance policy. Once realized, the money will inspire further scholarship in the discipline of women’s studies.

“I looked at my resources to determine the best way to give to women’s studies scholarships.” Rock said. “For me, planned giving was a good idea.”

Andrew Roberts, an ex-colonel, now deceased, who fought in WW2, and a graduate of Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies (‘87), prepared his will at the age of 50, naming York University the beneficiary of an existing, $75,000 life insurance policy. The Andrew Roberts Bursary was recently inaugurated at Atkinson, and will benefit a student in need in the 2004 academic year.

Other gifts were made in the form of bequests and mentioned earlier in articles that appeared in YFile.

Engineer and York alumnus Ronald Brash (left) (MBA ’79), designated one-third of his estate ($275,000) to York’s Engineering Department, to provide several deserving students with full tuition. See YFile at


Right: York Professor Joy Cohnstaedt (at left) and Evelyn Rowe, niece and sister-in-law of Harry Rowe, at York’s Honour Court

Because he couldn’t afford to go to university, Harry Rowe made many gifts to York during his lifetime to support students in need. When he died, he left a significant bequest of $185,000 to York in his will as a tribute to his niece, York fine arts Professor Joy Cohnstaedt, asking her to direct the residue of his estate to various new awards in the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Graduate Studies. See YFile at

York geography Professor Glen Frankfurter (left) bestowed a generous legacy on the Department of Geography, with a bequest of $100,000 for promising scholars in Canadian historical, cultural and economic geography. The money will fund the Glen Frankfurter Scholarships, annual awards given to the best graduate students in the program, beginning in the 2004 academic year. See YFile at

A team of planned giving experts at the York University Foundation assists faculty, staff, alumni and friends in directing gifts of life insurance, charitable bequests, real estate, annuities, securities, property and gifts in kind to the University.

Planned giving, also referred to as gift planning, is the process of structuring charitable donations so that the donor achieves his or her philanthropic objectives and maximizes tax and other financial benefits.