Proud Funding: Don and Heather Boonstra

Don & Heather Boonstra Family Fund puts families first

There are few things more important to Don and Heather Boonstra than family. As parents to three university-aged children, the couple has spent the better part of the last two decades supporting their kids’ healthy development and success.

But in addition to family ties, the Boonstras are deeply passionate about the value of community. So when the topic of estate planning came up last year, their two most important priorities were clear.

“We felt it was important to not only take care of our own children but also our community. That’s something that Heather and I are very much aligned on, and something we’ve believed in for years,” says Don.

As the executive director of Fort Saskatchewan’s Families First Society, Heather had recently completed Edmonton Community Foundation’s Endowment Sustainability Program. She was already acutely aware of the need for sustainable funding and, through the program, she discovered how simple setting up an endowment fund could be.

“What I learned was that opening a fund is more achievable than many people might think,” she says. “I came out of the program really excited to set up one of our own, because I know just how vulnerable non-profits with limited revenue are to funding cuts and fluctuations. Opening a fund from our family was our way of providing some extra assurance for the future.”

The Boonstras chose to start off by having the fund support the Families First Society, but plan to grow the fund to include other organizations over time. Doing so gave them a way to offer sustained support to an organization they’re passionate about as well as demonstrate their commitment to friends, family and neighbours.

“It’s a way of showing how important we think Families First is in our community,” says Heather.

Ultimately, Don and Heather are confident their decision will help further instill the value of  philanthropy in their children.

“A big part of the value of setting it up now is that we’re modelling this behaviour for our kids. They’ve already got a strong social conscience and they’ve grown up around these kinds of efforts,” says Don. “This is just taking it one step further.”