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Symbiosis: a way to give that benefits you and your congregation

By making a gift of securities, one woman was able to reduce her income tax while helping others.

By United Church of Canada Foundation Staff

This story has been sponsored by the United Church of Canada Foundation.


Symbiosis: a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups. A perfect example: reducing your income tax while benefiting others.

Shirley Dodds moved to Regina in 1973 from Lethbridge, Alta. She began attending Wesley United Church because her brother was a member there. Over time, Shirley joined the choir and the hand bell choir as well as a variety of committees. Most recently, she co-organized Wesley’s Christmas Market. Now that she is 80, Shirley has stepped away from some of the leadership roles but is still a committed and regular attendee at Wesley.

 A few years ago, Shirley’s life changed when her husband died. She explains, “After my husband passed away and the estate was finalized, and his investments became mine, I found I was paying more income tax than the two of us had paid together.”

Together, Shirley and a few other widows formed a group which visited their members of parliament, wrote letters, and even presented a resolution at the Superannuated Teachers of Saskatchewan’s annual general meeting asking that the income tax for seniors be reviewed and amended—all to no avail.

Then, thanks to a presentation by Kathryn Hofley, the United Church Stewardship & Gifts Officer for the Prairie Regions, Shirley discovered that she could make a charitable donation using stocks and mutual funds.

After Kathryn’s presentation, Shirley got the necessary form from the congregation’s treasurer and worked with her financial advisor to make the first transfer of shares. While both Shirley and her advisor were a bit wary about this new kind of transaction, it went smoothly and Shirley has been making gifts of securities ever since.  

“Now instead of writing a cheque to make my annual gift to the church, I arrange, with the help of my financial advisor, to transfer mutual fund units,” Shirley says.

When you redeem stocks or mutual funds from your investments in this way, you don’t have to pay the capital gains. Shirley feels that “charitable donations are the best way to reduce one’s income tax while helping others at the same time.”


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