Alice Kennedy has a long history of being involved in the community.
A former elementary school teacher who was named Langley’s Senior of the Year in 2011, the dynamic 80-year-old can’t volunteer as much as she used to due to COVID-19 restrictions, but her passion for her community is obvious. She continues to volunteer at a blood donor clinic and donates blood regularly.
Born in Alberta, she moved with her family to a small, 40-acre dairy farm in South Langley when she was still very young, attending elementary and high school in Langley before graduating from Langley Secondary School and switching to the University of British Columbia, where she earned a teaching degree. She taught briefly in Surrey, and for many years in Langley.
After meeting her husband George, the couple moved to a house in Langley, where they started their family.
“My first son was born at the old Langley hospital,” she says.
“And my second - three-and-a-half years later (in 1967) - was born in the new hospital.”
Her eldest son, Scott, is now deputy fire chief for Langley City and her youngest, Brent, is now Chair of Anesthesiology in Northern Ontario.
It was her youngest son who first prompted Kennedy to think about donating to Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation, after she spoke to him shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic escalated worldwide in March of last year.
“When COVID started, my son told me they didn’t have enough PPE (personal protective equipment), I couldn’t believe it – he intubates people. All hospital staff should be properly protected,” she says.
“So I donated $1,000 to his hospital towards PPE and thought, I have to do the same for my community, for Langley Memorial.”
That got Kennedy thinking about some of her investments, so she met with her financial advisor, to discuss donating to Langley Memorial Hospital through gifts of securities.
Having always felt a close connection with the community and the hospital, Kennedy spoke to Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation staff about how she could best donate certain securities in kind, examples of which include shares, mutual funds, interest in related segregated funds, government bonds and more.
To encourage charitable giving, the government provides a tax credit when people donate to a registered charity. A further tax benefit is provided if they donate securities directly to the charity.
“It was very easy,” Kennedy says, noting that the tax credit that it generates makes it a win-win situation.
She generously donated $32,000 to the Foundation, earmarked for a bladder scanner (her late husband, George, had bladder cancer) and a vein finder, in memory of her friend Jean Gregson, who was the oldest living person with cystic fibrosis before sadly passing at 77 years old.
“Finding Jean’s veins was always a challenge,” Kennedy says, noting she hopes the new scanner will help patients with similar problems.
“If anything is left over, I’ve asked them to please put it toward the mental health unit at LMH - I have a lot of compassion for people with mental health issues,” she says, noting that much of her volunteer work over the years has taught her a lot about how a little kindness and compassion can go a long way to help.
A longtime Langley Seniors Resource Centre volunteer, Kennedy misses being able to volunteer as much as she used to, whether helping students hone their reading skills or with school breakfast programs, the food bank, Christmas Bureau and more.
She also misses being able to travel - summers with her sons and husband were always about camping and exploring - they travelled throughout Canada. In her retirement years she travelled with a friend, annually.
Donating securities was easy and Kennedy encourages anyone who is thinking of donating to the hospital foundation to consider gifts of securities either now or in one’s Will.
“When you live in a community, you should be community-minded,” she says.
“My one prayer for both my boys was ‘Let them be a credit to society’ - and they are. I really believe that supporting your community and being a credit to it is a lifelong commitment.