In Featured at HBT, First, renewal

Fundraising for Renewal continues to be a feel good story. To date, we have raised a remarkable $26.7 million – more than any congregation in Canadian history has raised for a synagogue construction project. Following an inspiring High Holy Day season, our phones and emails have been very busy with congregants who have heard and received the “Aleinu” message that the Renewal Project “is upon us” and wish to make their contributions to the Campaign. In 2017 alone, we’ve seen fundraising results of $4.5 million – more than double 2016’s achievement of $2 million raised!

However, there is more work for us to do together. As we reported in our last Renewal Update, our revised budget of $31.5 million (a 7% increase from our previous budget of $29.5 million) was unanimously approved by our Temple Board of Directors in September. This increase is the result of unforeseen site conditions, weather delays greater than anticipated FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment) costs and a few other factors, including delays in the fabrication of the structural steel that is a key milestone on the critical path for the Project.

Related to these same complications and delays, our general contractor Pomerleau has recently revised the completion date for Phase 1 of Renewal to mid-summer, 2018.  As noted in our last Renewal Update, will now use the slower summer period to fine tune, get our systems, processes and programs in order, and move in staff and clergy. All of this, in advance of the 2018 High Holy Days.

We thank all our generous donors thus far and look forward to engaging in conversations with all of our congregants about what a meaningful, even aspirational, contribution might be, for them. These conversations often deal with surprising details surrounding tax advantages and payment over time.

One factor, allowing donors to make donations of ever-greater amounts has come through Canada’s progressive tax rules allowing for the elimination of capital gains on gifts of publicly traded securities. As more and more of our congregants have become aware of these tax benefits, Holy Blossom has seen an exponential increase in members giving directly from their portfolios.

“Many people have benefitted from the strong stock market over the past eight years,” explains David Baskin, Holy Blossom Past President and President of Baskin Wealth Management. “Shares of companies like BCE and the major Canadian banks have all doubled in price. With that profit, however, comes the need to pay capital gains tax upon sale, and that can eat up more than one-quarter of the entire gain. By making a gift of securities, the donor avoids that capital gains tax in full, and still gets a tax credit for the entire value of the gift.”

Increasingly, congregants wishing to contribute are including their financial planners in the giving discussion, with the aim of making their Holy Blossom commitment as tax efficient as possible. Not only do members appreciate the tax advantage but they also often comment on how simple Holy Blossom makes the stock donation process.

“Giving gifts of shares is easy,” says David, who, along with his wife and current Temple President Joan Garson, has very generously pledged $1 million to Renewal. “It’s as simple as filling out a form and sending it to your broker.”

In addition to the simple donation process, David cites another often overlooked benefit of a stock donation. “It’s not only an efficient way to give but it allows the member to hold on to cash which might be otherwise earmarked. For most congregants donating shares, this would be considered a win-win scenario.”

What advice does David have for members considering Holy Blossom as a destination for their giving? “A synagogue is just like a business or a home. If it is not maintained and refreshed over time it will eventually decline until it becomes a shadow of what it was. Our generation had the benefit of what are predecessors did in their time. Now it is our time to step up and do our part to ensure continuity for the generations to come.”

If you wish to begin a conversation about the part you can play in Renewal, please contact our Director of Development Jonathan Ain at [email protected] or 416.789.3291 ext. 249.

Please click here to see the latest photos of Phase 1 construction. And click here to view livestream video from our two on-site cameras.

As always, we thank you for your continued readership, viewership and support (financial and otherwise) of our Renewal Project.

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