Building an inclusive community

Children, Youth & Families

Legacy gift aims to leave no one behind.
Charles Tax decided to establish a Field of Interest Fund through a gift in his estate plan.

You’ll never walk alone.’ It’s a song that first appeared in the Broadway musical Carousel, that Jerry Lewis sang to close out his annual telethon for more than four decades, and is the anthem of Liverpool FC and other sports teams across the globe.

It’s a song that unites people. And to Charles Tax, it encapsulates the importance of building community and giving everyone a fair chance.

“We must provide opportunities for disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals to fully participate and excel in the general community,” he says. “Our motto must be, ‘You’ll never walk alone.”

Mr. Tax’s younger sister Susan was born with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that is characterized by developmental delays and learning challenges, alongside a highly social personality and an affinity for music.

Ms. Tax has received a lot of support from the community over the years, including working for ImagineAbility – which employs individuals with intellectual disabilities – for 47 years. Since 2005, she has lived in Shalom Residences, which provides community-based homes for residents with intellectual disabilities.

This experience has greatly influenced Mr. Tax’s outlook.

“Because of my sister, we’ve been a beneficiary of the wonderful services available in the community,” he says. “The community has done so much for her that we must give back.”

Mr. Tax has served on the Board for Shalom Residences since 2005, and recently completed two terms as President. Since 2012 he has also served on the Board of the Shalom Residences Foundation, the fundraising arm for Shalom Residences. He also served on the board of Continuity Care, amongst other community involvement.

The mantra ‘You’ll never walk alone’ took on new meaning for Mr. Tax following a trip to the United

Kingdom a few years ago. He took Susan to England to celebrate her 60th birthday, and they toured Anfield Stadium, home of Liverpool FC.

“When you watch a game, in a big game when [Liverpool is] playing an archrival like Manchester United or their city neighbours Everton, they all sing in unison, the whole stadium.”

“Because of my sister, we’ve been a beneficiary of the wonderful services available in the community. We must give back.”

Charles Tax, Legacy Circle member

Anfield Stadium holds more than 54,000 people and the community that is built through song is inspiring – and respected by soccer teams across the world.

“‘You’ll never walk alone’ – it’s important,” Mr. Tax says. “We’re no better than the weakest links in our community. We must get them involved, so we’ve got to support them. They have to feel they’re part of the community. And we must be inclusive.”

After their trip, Charles and Susan worked together so Susan could sing that song at a fundraising dinner hosted by Shalom Residences Foundation.

“One year we surprised everybody, we rehearsed it. She sang the 12-line song and got an instantaneous standing ovation from dentists, doctors, lawyers, judges.”

Mr. Tax lectured in accounting at the University of Manitoba on and off for 30 years, retiring in 2005. He received the Dr. and Mrs. H.H. Saunderson Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Manitoba in 1999.

As he was thinking about his legacy, he knew he wanted to ensure all young people are given an opportunity to succeed.

“Youth is the City’s most important asset; its future. Young people need good role models, positive experiences and a comforting environment.”

He decided to establish a Field of Interest Fund at The Foundation through a gift in his estate plan. His fund will provide young people from at-risk communities with recreational and cultural opportunities. For example, he’d love to see young people playing in a soccer league and afterwards sitting down to share a meal with the other teams.

“The whole community benefits, not just those individuals.” Mr. Tax believes endowments are the key to building a permanent legacy.

“If you want to do something that’s lasting, you have to go the legacy route. I think it’s the best way. Even a larger, one-time donation doesn’t have the same permanence.”

This story is featured in the Summer 2018 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

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