Why We Give: Bill Moses
November 20, 2023
7 min read
At the spry age of 83, Bill Moses is a straight-shooter with integrity and wisdom that can only be honed by a lifetime of experience.
Born in Strathroy, Ontario, Bill has always handled his own finances, budgeting, investing and income tax. After spending two decades as a college professor, teaching business and engineering classes, he extended his expertise to politics, serving as finance manager for over a few elections and treasurer for riding associations.
Today, Bill lives in Owen Sound with his beloved wife of 58 years. He generously sat down with us to share why planning is crucial, why he gives, and why the Charitable Impact platform simplifies the path to becoming a more generous Canadian.
Did you grow up with an example of generosity?
My family didn’t have a lot of money, but my father always helped other people, and family came first. When I started university, he took on more secure work and more contracts. He basically worked overtime the whole time I was in school, so when I graduated, I had no debt at all.
I worked during the summers, but he essentially put me through university. And when my two sisters married young, he helped them get started with housing. He was a great one for helping the family.
But you know, there was an expectation that everyone in the family chips in and takes care of each other. When I was 12 or 13, I went to work. I was getting 60 bucks a week unloading boats during tobacco harvest and my dad would take $50 and give me back $10. I look back and appreciate how that shaped me. It was always a communal effort in my family. We were in it together.
Does your career in business and finance play a role in how you choose to give?
I’m sure it does. I sit down to plan and determine my annual giving amount. And when it comes to financial planning, Charitable Impact offers the most straightforward and cost-effective method for donating to charities, plain and simple.
Stocks are a good example. I have stocks that have appreciated, and when you donate this money to a charity, you avoid paying capital gains taxes. So, let’s say I have 100 shares in a company, and I don’t want to donate all 100 shares to a single charity. It’s easy for me to transfer them to Charitable Impact and divvy up the funds however I choose, which saves me money in the end. I don’t have to pay capital gains taxes, and I can benefit from the tax receipt.
Another noteworthy aspect of Charitable Impact is that it benefits both me and the charity. In the past, I had to deal with 15 or 20 tax receipts from various charities I supported. Now, I only receive one tax receipt and the charities I donate to don’t need to issue separate receipts at all because all of that is done by Charitable Impact. Not to mention, when you donate $100 to a charity, that charity receives the full $100, or very close to it, depending on credit card fees.
My son also has an Impact Account, and he’s set up direct deposits, so the budgeted amount automatically transfers into his Impact Account without any additional cost. When special occasions like my birthday or Christmas roll around, my son simply transfers money from his account into ours. It’s fantastic. If you’re ever unsure about what to buy someone for Christmas, you can give them the gift of money to donate to their favourite charity.
Do you and your wife plan your charitable donations together?
Yes, we do. With any partnership, there’s going to be differences of opinion about how much money you should give, but we’ve been married for 58 years. She gives to the cause that makes her feel something. If it’s right there in front of her, she’s ready to give. She’ll see something that will grab her. Whereas I’m more pragmatic and make a plan for how much and where to give. I give it more thought and maybe planning, where she’ll give in response to a feeling.
For instance, she heard that Safe ‘n Sound was collecting sleeping bags and tents for the homeless, so she started going around to garage sales. She’d find things they could use, ask people to donate it or reduce the price, and then take it down to Safe ‘n Sound. She’s more of a hands-on person but probably more generous. It’s hard to quantify that kind of thing.
Why do you choose to give? Why is it important to you?
Well, the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. You know, if you look at other people, other countries, war, starvation, what people have to put up with… I’m sitting here, and I’ve got everything I need and everything I want. They don’t, and maybe never will.
I mean, listening to the news and hearing all the stories… why are some people born into suffering and others into privilege? It seems terribly unfair, doesn’t it? We’re sitting here comfy in our homes, chatting when others are struggling. Makes you wonder.
When I was a kid, you know, there were rich kids and poor kids. I was a poor kid. But the disparity nowadays is 1,000,000% different from the way it was. And I’m not suffering by doing this. Donating, I mean. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I’m not going to run out of money in my retirement. I have a responsibility to lend a hand when and where I can.
What charitable causes are you most passionate about?
I’m interested in nature, so I give money to purchase land that won’t be developed. I donate to the local field naturalist, Ontario Nature Conservancy, places where I know the people and want to support what they’re doing. When I want to donate to support efforts outside of Canada, the main one I choose is usually Doctors Without Borders.
I’m a big supporter of the Big Brother organization as well. I donate, but I also volunteer a couple of hours a week to help teach kids in grades four and five. Big Brother arranges for volunteers like myself to go into public schools and help children learn, using whatever skills volunteers have. For me, I help these kids with math and reading and give them the individual attention that the teacher can’t. I try to make things fun or get them interested in other things.
Last year, on the final day of school, I gathered some silver maple seeds that were coming off the trees now, took some pots in, and got the kids to plant some tree seeds to get them interested. I go every Wednesday, and the other day, one of the boys I work with at the school said to me, “I wish every day was Wednesday.” It brought tears to my eyes. They’re great. They all feel appreciative.
We’re on a mission to explore why people give. Through candid conversations with donors, we’re unearthing stories that ignite compassion and remind us that a single charitable act can create a ripple effect that travels farther than we could ever imagine.
Behind every act of generosity is a story. If you’d like to share yours or nominate someone whose generosity inspires you, reach out to [email protected]