A cat lover has bequeathed the largest donation the Coquitlam Foundation has ever received to help orphaned felines and connect them with seniors.
Outgoing foundation executive director Dwight Yochim said he was surprised to open up the mail one day to find a copy of a will that gave almost an entire estate — nearly $800,000 — to the foundation to establish the Margaret Susan Price Fund.
Sue Price, who worked for RBC for most of her career, died of cancer in January 2018 at the age of 59. She was survived by her brother and his family, and her cats, Charli and Sydni.
"It was a very pleasant surprise to get be the beneficiary of that kind of estate but we didn't know how much until recently," said Yochim. "This is by far and away the biggest [donation]."
Before she passed away, her lawyer set up up the fund so 60% of the money it earns goes toward organizations that rescue, rehabilitate and find adoptive homes for cats in the Tri-Cities. The other 40% would go to organizations that foster cats to live with willing and able seniors, including boarding for cats during vacations, vet bills, and transportation to and from pet-related appointments.
Although there are no organizations based in the Tri-Cities that fit the bill, Yochim said, organizations in New Westminster and Maple Ridge do carry out that kind of work in the area. He expects the fund will start to accrue enough interest by December for the foundation to distribute money to organizations like them.
"Our role now is to leave it to them to put in a proposal and what it would cost," said Yochim, who noted their investments yield an average of about 6% annually. "I suspect that partnership will go on for quite a while."
Price's donation will bring the foundation's total endowment to just shy of $4 million for the 18 funds it administers, Yochim said.
He added it's nicer if the foundation can get to know an individual before they pass. He's been working with a woman with "life challenges" to develop on a fund for her estate.
"I'm able to meet her and find out her desires and what her wishes are and develop some language that she's comfortable with," said Yochim. "It puts her mind at ease, she knows that part of her estate is taken care of.
"It doesn't need to be in a situation where you're facing those sorts of challenges. It could be 20 years down the line. Usually, when someone approaches us with that sort of discussion, it's on their grounds and it's with their mindset on thinking about the future."
• For more information about the Coquitlam Foundation, go to coquitlamfoundation.com.