Charity receives $1 million donation from anonymous bequest

Date: Oct 17, 2011

The power of the estate planning process was brought into the spotlight on October 10 after it was announced that a youth charity would be the recipient of a $1 million bequest.

Non-profit group Life Without Barriers was left the generous amount by an anonymous party in their will.

The organisation provides a range of services across Australia, including housing the needy and providing community-based services for mental health patients and educational aids to under-privileged children.

It currently enjoys the support of over 3,000 employees, contractors and volunteers and runs 85 support centres around the country - with members priding themselves on the culturally sensitive approach taken by the range of programs on offer.

However, because the group is run on a not-for-profit basis, it does not charge for its services and relies heavily on the generous nature of the community it supports to keep providing its valuable services.

The $1 million bequest could give the organisation a number of opportunities - leaving director Jane Longbottom quite thankful to the anonymous donor.

She said that a camp run by Life Without Barriers that gives Aboriginal foster children the chance to gain a solid understanding of their culture and history has been marked to receive a bulk of the funds.

"It's very difficult to find Aboriginal foster carers so a lot of Aboriginal young people are placed with non-Aboriginal carers so it's all the more important to be able to give them experience of their culture," said Longbottom.

"To have a sense of connection to their culture and their land and history really helps give them a strong sense of who they are and positivity about being Aboriginal."

Children who participate in the program will live in a traditional setting and be able to learn more about their heritage through the arts and cultural practices as taught by the Aboriginal elders who take part in the course.

Philanthropic acts like this can really make a difference to charities that focus efforts on assisting the local community.

While these generous donations are typically well received by the wider public, family members and loved ones should be consulted before a will and testament is finalised.

In this way, generous bequests can still be made while taking into account the financial situations of dependents - potentially reducing the chances of an estate dispute being launched.