Giving: A family legacy

Jan 6, 2014

One of our lawyers, Richard McNevin, was recently featured in an article in Financial Planner published by Queen's University.

Read the full story below:

A shared commitment to be engaged in their community – not passively sitting on the sidelines has been the driving force behind the charitable giving of Joy (Pecore, Artsci ’80) and Richard McNevin (Artsci ’80, Law ’83).

“While charitable giving is often done in the context of giving back, Joy and I focus more on the belief of engagement through giving; that philanthropy is not purely a spectator sport but can be more active with directed or specific purposes,” says Richard. “Our views on giving have been shaped by a number of events,” says Joy. “These include my role as a development officer for different organizations, including Queen’s, and Richard’s law practice, which while focused on servicing the corporate and governance needs of large, privately owned real estate companies, all seemed to have founders with a very keen understanding of philanthropy.” A program at Harvard Business School, which Richard attended at the request of a client, helped him understand the overlap of advising successful family businesses and integrating philanthropy as a core value. Understanding the importance of opportunity and how to best provide this for others is at the heart of the Kingston couple’s philanthropic philosophy. Both were fortunate to be able to attend Queen’s University and took full advantage of their years there. Upon graduating, their careers led them to Toronto – Joy in advertising and Richard in law – and the focus for them then was on building their careers. When the chance arose to return to Kingston (Richard’s hometown), with their young daughter, MacKenzie, they accepted it eagerly, and soon had reconnected with the Kingston and Queen’s communities.

It was on their return to Kingston that the importance of community involvement, something learned from both sets of parents, became fully apparent to the young couple. “We combined Joy’s hands-on knowledge from working within the charitable giving sector with my experience of integrating philanthropy within business and succession planning for clients,” says Richard. This provided them with guidance in structuring their own charitable giving. The fact that their parents had been committed to their own communities, volunteering both time and money, also helped shape Joy and Richard’s views, which they hope will be adopted by their daughter as well.

“When my mother (Marion Vine, B.N. Sc. ’50) arranged a large legacy gift to Queen’s in her Will, which developed into the Marion E. McNevin Award in Nursing, that led to a broader discussion of philanthropy with my siblings as to what additional estate planning we could do for our parents,” says Richard. “This resulted in a gift to the City of Kingston to commemorate the fountain in Springer Market Square – one of Canada’s oldest public markets –in the name of our father, Douglas A. McNevin.”

The McNevins credit the Gift Planning Office at Queen’s for providing great assistance in the formation of the bursary and its terms of reference. ”They made the process easy and we have found this to be a very satisfying undertaking,” Richard attests. “It is something we both take great comfort in and derive satisfaction from every day,” adds Joy. “I was blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law and I know she would take great pride in knowing that through this bursary she has provided the opportunity for first-year nursing students, who might otherwise have not been able to make ends meet when they started their career at Queen’s School of Nursing.”

“Being back in Kingston has let me re-connect with the law school,” offered Richard. “I have taken the time to get to know the Dean, Bill Flanagan, and we make sure we touch base from time to time. He has done an amazing job in enhancing not only the reputation of the law school but also the building itself. While Macdonald Hall had a quirkiness that I liked while I was a student, it just could not compete in today’s environment and Bill knew that. The ongoing improvements to the school are a testament to his commitment to making the law school one of the best in Canada, a commitment I greatly respect, and I have been happy to donate in support of its capital campaign.”

Joy adds, “Richard and I have never looked at our giving to Queen’s or to any of the other causes we strongly support as a one-time event. Staying true to our belief in engagement, to giving others an opportunity that may not otherwise be offered, is a lifetime commitment.”

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