Joan Macfarlane Bailin, 1924-2018 (Photo courtesy of Wendy Rimmer)
Her final gift: A legacy that will live on for generations to come
A social worker who dedicated her professional life to helping others, Joan Macfarlane Bailin also put in countless volunteer hours for the causes she held close to her heart. Born in Huntington, Quebec, she lived in Montreal for most of her life, where she focused her involvement on several community organizations. Among these were the Centres d’hébergement de soins de longue durée (CHSLD) Vigi Dollard-des-Ormeaux residence (where she was head of social work for some time and where she and her husband, Albert Bailin, lived until their last days), the Alzheimer Society of Montreal and several environmental organizations. Along with supporting the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) through annual donations since 1993, Joan generously left a final $50,000 bequest in her Will. She left the same value to the Montreal Association for the Blind.
A life of passion, determination and caring
Joan’s legacy continues to touch the lives of those who were lucky enough to know her. Wendy Rimmer, who was Joan’s hairdresser for over 30 years, close friend and executor of her Will, is one such person. Wendy recalls the moment their friendship began to deepen. It was at the CHSLD Vigi in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. “They were serving Christmas dinner for 600 people and she asked me if I would help out, and I did — for quite a few years after that!” says Wendy.
A woman of many passions and endowed with a high IQ (she was a member of Mensa), Joan took up many hobbies aside from volunteer work. From leatherworking to dollhouse making, and from gardening to photography, she left no stone unturned that piqued her curiosity. She was led by her values and inspired others in so doing.
“She loved nature, learning how to do things, and every month, she would sit down and write out 30 donations to different organizations,” explains Wendy, adding how Joan inspired her to think about leaving a planned gift in her own Will.
Like water in a lake
Generous contributions from donors like Joan make it possible for NCC to protect natural areas for future generations, like MacFarlane Woods Nature Reserve in Nova Scotia, a project she supported. Like the 80 Nature Legacy Society members in Quebec and 2,000 across Canada, Joan chose to leave a legacy gift as an expression of the values that were most important to her.
The same way runoff, streams and rainfall pool into a lake, contributions of all types and sizes add up to a larger funding pool that allows NCC to evolve and innovate — vital for facing the challenges of our changing world. For example, our brand-new Nature + Climate Projects Accelerator will leverage private capital to deliver exciting conservation work combined with nature-based solutions to address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. This wouldn’t be possible without funding from private donors.
“We are forever grateful to Joan Macfarlane Bailin for supporting NCC for so many years, and as part of her last wishes. It’s donors like her who keep us going as an organization, who fuel us not only with essential resources but with their passion and commitment. Her spirit will live on in our hearts and minds and through the work we do,” says Kim Nguyen, director of development for the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Quebec.
One of the handful
Wendy compared Joan to the likes of Gravity founder and CEO Dan Price, known for taking a $1-million pay cut to give his company’s employees larger salaries. “If one person alone can change the lives of others, imagine what a handful of people can do and the difference it could make on the planet. Mrs. Bailin was one of the handful. She was willing to give to others,” says Wendy.
Feeling inspired by Joan Macfarlane Bailin? Want to learn more about planned giving? Click here to find out how you can plan your legacy.