A Legacy to Illustrate a Lifetime of Work
Patricia Pitsula, Ecojustice Legacy Supporter
For as long as I can remember, my family would spend every summer at my grandmother’s farm in northern Saskatchewan. My fondest memories are like a series of vignettes: an abundance of wild berries, intense heat and blue skies, the exhilarating movement and sound of the trees in response to the prairie winds, the birds and wildlife that shared the land, dark purple thunderclouds rolling towards the farm from several miles away and hundreds of crows flying in unison. What I did not appreciate until much later in my adult life was how much it meant to me to protect nature, through a legacy to Ecojustice, so that those precious childhood moments could be preserved for future generations.
I first became aware of Ecojustice, then known as Sierra Legal Defence Fund (SLDF), in 1990 in my capacity as Program Director of The Law Foundation of BC – one of the first funders of Ecojustice. The creation of a charity that used the principled approach of the law to resolve environmental disputes was timely. Even then, Ecojustice impressed me with its ‘get up and go’ approach, which included a commitment to raising funds from individual Canadians to maintain its strong independence and ability to respond quickly to the most urgent environmental issues of our time.
Leaving a gift in my will is my way of making sense of a lifetime of work. Throughout my career, I saw the value that substantial and assured funding has on not-for-profit groups, rather than constantly being in the churn of fundraising from multiple sources. Not having to unduly worry about future support allows a group’s board, staff and volunteers to focus on the mandate and fulfill their strategic visions for addressing systemic barriers to social and environmental justice.
The choice to leave a legacy gift to Ecojustice is also very personal. It feels right to me, probably because of my treasured childhood memories. My parents had a record player which we would use to listen to President John F. Kennedy’s speeches. On June 10, 1963, he told a graduating class that it was important not to be blind to the differences among us, but added, “In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children. And we are all mortal.”