Don Johnson CAGP gift will build Canadian giving

publication date: Mar 6, 2018
author/source: Ruth MacKenzie

While the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) reached its 25th anniversary this past November, the brand new CAGP Foundation is only one year old as a registered charity. With a mission to financially support the development and promotion of excellence in strategic charitable gift planning in Canada, the CAGP Foundation concluded its first year with the announcement of a transformational gift of $500,000 from Mr. Donald K. Johnson, O.C., LL.D.

Don Johnson is known to many Canadians as a generous philanthropist as well as a tireless advocate for charitable giving. Over two decades ago, Mr. Johnson and hundreds of volunteers across the country lobbied the government to remove the capital gains tax on charitable donations of listed securities. It was reduced by 50% in 1997 and eventually completely eliminated in 2006. Since then, Canadian charities have received over $1 billion in gifts of stock every year.

Mr. Johnson continues to be a persistent voice for a capital gains exemption on the sale of private company shares or real estate when the proceeds of the sale are donated to a charity. It's estimated that this would result in an additional $200 million in charitable donations annually.

CAGP is well known for its distinguished Government Relations Committee and their notable advocacy work, as well as for its outstanding education program. CAGP is a strong voice for tax policy that supports charitable giving in Canada, and it also ensures that fundraisers and professional advisors have the knowledge and skills necessary to support their donors and clients on their philanthropic journey, so that their ways of giving can be tax effective and efficient.

This work strongly aligns with Mr. Johnson's philanthropic values and it was that alignment that inspired him to pledge a gift of $500,000 over 5 years to the CAGP Foundation. Mr. Johnson notes that, "Over the years, CAGP has been a critical and persuasive voice on issues related to incentives for charitable giving, and a leader in providing education to professionals who support Canada's donors in how to give more strategically to maximize impact. This pledge is a strong endorsement of that important work."

This significant gift will enable the CAGP Foundation to gain momentum in their quest to educate Canadians on the opportunities that strategic gift planning provides for donors and for charities. Canada has one of the most generous tax systems in the world when it comes to supporting charitable giving. There is no doubt that giving comes from the heart, but gifts of securities, life insurance or gifts in a will can also provide donors and their families with tax advantages that allow them to give more to charities, with a positive impact on their financial and estate plans. Yet for many donors and charities, the conversation stops at gifts of cash. Don Johnson wants to change that and so does CAGP. They both believe that knowledge is the key to doing so.

Through this gift, the CAGP Foundation plans to expand the accessibility to education and training for fundraisers and for the array of allied professionals who recognize philanthropy as a service their clients are seeking.

Finally, Mr. Johnson is hoping his gift will lead by example, "I invite others to join me in giving generously to the CAGP Foundation so that our vital charities can continue to benefit from their leadership."

CAGP and the CAGP Foundation are enormously grateful for Mr. Johnson's support and generosity. He is a true embodiment of what it means to be a philanthropist, and we invite others to express their appreciation for the tremendous impact he has had, and continues to have, on Canada's charitable sector.

Ruth MacKenzie is the president & CEO of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners. CAGP inspires and educates the people involved in strategic charitable gift planning and is Canada's only professional association that connects fundraisers and professional advisors. They provide donors with innovative ways to achieve their philanthropic dreams. For more information visit

For more information or to support the CAGP Foundation visit

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