How Your Donation Helps Us Help Wildlife
Building a Legacy for the Comox Valley
The MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre is a non-profit organization run by four paid employees and roughly a 100 volunteers, about 40 of whom are active at any one time. The unpaid MARS board members set the agenda, the paid employees ensure the day-to-day is taken care of, while our dedicated volunteers do the majority of the heavy-lifting.
It currently costs about $200,000/year to operate MARS on behalf of injured, ill or orphaned animals and birds in the Comox Valley and we are proud to say that 99 cents of every dollar we receive goes directly to wildlife care. The rest goes to wildlife education and outreach, office administration, maintenance and property costs like rent.
It’s important to point out that MARS does not have stable funding. We aren’t a business so there aren’t any profits, we rely exclusively on fundraising initiatives and the generosity of our valued benefactors. So thank you in advance for taking the time to consider giving MARS a much-needed helping hand. It is because of you that we can help sick, injured or orphaned patients.
How Can You Help?
In general there are lots of ways the public can help us, but because the act of giving is a personal process we’ve tried to come up with a range of gifting options that appeal to different tastes.
- Cash donations are a popular, easy and essential way of getting involved.You can send MARS a cheque or you can click on the “Donate Now” button above to donate online. The process takes less than 5 minutes. We can also take charge card contributions over the phone at 250-337-2021. MARS particularly appreciates people who choose to donate monthly because it makes it easier for us to budget for wildlife needs over longer periods.
- Sponsor a Raptor for one month for $150. You will receive a certificate of sponsorship suitable from Framing. Give One as a gift or for yourself.
- Sponsor an Ambassador.This program allows donors to provide food for animals and birds on a monthly basis.
- Leave a legacy for MARS when they pass away or their loved ones elect to have donations given to us in lieu of flowers.
- Include a charitable gift in your will. A bequest to a charity can bring tax savings for your estate. Contact your financial advisor about ways that you can create a lasting legacy for wildlife.
- Make MARS the beneficiary of your life insurance policy or donate the life insurance policy during your lifetime and receive a charitable tax receipt for the cash surrender value of the policy.
- Name MARS as the beneficiary of your RRSP or RRIF. There is no need to change your will when renaming a beneficiary to an insurance policy or RRSP/RRIF.
- Set up a living trust, known as a “charitable remainder trust” of cash assets and receive a charitable receipt for your donation. During your lifetime any interest, income or dividends will be paid to you as taxable income but, upon your death, the assets in the trust go to the charity you have chosen.
- Make a gift of residential property to a charity like MARS and retain the right to use the property during your lifetime or for a specified period.
- Donate stock, mutual funds or securities. You do not have to pay capital gains tax on these investments when they are donated to a charity
The New MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre
On top of the annual budget, MARS fundraisers were presented with another challenge in 2016-2017: raising $1.5 million for the new MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre. This larger facility with greater capacity was the dream of founder Mary Jane “Maj” Birch who died in 2015. Maj and her family friend Michele Woodrow bequeathed more than $500,000 to MARS to help provide the impetus for the wildlife rescue centre.
Recently MARS launched a capital campaign to fund the vital infrastructure; a wildlife hospital, a visitor/discovery centre, a large bird flight pen, bird and animal recovery buildings and pens, resident ambassador bird aviaries, a wetlands area and a deer enclosure. So far MARS has managed to raise about a million dollars through various levels of government, generous corporate partners like Interfor and extraordinary endowments from individuals like Comox Valley home-owner, Sharron Lewis. Monies from these sources have helped pay for the new wildlife hospital which is now open and receiving patients although it is not entirely finished.
However, we still desperately need funding for other key elements of the rescue centre. So the finish line is definitely in sight, we just need a final crucial push to get us there.
A Special Mention About the Gift-in-Kind
One method of gifting we often forget to mention, but could not do with out, is the gift-in-kind. Building materials, labour, food for birds and animals, computer hosting, veterinarian expenses, caregiving and office administration are just some of the many areas where the gift of giving need not be cash. In fact, many of our most loyal and dedicated donors are local individuals, businesses and organizations who just show up at MARS with a pile of lumber or a freezer full of salmon. For example, local businesses Houle Electric and construction company BP2 have provided MARS with labour, materials, skills, and expertise for the construction of the new MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre facility.
You cannot plan for these selfless acts of kindness, but they are invaluable. Maj would have been proud to know that the new MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre is first and foremost a community initiative, a wildlife rescue centre being built by the community for the community.
You can learn more about all of these amazing people, companies, corporate sponsors, bequeathers, endowers and gifters-in-kind through their compelling stories in the right-hand margin.
Finally we’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has already donated to MARS. We couldn’t have made it this far without you.
MARS began its historic journey with Mary Jane Birch and her love for wildlife, but because of your ongoing generosity and support MARS now belongs to the Comox Valley community.
Your Support is Appreciated
Thank you for any support you are able to offer MARS.
We hope you will become a member and join
us in our work to help wildlife.