The Latest

Supporter Spotlight: Peter from Calgary on Leaving a Legacy

July 23, 2021

How did you first hear about Room to Read and why did you connect with the organization’s mission? 

About 15 years ago I happened to be at a conference where John Wood presented on Room to Read. I was stunned how one man could be such a catalyst for such a profound and healthy change in so many countries for so many children.

My wife and I, as healthcare professionals, have had a long-standing desire in our personal lives to make the biggest difference we can in as many people’s lives as possible. The Room to Read model touched us because it identifies children, especially girls, who are unable to access libraries and get a quality education. Our research has found that when you try to even the balance between genders educationally it has a profound effect on villages, communities and even countries.

We like that Room to Read has very little administrative costs and is focused on hiring locally and developing their programming to adapt to the cultures and languages of the communities where they work.

Last but not least, we appreciate that Room to Read partners with local communities and governments to ensure the sustainability and scalability of their programs, meaning our dollar goes further to teach even more children how to read and empower girls to reach their full potential.  

You visited our work in Sri Lanka. Can you share a bit about that experience and the impact of seeing the work you support in person? 

We had an opportunity to discuss the work closely with Room to Read staff and social mobilizers, who are providing on-the-ground educational and psycho-social support for girls. It was the combination of meaningful cultural and professional representation that left us with a feeling of deep confidence that our monies had been well invested.

What motivated you to make a gift to Room to Read in your will? 

My wife and I are modestly healthy and have enough to take care of ourselves and our children. That left us with a question – what could we do with the resources we’ve been so lucky to achieve in our lives to allow us to have a positive echo going forward? We decided to select the causes that were most important to us to be beneficiaries of our estate. It is a gift of generosity from us connected to all the kindness and opportunities we’ve had in Canada through our family, our professions, and the land we live on. For us, it’s a natural choice to pay it forward to young women in low-income communities who simply need a leg up.

Why would you recommend others consider planned giving? 

Committing a legacy gift to Room to Read is not a flashy way to end one’s life. There are no parades, there are no children giving you bouquets, nor will you be written up in the society papers. Rather, it’s a chance to spread seeds of opportunity, hope and resilience far and wide in ways that can never be quantified, yet will create positive waves for generations.

What do you think would happen if Room to Read was not around to support literacy and girls’ education in low-income communities?  

The immediate consequences would affect those directly impacted as young women lacking support would be forced to drop out of school and children would reach third grade without ever learning to read. 

In the long-term, the consequences of the disempowerment of young girls have been well-documented to be disastrous for society. It leaves a void in the hearts and souls of young women and allows them to be far more vulnerable to abuses and injustices. Without educated women there are fewer educated children and the cycle of illiteracy and poverty continues, unbroken.

Feel free to add anything else you’d like to share.  

As John Wood said in his book, “World change starts with educated children.” With our legacy commitment, we also hope to change the world in our own way. We’re confident that thanks to our legacy investment, young women will have more of a twinkle in their eye and a lighter laugh as they have more opportunities to walk as equals. In removing the barriers to education, the space opens up for healthier relationships, fulfilling careers, better physical health and simply joy.


Leaving a legacy gift is easy. Click here for a step-by-step guide.

If you are considering making a legacy gift to Room to Read and would like to connect with Peter to discuss this decision, please email