Mary Groh has a deep history in the Mennonite community; Waterloo region in particular (Fun fact: her father was the founding principal of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate!), but now in her mid-eighties, she is generously investing in the future.
Mary recently sold her house in Toronto to move closer to family in Kitchener and with the windfall from that sale, she promptly set about finding ways to give it away, including plans to leave MCC a portion in her will.
Mary’s connection to MCC goes back to the early 1960s when she accepted a three-year term with MCC’s Teachers Abroad Program (TAP) in Kenya at a girl’s school. The experience was so worthwhile that she went back for a second three-year term. In the ‘70s MCC provided Mary with a new career opportunity when she joined the Volunteer Service unit at the new Warden Woods Community Centre in Scarborough. She was later hired as a staff member working with seniors, and then in recent years finished her time as a volunteer 2017.
“My impression of MCC is that they do important and necessary work in the world… and I am proud to be a part of it,” she says. “I have confidence in the organization. If you have been blessed by God to have more money than you need, I think it’s a good place to put it.”
As for her reasons for giving generously, her answer is simple.
“It’s the way Christians should act… not just to enrich their own family. You’ve got to think about the people around the world who are in dire straits. I try to live simply. The way the earth is going, we have to cut back. There’s no reason why some should live a lavish lifestyle when some can barely scrape by. I think there’s a sense of justice in sharing.”
“But I’ll probably live to a hundred, so don’t expect much money,” she added with a laugh.
Photo/Sara Cressman and Dave Martin
Sara Cressman and her husband Dave Martin have also included MCC in their estate planning – though having made their will in their early 30s, they are younger than most who are preparing their wills.
Sara says she grew up aware of MCC – making kits and knotting blankets were a regular part of church and youth group activities. Shortly after marrying, the couple applied for a two-year term in Serbia, working at an ethnically diverse theological school based in Novi Sad. Though the work was challenging, “We loved learning about what MCC did internationally and actually seeing it.”
After completing their term and returning to Canada, Sara stayed deeply involved with MCC by serving for six years on the MCC Ontario board as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee.
In setting up their will, Sara and Dave utilized the free services of Abundance Canada, a charitable foundation that advises clients on how to be generous and support their favourite charities. Sara says that leaving MCC a portion of their estate in their will was simply an extension of the giving they do (and plan to do) during their “living years”. She notes that in addition to benefiting the work of a trusted organization, it sets a good example for the next generation. “I think giving is important, and to do that through all aspects of life.”