Using her will and a contract with the university, Christine Lengvari and Concordia University hope the advisor’s $1-million planned gift – a testamentary bequest in her will – will showcase two causes close to Lengvari’s heart, and serve as a positive example to those who may be interested in doing the same.

The resulting Christine Lengvari Endowment Fund will support scholarships for female students in the Kenneth Woods Portfolio Management Program, and nutritional research being conducted at Concordia’s new PERFORM Centre.

“I worked with a development officer, the director of development at Concordia. We worked on where I wanted the money to go and I signed a contract that will be included in my will,” says the president and CEO of Lengvari Financial.

“It’s not a life insurance policy, although that obviously is a very good mechanism. Straight from the will also works perfectly.”

Created program

Lengvari first got involved in the school’s planned giving program in the early 2000s when she created it. The effort followed similar work in the late 1990s to establish a planned giving program at St. Mary’s Hospital Centre.

Although she says development officers initially worried that planned giving would take away from annual donations, she says the track record shows people will generally continue giving the same amount. “This is about carving out something in a will. Research shows there is not a negative impact.”

“You can make a planned gift without reducing the amount of money you give to family,” she adds. “The tax man donates to causes . You have the option to make those decisions on your own behalf. You can take that same money and, instead of giving it to the tax man, you can make your choice, and (choose to make) charitable gifts.”

Her involvement with the school stretches back to the mid 1980s, where she began working as co-chair on various committees, before serving as a school governor for nine years.

In addition to other work outside of the university, Lengvari today sits on the board of the Concordia Foundation, and serves as a member of the Kenneth Woods Portfolio Management Program “client committee.”

The program teaches portfolio management to a small group of students each year, using real money. Students must report back about their progress to the program’s client committee.

Since the program’s inception back in 2000, less than 20 per cent of the students in the program have been women. “Some years, there were no women. Most years there was at least one, and sometimes there were two. This year, the graduating class is five women, which is really exciting,” Lengvari says.

Women in business

“I want to promote women, women in business, women in leadership roles,” she adds. “How can we encourage that? Special scholarships for women.”

Her interest in the PERFORM Centre, meanwhile, stems from a long-held interest in nutrition. (Diagnosed with an invasive infection in earlier years, diet became an important part of Lengvari’s cure.)

“Nutrition is an essential part of healthful living. It’s an interest of mine,” she says. “It’s a state of the art research centre and I had the opportunity to visit and find out what they were doing. One of the things they are doing is research in nutrition. I wanted to be involved in that.”