How legacies can help spread the word long after we are gone

USPG Finance & Resources Director, Ben Kuevidjen, spoke to us about why legacy income is so important to the charity.

“Legacy income is very important, it has always been a part of our income, though over the years it has been dropping. For the last 25 years, we have had approximately 15-25 per cent of our income, year-on-year, coming from legacies, so the total amount is between £500,000-£1million every year. But legacies are sporadic in nature and can’t be predicted.

“We have a big endowment fund that we manage, and the majority of the funds in that portfolio came from historic legacies. So that money continues to yield dividends for us year-on-year. On the whole, legacies are very important to us,” he said.

Legacy income has become an even more important part of USPG’sincome because the majority of recent legacies are unrestricted,which means they can go towards the general fund. This enables USPG to support innovative programmes throughout the Anglican Communion.

The majority of people who leave money for USPG happen to be former missionaries and staff of USPG, and naturally, Ben explains, if they serve in a particular part of the world, they would want to leave their legacy to fund a project in that part of the world.

Generally someone is more likely to leave a legacy if they have had some involvement with the charity in their life, Ben explains.“That lasting gift will continue to influence other people’s lives across the globe.

“People have left legacies in memory of their loved ones. A family in 1913 left a legacy in memory of a young boy who died from tuberculosis… The reasons are many.

“The Church is a main outlet for telling people about the legacies scheme. It is a very crowded marketplace out there but we don’t see it as a competition; if it touches your heart to give to us, fine.”

Without legacies, some of USPG’s programmes could not be funded at all.In Tanzania for instance, a project that is helping to prevent HIV from being transmitted to unborn babies is solely funded from legacy funds.

The Prevention of Mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) Programme in Chamwino District, DodomaRegion, funded by the Dorothy Meadows legacy, was implemented by the Anglican Church of Tanzania, to reduce HIV/AIDS new infections, morbidity and mortality related to HIV, and mother-to-child transmission of HIV to their infants.

The programme is reducing mother-to-child HIV infection and providing improved maternal, newborn and child health survival in the context of HIV as well as improving the uptake of PMTCT services (Counselling, Testing, Antiretroviral Drugs, care during pregnancy, labour, delivery and breastfeeding/nutrition).

This work includes family planning services and improving antenatal attendance, health facility delivery and maternal child survival.

Every baby born to an HIV-positive mother in the programme so far has been HIV-free. One mother said: “We can live again! We have our lives back!”

Over the past three years, the project reached 6,283 women of childbearing age, 4,720 men and 7,200 infants directly. Indirectly it reached more than 200,000 members of the community with health education messages on HIV/AIDS and PMTCT, to the extent that all infants born to HIV-positive mothers are HIV negative – that’s 190 babies.

There is also a 78 per cent improvement in couples visiting the health facility, compared to zero per cent at the beginning of the intervention.

Another project is being funded from the money left by supporters of former missionaries with the specific aim of building a Bible school for the churches.

The legacy left by Esther Poole Hughes’ legacy and Evelyn Cann for the building of the Milo Christian Centre in the Diocese of South West Tanganyika, Tanzania,has funded the renovation of five existing buildings (three Classrooms, a toilet and a mission house).

It has also paid for the building of a retreat centre, dining room, kitchen and office to upgrade the existing Bible School to Milo Christian Centre.

The vision is to expand this College to a higher standard so that it can offer different courses at diploma and certificate levels and also be able to conduct different short courses like priests’ refresher courses, evangelism, entrepreneur skills, Sunday school teaching and Catechist courses.

The Centre will also be used as a retreat centre for priests from the diocese and even from other dioceses. The diocese will advertise this centre more widely so that others are aware of the centre and the services it offers to the public at large. The government can also use the centre for meetings and seminars and provide much-needed income to the diocese.

The Esther Poole Hughes legacy is funding a retreat centre in the Diocese of Southern Highlands to serve religious leaders, lay and secular people, young people and development practitioners. The centre has 11 rooms with capacity to accommodate 22 people (two per room) while the hall/dining room with a nearby kitchen can accommodate 50 people at one time.

The project will bring enhanced visibility to the church, serve the community at a cheaper rate, and improve the livelihoods of the people by creating new employment to the local community.

“In Zimbabwe we have a programme on HIV stigmatisation funded from a legacy we received in 1973 from Cicely Mary Barker, famous for the Flower Fairies. She died in 1973 and left USPG a legacy in the form of royalties coming to us from the sale of the Flower Fairy books. We get about £50-70,000 a year coming from those royalties.

“That money goes towards health-related work, so in Zimbabwe that’s what we use to fund the HIV stigma programme,”Ben explains.

“Mary used to attend one of the churches where the work of USPG was regularly spoken about, so she became a supporter for us,” he added.

Barker’s famous Flower Fairies are still raising funds for USPG. The HIV-Related Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Programme Plan for the Anglican Relief and Development in Zimbabwe is contributing significantly to the reduction of stigma and discrimination – from a high of 65.5 per cent (on the Stigma Index study) to about 35.5 per cent, over the past two years.

The programme has reached 70 communities, involving 8,850 people. It has seen 730 people trained in financial education and empowerment, 470 people participating in community saving schemes, formed 10 HIV support groups, 373 church and community leaders trained in HIV stigma mitigation, and the distribution of 2,750 pamphlets, T-shirts and hats.

The HIV-related stigma and discrimination programme aims at reducing stigma and discrimination in the dioceses of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe by improving the association and interaction of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), among the population.

This is done by conducting campaigns and outreach in institutions and public spaces, complemented by audio visual materials and radio programmes.

The project also supports and facilitates peer educators and community resources persons in their efforts to reach out to PLWHA while at the same time strengthening the Support Group model and Home Based Care for the critically ill clients. Sports events and World AIDS Day commemorations are also used to enhance interaction and association.

The project also aims to increase knowledge of basic facts of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination around modes of transmissions, misconceptions, retrogressive cultural practices, drivers of stigma and barriers to behaviour change.

The intervention will also use advocacy to lobby for policy changes especially workplace HIV policy and recruitment agencies that demand candidates disclose their HIV status. The project team will also participate in HIV-related forums.

“We had a legacy where a former missionary left us her house with a life tenant, her close friend. The tenant lived there until she was around 103, and every year we had to find a way of finding out if she was still alive. The only way we could do that is to send her a birthday card every year, and if we had a response then we knew she was alive. We did that until 2016, when she passed away, and then we were able to sell the house.

“We had a legacy of World War 1 letters gifted to us. It doesn’t have to be in the form of money. We’ve also had music manuscripts left to us.Another was a trust fund set up after World War 1 with a donation from the grieving parents of a young dispatch rider killed in action on the Western Front.”

Another legacy-funded project includes theCommunity Health Programme in the Church of the Province of Myanmar.The overall aim is to improve the health status of communities in rural areas across six regions: Hpa-an, Sittwe, Mandalay, Myitkyina, Toungoo and Yangon.

This will equip Diocesan Health Coordinators with skills in management and leadership to lead the Diocesan Health programme for the long term. The project also aims to equip Village Health Workers and Traditional Birth Assistants in target areas with skills and knowledge to reduce incidents of malaria, diarrhoea and TB, and of healthy lifestyle practices, as well as increasing the capacity to record data on rural communities.

The Church of the Province of Myanmar will implement the Community Health programme through a Provincial Health Coordinator and six Diocesan Health Coordinators who will train and mentor 148 Volunteer Health Workers (VHWs) and 56 Traditional Birth Assistants (TBAs).

The project will provide training and medical equipment such as birthing kits and essential medicines.

These health workers and TBAs are responsible for the monitoring and safe delivery of all births, the identification and treatment of curable infections, vaccinations, and referral of all complex cases to the closest hospital.

In addition, VHW and TBA will conduct multiple workshops within their community to increase public education around prevention measures such as personal hygiene and the link with environmental sanitation, nutrition, and antenatal and postnatal care.

The project will benefit 8,000 people directly and 15,000 indirectly including men, women and children in remote, rural villages.

Another project, the Let My People Go Programme in India, funded by a legacy, is focused on winning equal rights and greater inclusion in India’s economy for Dalits and Adivasis, who are respectively India’s so-called untouchable and tribal peoples.

This programme was set up in 2014 by the Church of North India’s Synodical Board of Social Services (SBSS), with support from USPG. The aim is to encourage and assist disadvantaged communities and congregations – of all faiths – in their ongoing campaign for justice. The programme includes a focus on women’s self-help groups.

For example, in Amritsar Diocese, a women’s group who received training from the church have been able to set up income-generation projects, which means they no longer need to work as farm labourers on minimal wages for exploitative landlords.

The women also learn about their rights and have been able to lobby local government offices to obtain ration cards.

New figures for 2017/18 reveal that as a result of the project, 660 individual latrines have been built; 70 new or repaired drinking water facilities have been provided; 3,468 children are now going to school regularly, and 85 households are engaged in alternative livelihood activities.

“It’s a difficult subject but we know that once we come to the end of our lives we have to go somewhere,” Ben explains.

“Leaving a legacy for USPG would mean you are giving a very lasting gift to our world church family and your gift would provide vital healthcare resources for communities. That legacy lives on forever, impacting people’s lives many, many years after you have gone.”

One benefactor who left USPG a legacy said she did so because the charity ‘is prepared to rise to face challenges, willing to change to meet the needs of a changing world, and concerned to ensure that all funds are properly administered’.She called these‘essential factors for any donor to consider’.

“The people USPG serves around the world are central to its work. A legacy to USPG will help to give these people a self-sustaining future. And to play our part in this is what we have been called to do by our Lord Jesus,” she commented.

Another benefactor, said:“My motive was out of gratitude for the wonderful experience of the world church that USPG gave me when sending me to Ethiopia all those years ago [as a missionary] and their exemplary care for my wife when she was flown home for an operation and after-care. USPG is a good thing!”

If you would like more information, would like to arrange for a USPG representative to speak at your church, or would like to leave a legacy for USPG, please contact Ben Kuevidjen, Finance & Resources Director, atBenk@uspg.org.uk or telephone 020 7921 2206.