50 moments: Visionaries protect Special Olympics BC's financial future

Marnie and Howard Carter
Marnie and Howard Carter

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics this year, we are taking a look back at the #50moments that have defined the Special Olympics movement here in B.C. and throughout the world.

Howard Carter, one of Canada’s most successful and best known automobile dealers, passed away 30 years ago on August 3, 1988. Howard was a true friend of Special Olympics, and his impact was felt from the local level through to the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Canada. He was so inspired and enthusiastic about Special Olympics, that in the last months of his fight with lung cancer, he and his friends started a very important and lasting legacy for Special Olympics BC. They initiated the Howard Carter Fund, an endowment for Special Olympics BC. Today, that fund has grown to a value in excess of one million dollars.

In an endowment, the principal is held in perpetuity, and only the income generated from that fund may be spent. Thus, an endowment provides financial stability, makes long-range planning possible thanks to a predictable stream of income, and protects Special Olympics BC in years when other revenue is reduced. When Howard and his friends started our first endowment fund, what they were really doing was protecting the future of Special Olympics BC by providing a lasting source of revenue. And if that wasn’t enough, they also opened the doors for others to do the same thing by either contributing to the Howard Carter Fund, or to work with Special Olympics BC to initiate a new endowment fund.

On May 31, 2003, Marge McNary, a long-serving volunteer and supporter of Special Olympics BC, passed away. To honour her life and memory, her husband Bob McNary established the Marge McNary Memorial Fund. Family and friends of Marge and Bob have made generous donations to the Fund. With the recent passing of Bob McNary, the family wished to carry on the work Bob did on building this fund. Special Olympics BC renamed the fund the Bob and Marge McNary Fund so that he will join her in this legacy supporting Special Olympics BC and the athletes it serves. This fund has grown to a value in excess of $64,000.

Gordon Walker was a Special Olympics athlete with SOBC – Vancouver for a number of years. His father, Charles Walker, in preparing for Gordon’s future, established a trust fund in Gordon’s name. Sadly, Gordon Walker passed away. In 2012, the Gordon Walker Fund was established with equal bequeaths made from his estate to SOBC and SOBC – Vancouver of $125,000. Now, as a lasting tribute to Gordon, each of these Funds are in excess of $178,000.   

In his decade with the Special Olympics BC Board of Directors, John Sims was a true champion of Special Olympics, and a generous and wholehearted supporter of the goals and ideals of this organization. In recognition of Sims’ dedicated and thoughtful service to SOBC, his friends and associates chose to honour the significant impact he has had on the lives of so many by creating an endowment fund in his name to benefit SOBC. Sims gave generously in a wide variety of ways in order to ensure opportunities and life-changing experiences for Special Olympics athletes. An avid sports enthusiast, Sims was a strong advocate for the cause of Special Olympics athletes receiving the same kinds of training opportunities afforded to other athletes. What better way to honour his work with Special Olympics BC than to create an endowment to support Special Olympics BC health initiatives. The John M. Sims Fund is now in excess of $199,000.

With the establishment of our first endowment fund 30 years ago, people placed great confidence in the future of Special Olympics in B.C., and great importance on the work we do. The Howard Carter Fund, Bob and Marge McNary Fund, Gordon Walker Fund, and the John M. Sims Fund continue to grow, and continue to fund the life-changing opportunities found in Special Olympics. But as importantly, they honour the great impact these individuals had on our association.

If you would like to contribute to one of these funds, or establish an endowment fund to support the future of Special Olympics BC, please contact Dan Howe at dhowe@specialolympics.bc.ca