Donor Stories

Legacy of Life, Founding member Valerie Mah

Valerie Mah RTO ImageAs the inaugural Chair of the Foundation Board, and now a Founding member of Legacy of Life, I have seen firsthand how our donations are invested. The rigorous grant review process, including external expert assessments, ensures the best projects are funded.

I strongly believe in the Foundation’s vision – to enhance the quality of life of aging adults – and I’m confident that our future gifts will help enable that vision.

I’m sharing my story because I was one of those people who did not have a will. Then I experienced friends and family who passed away without a will – it was a nightmare. I didn’t want that to happen to my family so I did something about it. I reflected on the causes that are important to me and included a few charities to receive a gift in my will.

Now I have peace of mind that my future wishes will be realized and that the causes that I support as a donor and volunteer will benefit in the future.

I hope my story encourages you to take action about your own wishes for the future. I invite you to join me as a member of Legacy of Life, and become a Founding member today.  Please be assured that any information you share is kept confidential. You can have your name included in our donor list or remain anonymous.

Legacy of Life members have included a future gift to the RTO/ERO Foundation in their will planning.

“If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.” Maya Angelou

Please visit our website for information to share with your lawyer <link to suggested will wording> and to access a Confidential Gift Intent form <link to form>. You can also contact Yolanda Bronstein at 416-962-4037 / toll-free 1-800-361-9888 to discuss.



Twin sisters - Achieving symmetry between teaching and supporting enhanced aging.

Ellen ‘earrings’ and Margaret Branscombe are identical twins. They are both members of RTO/ERO and both are active in their church.  But don’t make the mistake of seeing them as the same.

They grew up in the teaching tradition. Their father was a high school teacher before moving on to become the Coordinator of Media Services for the North York Board of Education in the 1960’s. He followed in his mother’s footsteps as she was a teacher in a 1 room schoolhouse in New Brunswick.  But their individual paths to becoming teachers were quite different.

Ellen went to University of Toronto Scarborough campus while Margaret went to the downtown campus.  Over the four years of their studies at university, they only had a 0.05% difference in grades yet each got there in their own way – Ellen was more down and up while Margaret was a slow, steady climb.

As their parents aged, they became more aware of the issues related to aging. That is around the time they each started supporting the Foundation with an annual donation each fall.  

In their words: “We see symmetry between our dedication to teaching and our support for the vision of the Foundation.  We worked with the little ones as students, and now the geriatrics students we support will be working with us.”

With recent experiences with their mother and now acting as Power of Attorney for a fellow congregant, they feel even more strongly about supporting the Foundation. They have seen first-hand that knowledgeable care providers can have a positive impact on their clients.  They have also seen the benefits of community building to mitigate the effects of social isolation that so many older adults experience.


Remembering Aunt Margaret - a Passion for Education

Margaret Ethel Emmerson dedicated her life to education.  First as a student herself, then as an educator and ultimately as a benefactor.

Educated at Branksome Hall in Toronto, she went on to University College at the University of Toronto at a time when women did not get to attend university.  She became an educator for the Toronto District School Board at Ryerson and then Orde Street Public School as a kindergarten specialist. In the words of her executor: "Aunt Margaret certainly enjoyed the get togethers she had with her retired teacher friends from Orde."

Never married, she enjoyed travelling with friends, visiting museums, participating in the arts and she loved supporting the communities and interests she felt a part of.

At her passing, the Foundation become one of several charities that Margaret supported through a gift in her will.  Thanks to her generosity, her gift will contribute to the hiring of a post-doctorate fellow this January, under the direct supervision of our very own RTO/ERO Chair in Geriatric Medicine, Dr. Paula Rochon.

This is a very special gift and we are honoured to have been included in ‘Aunt Margaret's’ legacy.