There is no other way to put it, $60 million is a lot of money. Arnold Witzig and Simi Sharifi, who are both immigrants to Canada have decided to donate almost their entire fortune to charity while they are still alive, because they wanted to give back to the country that has given them so much.
The money has been put into a trust that will distribute the millions of dollars between initiatives that serve the far north of Canada, and all the people who call the region home. They say the goal is to improve the quality of life for community members in the northern regions. "Some of my feeling and closeness and understanding comes from my own personal experience as someone who grew up in a minority ethnic group in a developing country," said Sharifi.
The couple, who immigrated to Canada more than three decades ago, focused on donating their time and money to projects that help Canada's northern native population, such as youth sports initiatives, community development, and the preservation of indigenous culture. They say that have admiration for the resilience and culture of the northern peoples.
This isn't the first time that Witzig and Sharifi have made a monster donation to the cause.
Seven years ago, the couple helped found the Arctic Inspiration Prize. This past year, the prize handed out a total of $2.4 million, which included one grant of a full million dollars. Eight groups ended up sharing the the prize money. This was also the first time that a youth category was added to the initiative.
With the $60 million injection, the prize will have a lot more power towards helping the people in the northern regions of Canada. With that much money on the line though, there has to be some oversight. Groups from the affected regions get the first look at all the applications before sending the approved ones onto a national selection committee, who are the ones who make the final decisions.
It was the success of the programs that had already been put in place that convinced the philanthropic couple to donate the rest of their money.
"It's really all we have," Witzig said.
Would you be willing to give all that you had in order to help others who needed it more?