Exactly 25 years to the date of his death, the legacy of T.T. Skov comes to completion.
May is national “Leave a Legacy Month,” designed to highlight the importance for every Canadian to have a will and to encourage people to leave a gift in their will to the charity of their choice. In Guelph, there’s a fantastic example of the lasting effects a legacy can have.
Tage Teilman Skov, a Danish immigrant, moved to Guelph as a young man and started a new life as a dairy farmer. Jack (as his friends called him) was an astute and shrewd business person who went on to become a very successful land developer and founded T.T. Skov Real Estate Ltd. However, Mr. Skov’s greatest accomplishment may be seen through his remarkable philanthropy – not only during his lifetime but through the legacy gifts he left in his will. Mr. Skov died in 1990, and his complex estate wrapped up last month, 25 years after his death.
“Jack loved Guelph,” says John Valeriote, whose first memories of Jack take him back to his own childhood when he and his friends would lend a hand at the Skov farm picking up rocks in the field – and getting a bottle of pop for payment. John Valeriote went on to have the honour of being one of the executers of Mr. Skov’s estate, which gifted over $4 million to The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation and The Rotary Club of Guelph over the past 25 years.
“Jack was a proud Rotarian and spent much of his life giving back to the community he believed had been so good to him,” Valeriote says. “In his estate plans, Jack chose the three organizations he felt would enable him to touch all people in Guelph, without any cultural or political boundaries. That was most important to him.”
Suzanne Bone, CEO of The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital, has seen the impacts Mr. Skov’s philanthropy has made to healthcare in our community.
“Each year, we are deeply honoured to receive gifts from people who have remembered us in their wills. Donations such as these make the difference between acceptable and outstanding health care, and these remarkable gifts, built on trust and a forward thinking spirit, help us to purchase urgently needed equipment,” Bone explains. “Mr. Skov made a profound difference with his generosity. From helping us with our first electronic patient record system over 20 years ago to helping fund a new Electronic Information System for our operating rooms that goes live next month, his generosity has impacted thousands of community members. I am sure he could have never imagined some of the technologies he would be bringing to our Hospital and the impact they would have.”
St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation is also most grateful to Mr. Skov. Over the years, the Foundation has been able to purchase new equipment such as pain pumps, beds and patient lifts. In addition, when the new Health Centre was being built in 2002, funds from the Skov estate were used to help with the construction of the building including the greenhouse and specialty gardens as well as with equipment purchases for the outpatient physiotherapy department.
Mary DuQuesnay, President & CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation states, “The generosity of Mr. Skov has benefitted many individuals in Guelph who have come to St. Joseph’s for help and compassionate care. All of us at St. Joseph’s, staff, families, patients and residents, are most grateful that he chose to assist the citizens of Guelph through his thoughtful gift in support of health care in our community.”
His legacy reached beyond the healthcare community by including the Rotary Club of Guelph.
“Jack’s substantial gift acted as the stimulus to create The Rotary Club of Guelph Charitable Foundation” says Bill Stevens, Director and Treasurer of The Rotary Club of Guelph Charitable Foundation. “These funds were used to establish an Endowment Fund to provide support for long term projects in our community. The T.T. Skov Auditorium in the Evergreen Seniors Centre is one great example of how his generosity has touched countless citizens.”
The vision of “Leave a Legacy Month” is to ensure every Canadian is aware of the importance of thoughtful, well-planned, tax-preferred gifts and their impact on the quality of life for everyone in our communities.