Planned giving - a way to Leave a Legacy

Legacy Giving

What is a Legacy Gift?

A legacy gift (or planned gift) is a donation to a charity that is made in your will, or by designating the charity as a beneficiary in a life insurance policy or another financial instrument such as an RRIF.  Legacy gifts are a part of estate planning and should be discussed with your lawyer and/or your financial advisor. 

Making a legacy gift to Grebel is a powerful way to support the College’s mission, programs and values, such as peace, music, faith formation, training leaders for the church. It also supports vibrant student experiences. 

Rebecca C sits with recipients and donorThe Mennonite Diversity award brought me to Conrad Grebel. In the last year I felt like I was being pushed to my limits. But looking back now, what the Professors have been doing was pushing me, not to my limits but to the limitlessness of my capabilities and challenging me to open my mind to look beyond any barriers and see the possibilities of what I can be and what I have to offer. This is important for me as an immigrant black African woman because I have a responsibility to inspire others like me who have been socialized to believe there are limits. There are no limits to what we can all do to contribute to a peaceful society. Thank you to Mary Groh and for everyone else who gives selflessly to the pursuit of education.

- Rebecca Chinamasa (MPACS)

John MarshallGrebel was an incredibly important place for me, and my development as a student. As a late bloomer and not being familiar with Mennonites,  it was a safe place for me to gain confidence within a very supportive community.  Professors like Dr. Walter Klaassen supported my academic learning and inspired me to persevere. I want to ensure that future students are supported as they meet their particular challenges in the positive environment I had the privilege to experience. Sometimes these are financial challenges and establishing a scholarship award in my estate is a way that I can help future students succeed.

-John Marshall, BES 1985

Why are scholarship awards important?

In last two years Grebel has provided over $500,000 in financial aid to students. The cost of education and residence fees are increasing and recently Coop placements and good paying summer jobs are hard to find. At our 2021 Scholarship Awards event students submitted short video clips to articulate the impact receiving scholarship awards had on them. We think you will enjoy viewing these greetings from grateful students. 

Part 1:

Part 2:

What is an endowment?

An Endowment is a pool of donations that are permanently invested by the college.  Instead of using the gift for immediate use for students or programs, the capital is invested and each year earnings from this investment are used by the college. This provides reliable funding for our unique programs and student awards. A healthy endowment portfolio ensures that Grebel will continue to be offer transformative educational experiences for future generations. 

How big is Grebel’s Endowment?

In 2019 the endowment portfolio had a fair market value of almost $9 million. This generated almost $160,000 for student awards and over $130,000 for our program expenses. 

How are Grebel's Endowments Managed?

The Finance and Development committee of the Board takes advice from an experienced Investment Advisory sub-committee on the investment strategy for these funds, guided by a policy that requires a balance of equities, bonds and alternative investment tools (i.e. environmental funds). Investments are screened for social responsibility and impact, ensuring good standing with respect to “ESG” ratings (Environment, Social impact and good corporate Governance) we select investments based on return risk, expense, and social impact.

To avoid annual volatility in investment earnings, annual distributions are calculated based on a ten-year average. A small amount of earnings are reinvested back into the endowment so that the fund is protected against inflation. 

These policies have served Grebel well. In 2020, our endowment funds provided a 4.6% return. At that rate of return, an endowed scholarship of $50,000 would provide a $2,300 scholarship.  

A Gift Fulfilled 

Helen MartensDr. Helen Martens served as the first faculty member in the Music program at Conrad Grebel College from 1965 until her retirement in 1993.  During her career at Grebel, Dr. Martens inspired many students over almost three decades in music classes and choirs.  Dr. Martens also founded the Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir. Helen Martens died on April 9, 2020, and left a testamentary gift to the College. This gift is endowed and annual earnings will fund the “Helen Martens Choral Music Award” Recipients are choristers who exhibit a passion for choral music and demonstrate vocal excellence in choral singing.  This is a wonderful way to honour the legacy of one of our early music faculty leaders.

Program Endowments at Grebel to consider supporting:


Grebel receives tuition and government grant for its teaching programs, but many of our most unique programs have no firm revenue streams. Our academic programs have seen funding cuts in recent years. We believe that endowments are crucial to ensure that these mission-critical programs have a future.  Your legacy gift could be designated to secure the future of these programs.  Your gift can be added to an existing endowment, or you can create a new endowment. The monies designated for the endowments are invested and the earnings from the fund are used to support the purposes of the endowment.

Library/Archives and Mennonite Studies

Grebel’s Milton Good Library and the Mennonite Archives of Ontario are an irreplaceable resource for research and scholarship on Mennonites in Canada, and include the largest Canadian collection of published Anabaptist/Mennonite materials from the 16th century to the present.

Theological Studies

Our Master of Theological Studies program trains church leaders and provides much needed resources and theological leadership for the Mennonite church and beyond. 

Peace Studies and Advancement

The Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) endowment helps to fund student internships and field studies placements.  

Other Unique Programs 

Naming opportunities 

Bill Dyck

Many donors desire anonymity. Some donors wish to give their name or the name of a loved one to a project which will remember that person in perpetuity. All names are subject to the approval of the college's Board of Governors.

The naming opportunities include:

  1. Scholarships/bursaries - gifts of $25,000 or more.
  2. Lectureships - gifts of $50,000 or more.
  3. Artist in Residence $250,000 or more 
  4. New construction or major renovations of unnamed facilities - gifts of $500,000 or more.
  5. Professorship- $1,000,000 or more.
  6. Faculty Chairs - $3,000,000 or more.

Correct legal name:
The legal name of the college is Conrad Grebel University College.

Scholarship, bursary, and award endowments

Many scholarships, bursaries, and awards, have been made available through endowments and the generosity of various friends of the college. Students formally involved in the college's residence, associate and/or academic programs may apply for residence, academic, or general awards, scholarships and bursaries.

Students in a classroom speak to each otherThese brief descriptions are a guide only, please consult the designated contact person for a complete description, criteria and an application form.


It is a general designation applied to any scholarship, prize, medal, fellowship or grant of money assigned to a student. Within this designation there are further terms defined below.


A monetary award, based primarily on outstanding overall academic performance or excellence in a specific subject or group of subjects.


A monetary grant based primarily on financial need.

How do I make an endowed gift to Grebel?

We appreciate the opportunity to discuss your interest in making an endowed gift with you.  This ensures that the College can use the gift for the purpose you’ve intended.  Donors making a legacy gift may also wish to discuss their plans with their lawyer or financial advisor. 

If you wish more information about planned giving or projects at Conrad Grebel University College, please call or write:

Marcus Shantz,President
Fred W. Martin, Director of Advancement

Download this form - print it, fill in details on your Legacy Gift plans and send it to our attention at Grebel

Conrad Grebel University College , 140 Westmount Road N, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6.

Phone: 519 885-0220 x 24381

Or talk to a Gift Planning Consultant at Canadian Association of Gift Planners, or Abundance Canada.