United Way Red Feather Donor Barb McVagh celebrated alongside 475 other donors for 25+ years of dedication to the movement

“United Way is my social conscience,” says Barb McVagh, a Red Feather donor for the past 45 years. “They can do for my community what I cannot, and so I give.”

Barb is one of 475 longstanding donors who were feted at Government House yesterday in honour of their collective achievements and good works while supporting United Way. In addition to Barb’s years of generosity, she has also volunteered for more than 30 years with United Way’s Leaders Committee.

“Barb McVagh is a dedicated patron who shares our vision to improve life for thousands of local citizens,” says Patricia Jelinski, CEO of United Way. “She has taught us so much in giving wisely of her time, her knowledge, and with consistent generosity which enriches our community greatly. All our Red Feather donors represent the foundation of our community, uniting for change to build a stronger, more inclusive and caring community.”

Serving the insurance industry for the length of her career, Barb was greatly influenced by an employer who truly believed in United Way. She learned the fine art of perpetual giving, embracing the ideal of giving back over the long term. Her years with the Leaders Committee brought her an even deeper understanding of United Way and Greater Victoria’s needs.

“I really learned how United Way improves our community,” says Barb. “I continue to be impressed by the people I meet, leaders of funded partners and the people they help, the lives they renew.”

Also involved with the Canadian Association of Gift Planners, Barb wanted to help educate others about leaving a will with a giving component. “I enjoy teaching as I was taught: pick one thing that matters to you and give back through a thoughtful, planned approach.” She herself took out three insurance policies years ago with the clear intent of donating each one’s proceeds to charities that meant the most to her, including United Way. “An initial, small investment can yield a major gift in time. It’s the easiest, most fruitful way to give.”

A member of the Million Dollar Round Table, having generated more than $1 million in insurance policies, and a member of the city’s Estate Planning Council, Barb has garnered considerable respect for her achievements. A self-confessed ‘numbers person’ who retired at 55, Barb still continues to give.

“Everybody should be giving to United Way,” says Barb who, in a word, describes the organization as ‘necessary’. “They care. They believe. And they ensure every penny goes where it can do the most good.”