I support Opportunity because I am keen to support women. Women don’t just help themselves but always help the next generation as well.
When Laurie Cowled lost her husband, Ron, unexpectedly 17 years ago, she found herself at a crossroads.
“I didn’t know how many days I had left,” she says. “But I had a plan to carry out.” Laurie and Ron had agreed that whoever survived the other would need to be a good steward of their money.
Laurie and Ron met in their fifties and didn’t have children. “I could have waited until I died and just left everything to charities, but I wanted to make an informed decision, so I reached out to some people to educate myself,” she says.
Laurie sought advice on the best ways to give and through that process, set up a foundation. Born and raised in country Australia during the Great Depression, young Laurie dreamed of being in the performing arts. But back then, she didn’t know anyone who could help with her dream. Instead, she pursued a banking career. When the opportunity arose to give back, Laurie chose to help young rural women through various scholarships.
"I have had such joy over the years seeing many amazing young women graduate though our scholarship program! I have stayed in touch with many of them,” she says.
The joy of seeing women fulfil their dreams led to Laurie’s interest in helping women in developing countries. Laurie heard about Opportunity International Australia through a friend. As a former banker, she appreciates Opportunity’s model of providing small loans to women to help them grow their own businesses and secure sustainable incomes.
“I support Opportunity because I am keen to support women. Women don’t just help themselves but always help the next generation as well.”
Laurie had the chance to see her support in action when she visited West Timor in Indonesia in 2008. “It was fascinating for me as a farming daughter to see how well organised the farming women and villages were. Women worked together to co-guarantee each other’s loans — a 98 per cent repayment rate is quite impressive!”
These days Laurie passionately supports Opportunity’s health program in India as it reaches whole families with vital health education. She recently shared her experience with Opportunity with her Toastmasters Club.
Now, almost 92, Laurie remains passionate yet practical about her giving. “I am a banker; philanthropy is a pragmatic business decision of where I can make the most difference,” she says.
“I give because I get such joy from giving — even a small amount can make such a difference,” she says. “I am excited to give now, and I am excited to be leaving a gift in my Will. A gift to Opportunity in your Will becomes an ongoing help for those in poverty. I’m a spruiker for philanthropy!”
How to leave a gift in your Will
It’s estimated that more than half of Australians don’t have a valid Will. And up to 70 per cent don’t have a living Will, according to Advanced Care Planning Australia.
To make a legally valid Will for free, visit Gathered Here at: wills.gatheredhere.com.au/c/oia
Leaving a gift in your Will is simple, you don’t even need to specify the gift size but can simply leave a percentage or a residual gift to the charity of your choice after your family is taken care of. Many supporters consider this the most significant gift they will ever give, and it brings them great joy to know that their gift will provide for others in need for many years to come.
To talk to someone about leaving a gift in your Will, contact our philanthropy team on: email@example.com.