Photo of Guysborough courtesy Derek Hendsbee
Fred and Mary Worsh have chosen the Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia to administer a legacy scholarship fund that the couple has directed to some day help deserving students in Guysborough and Antigonish counties. The fund will be established to help students enrolled in four-year, post-secondary academic programs. For Fred Worsh, the establishment of a legacy fund represents a full circle moment. It is his chance to pay forward the gift that he received from a similar fund set up more than 60 years ago in his hometown of Rockland, Massachusetts. The money he received, interest-free, from that education fund enabled him to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It changed the trajectory of his life and now he hopes that the fund he and his wife establish will have the same impact on selected students from rural Nova Scotia.
Born just before the outbreak of the Second World War, he was a young boy when he first visited his mother’s Queensport, Nova Scotia home on Chedabucto Bay. Nova Scotia was again to play a role in his life when he attended a geological field school while a student at MIT. He remembers his fascination with Crystal Cliffs outside of Antigonish, where the crystalline formations in the exposed calcium sulfate outcroppings still glisten in the sun. He served as a lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers and enjoyed a career with Corning Inc. (Corning Glass Works). As a geo-physicist he had a ringside seat in many major advancements in the technology of glass production, including the fibre-optic revolution.
In retirement he and his wife now live comfortably, dividing their time between Shallotte, North Carolina and the Nova Scotia property in Queensport that had been in the family for generations. Rebuilding the original homestead is a labour of love that lures him back to Nova Scotia each year. “I still wouldn’t call it exactly livable, but we’re getting there,” he says of his retirement project.
His has been a life of promise realized and he owes that, in part, to the helping hand he was given. “A local woman there in my hometown of Rockland, Massachusetts made a bequest for that purpose. I benefited. Both of my brothers benefited. Now I want to return this the same way,” he says in explaining why he and his wife are creating this legacy gift. They have left bequests in their wills to provide college level scholarships in Rockland, Massachusetts, in Nova Scotia and in North Carolina. When he began searching, Worsh says the Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia provided the perfect fit. “That was the organization that would do something of this nature in Nova Scotia,” he says, adding that he believes in the general mandate of the organization, which is to support and sustain rural communities throughout Nova Scotia. “We’re getting way to urbanized,” he says.
Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia (RCF) manages a growing collection of endowed funds that are used to enhance the quality of life in areas designated by the fund donors. The funds are pooled and the investment portfolio supervised. The income from the portfolio is made available for distribution to support charitable activities in local communities. Through our affiliation with Community Foundations Canada, RCF offers those seeking to make a philanthropic gift several options for giving. In some instances the donors remain actively involved in helping direct the fund. Others can direct their giving to support a specific non-profit organization or, as in the Worshes’ case, both a specific geographical area and a specific purpose – scholarships for university-bound students. Worsh says, though the scholarships, come without strings attached, “hopefully recipients will do the same thing we have done, which is repay back into it to keep it going.”
Although Fred Worsh didn’t get to meet his benefactor, nor is it likely will any of the future recipients of his education fund meet him, there is satisfaction in anticipating the difference it may make in their lives. “None of us get where we are on our own in this world. None of us,” he says.