Converting Land into Community Well-being in Rural Nova Scotia

TRURO – There is now a way that landowners, both Nova Scotian and non-resident, can contribute to the future vitality of rural communities by donating property. The Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia (RCF) is now accepting land and property gifts as part of their fund development strategy, in order to raise funds that will support community organizations across rural Nova Scotia.

The process is simple. Here’s how it works:

  • The property owner contacts RCF and identifies the property that they want to donate.
  • RCF meets with the donor, and they draw up an agreement together.
  • RCF facilitates the necessary legal, tax and real estate arrangements.
  • The donor receives a tax credit based on the assessed value of the property.
  • On receiving the gift, RCF then sells the property, and puts the funds toward supporting local non-profit organizations that are working for the future of rural communities.

The Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia has been making small grants to rural community organizations since 1999, in an accountable and transparent way, at a minimum administrative cost. Its grant programs have supported local groups whose work is focused on youth, environment, leadership, seniors, and rural innovation throughout the rural areas of the province, including Mi’kmaq communities.

RCF’s 2019-2020 Grants Program will be announced at their AGM on Wednesday May 29, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00pm at the Lecture Theatre, Forrester Hall, NSCC Truro. RCF will launch two new grant programs for rural youth organizations, one on youth leadership and one on climate change. The public is invited to the AGM – RSVP by May 24, 2019

The idea of land gifts came from one of RCF’s board members Sherry MacLeod and was affirmed by input from communities. “This is a great opportunity for the land owners of Nova Scotia to give back to rural communities of Nova Scotia. These areas are often struggling; therefore, this enables RCF to put money in the hands of those that can make a difference. It’s a win-win.”

The donor of a gift of land benefits by:

  • receiving charitable tax receipt;
  • leaving a legacy for rural Nova Scotia for people who have an emotional attachment to this part of the world; and
  • adding a charitable element as part of estate planning.

Marta Anderson, another RCF Board member, has been reaching out to the real estate industry, and has received a positive response to the land gift idea. “We have been presenting the idea to REALTORS® and so far, we are getting enthusiastic feedback and results. For example, two recent land gifts have come from non-resident landowners, who have a long-time attachment to Cape Breton and Guysborough Counties, but no longer visit their properties. Their gifts were part of the estate management that enabled them to ‘give something back’ to these places they care about.”

In its 20 years experience, RCF has found time and time again, that small grants in small communities can make a huge difference. RCF Chair Arthur Bull puts it this way: “We believe that the solution to many of the issues facing rural Nova Scotia are to be found right in those communities themselves… and it’s our job to support them. Gifts of land will help us do that”.


For more information contact:

Arthur Bull, Chair, Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia (RCF)
[email protected] (902) 897-2444