For years, Landy O’Donnell would visit Niagara Falls semi-annually with her husband James. Little did she know, however, that the real crown jewel of the region was Port Colborne on the shores of Lake Erie.
Landy discovered this in 2015 when she moved to the canal city to live with a friend after James’s passing. She was drawn to Port Colborne’s walkability, something she missed when her Oak Ridges neighbourhood was swallowed up by the sprawl of Richmond Hill over the years she and James lived there.
But she would stay in the small town on Niagara’s southern tier because of the people. She would be compelled to give back to her newly adopted community because of them, too.
It was only a year after moving to Port Colborne that Landy began contemplating bequeathing something to a local social organization while doing her estate planning. As a relative newcomer, however, she was hard-pressed to choose just one beneficiary. That’s when Gary Talosi, who serves on the Port Colborne Community Fund committee with the Niagara Community Foundation, suggested making a donation to benefit her new hometown sooner. She could set up a fund in her and James’s names, have the community foundation manage it for her, and see to it that her lump-sum gift would help many causes in Port Colborne in the years ahead — and while she was still alive to witness its impact.
Landy, who keeps busy by volunteering with several groups and initiatives in town, was sold. The James and Landy O’Donnell Fund was born in 2016.
“I don’t really mind what it’s used for as long as it’s used for good,” Landy said. “I’ve gotten so much from living here, I just wanted to do something for Port Colborne.”