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How one small act had a life-changing impact

Ewan Ogilvy sitting in a park.

When you include a bequest in your Will to Oxfam, you join a community of our most loyal and valued supporters; people like Ewan.

Many years ago, Ewan was touched by the sentiment behind the quote made famous by Anne Herbert: “Practice random kindness and acts of senseless beauty”. It would ultimately send him on a journey to help improve the lives of others; including a long-term commitment to Oxfam. He shares why he’s made this important decision:

You have been a supporter of Oxfam through the years – can you name the number one reason why you chose to support Oxfam?

Oxfam embraces so many concerns that are really important to me, it was an organisation demanding support. It is hard to think of another non-profit that addresses challenges as diverse as the Close the Gap campaign, the land grab campaign, working conditions in the garment industry, the ebola crisis prevention program, water security/sharing initiatives … to action on the climate change front, and disaster relief initiatives. How good is that!

Why do you still support Oxfam’s work? – is there an area of Oxfam’s work that you are particularly interested in? If so, what is it and why does it interest you?

It is really hard to single out just one issue, but of the above list, action on the climate change front seems particularly urgent. With more extreme weather events becoming a regular occurrence threatening Australia and the Asia-Pacific region like never before, I just do not understand how so many of our political leaders can be so skeptical over the science.

Has there ever been a particular campaign, piece of communication or story you’ve received from Oxfam that has stayed with you? If so, why?

The Close the Gap campaign resonated very strongly in the beginning … and still does. We seem to be making so little progress on the important indicators like incarceration rates and educational benchmarks. That our first Australians should be living in third world conditions is just appalling. Joining together with other progressive groups, like Amnesty International, has also been a positive.

How do you feel when you read about the work that Oxfam is doing?

A mixture of inspiration and depression. Inspired that Oxfam is addressing so many important issues … but depressed that this work is necessary in the first place.

What prompted you to consider leaving a Bequest to Oxfam in your Will? Why did you decide to include us?

Any organisation embracing so many important concerns HAD to be supported. As they say, we come into the world with nothing … and, cannot take our possessions and savings with us when we go … so, why not leave a gift to Oxfam?

What did you have to do to include Oxfam in your Will? Was it an easy process?

Following the advice in Oxfam’s Bequest booklet made the task pretty easy. The real challenge [for me] was deciding who should be the Executor; and where the Will should be stored!

Would you encourage others to do the same, and if so why?

Yes indeed. It is SO much more uplifting to be able to give and share rather than to receive. Knowing that when “we are gone” important humanitarian work can continue is very reassuring.

What would you say to them?

Start sharing and giving now … experience the joy of giving now … then, thinking about Wills and Bequests will also be a joy!

What do you consider your core values to be?

The saying … live simply that others may simply live … captures an orientation that is very important to me. Many years ago, Anne Herbert wrote the following words on a restaurant place mat “Practice random kindness and acts of senseless beauty” … what a mind blowing sentiment. This one small act had an impact that couldn’t have been foreseen. I think that a few more random acts of kindness in our homes, workplaces and public institutions could be quite uplifting.

What sort of change would you like to see happen in the world in the future?

A world where peace could reign, where no one goes hungry or thirsty, where housing, health and education are not seen as luxuries … that would be a good start!

What sort of impact would you like to make on people’s lives through your gift?

That people everywhere, irrespective of their colour, creed, gender or political orientation may lead dignified lives.

If you share Ewans’s vision for a more just world, consider including a bequest in your Will to Oxfam.