Justine and Rick Giuliani began their association with Hamilton Community Foundation a decade ago, when their eldest daughter was living with the severe complications of juvenile diabetes and they began to explore establishing a fund in her honour.
“We had about two years to prepare for Tara’s death,” says Justine, “and we talked to her about everything – what her funeral would be like, what the memorial fund would support, and what difference it would make to others. Now, every year on her birthday we award the grants from her fund. We reduce the sadness on that day by celebrating her life and supporting the organizations that were important to her.”
The Tara Lynn Giuliani Memorial Fund was created with hundreds of memorial donations in 1994. Every year since then, it has funded scholarships for deserving visually-impaired University of Guelph students and grants to other groups that Tara cared about, such as the Diabetes Association and Guide Dog Training through Canine Vision.
“We had some specific ideas about how we wanted to honour Tara’s life and we were really pleased with the way the Foundation accommodated our needs,” says Rick. “Our experience ever since has been extremely positive.”
Both Rick and Justine have recently started new funds at HCF. The new R.K. (Rick) Giuliani Fund will be built up over time through a combination of donations and capitalization of a portion of the fund’s income. His wide-ranging charitable interests include church, university, hospice care, and many other causes. Administration of the fund is “a cruise control kind of thing,” he says. “We turn all the details over to the professionals at the Foundation but still have input into what groups we support.”
Rick Giuliani is well known in Hamilton/Burlington as a leader in the financial services industry and in many community organizations. He has spent 40 years with Great-West Life. As a financial advisor, Rick raises the topic of philanthropy with many of his associates and clients, bringing Hamilton Community Foundation and other charities to their attention. He encourages other advisors to do the same.
“I’m a believer that whatever we have is a gift. We’ve been blessed and we should be doing something good with some of our assets and income. One of the most gratifying things one can do is embark on the path of philanthropy. When you see your fund make its gifts to worthy charities every year, the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment is difficult to match. A perpetual fund certainly completes my life and allows me to catch up on my tithing.”
In addition to many causes Rick and Justine share, Justine’s fund will also support the arts – reflecting her career as a painter and her commitment to the healing power of artistic expression in all its forms, including dance, poetry and theatre. Justine is an accredited and highly respected professional artist who has worked in Burlington for the last 30 years. For the past five years she has been working to spread the concept of the labyrinth as a relaxation, spiritual, and healing tool. She has become a Certified Labyrinth Facilitator and is in the process of creating a permanent labyrinth in Burlington’s Central Park, which she intends to support through her fund.
Justine believes that we must experience life to the fullest and learn the lessons of life’s journey, finding the personal higher purpose that helps us understand and appreciate life more completely. “Life is about sharing your gifts and talents,” she says, “and encouraging others to share their gifts and to develop their potential.”
Excerpt from Fall 2003 Newsletter