When she was 16, Barbara Jools heard a recording of the Korean Orphan Choir. This was the first time she had heard of World Vision, a group that was raising funds for children who had lost their parents in the Korean War.
Moved by the choir’s music and stories, the teenager was greatly influenced to look for a way to help vulnerable and destitute children.
In her mid-20s, Barbara and her first husband started sponsoring children with World Vision Australia while raising their own family. At 27, she got further involved when she moved to New Zealand and became a volunteer with the local organisation.
She led a team of volunteers in the World Vision New Zealand’s ‘Down Every Street’ appeal, knocking on doors in the lower half of the North Island to raise funds for kids doing it tough in developing countries.
“I liked the practical way I could raise funds to help the children,” she recalled.
Later, Barbara and her second husband, Dr Nic Jools AM, would also sponsor children with World Vision. At one point, they were sponsoring seven children in different countries.
Now a widow, the 76-year-old Gosford resident continues to sponsor orphaned girls, helping them to forge their way out of poverty through education.
After a lifetime of generosity, Barbara says she wants to continue to support World Vision long after she’s gone – by leaving them a gift in her will. That way, she said, more children can have a better life.
She said she can leave a gift to World Vision and still provide for her loved ones.
“Of course, I’m providing for my family, but they understand that I’ve always wanted to improve the lives of children and families living in poverty, and they’re respectful of that decision to leave a bequest to World Vision Australia,” said the mother of three and grandma of two.
She said her late husband also believed in supporting causes after death, with his passion being art.
Nic died in 2014 after a lengthy battle with MS. He left significant Australian works of art to Knox Grammar and Abbotsleigh as gifts in his will. The Art Gallery of NSW also has one major work by Albert Tucker in the Australian Modernist section, donated by Barbara in memory of Nic.
Barbara urged other Central Coast seniors to consider causes they might like to support with a charitable gift.
“People sometimes think you have to be wealthy to do this, but I don’t believe that. Any gift, big or small, can help a charity do more work for its beneficiaries,” she said.
Helen Merrick, director of Include a Charity, a social change movement to encourage more Australians to consider gifts in wills, said it would be great if more people thought like Barbara.
“Sometimes they don’t know it’s an option to leave a gift in their will to charity or their solicitor doesn’t think to mention it,” she said.
That’s why Include a Charity started organising a campaign each September to tell people about the ease and importance of leaving a charitable gift.
“For about 10 years, only about 7.4 per cent of Australians left gifts in wills, but some research we did in 2019 found the number has since risen to 11 per cent. We think it’s being driven not only by charities promoting their own bequest programs but their willingness to come together every year for the annual Include a Charity campaign to build public awareness and have all charities benefit,” said Helen.
Barbara and Helen were speaking on the eve of Include a Charity Week (7-13 September), a campaign supported by 70+ charities.
Many of Australia’s favourite causes participate, including World Vision Australia, The Smith Family, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Australia for UNHCR, the Alfred Foundation, Dementia Australia, Royal Far West Hospital, Karuna Hospice Service, Wesley Mission and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia.
And if you haven’t written your will yet, Safewill, a highly rated online will-writing platform, is partnering with Include a Charity to provide 50% off the price of writing a will during September. Visit www.includeacharity.com.au to learn more about this, how to leave a gift in your will and Include a Charity supporters.