A Family's History of Service
“Our home tended to be occupied by new 'Uncles & Aunties' on a regular basis and our parents would house, feed and assist them in navigating their new surroundings. As is true for all new arrivals, the first few years can be difficult and challenging and we were taught to embrace these challenges with the hard work and positive outlook that our parents embodied.”
– Dr. Kan Chhatwal
The Chhatwal family’s history of “doing good” has been an adventure of determination, positivity and service. For Dr. Kan Chhatwal, his parents’ legacy of community involvement in this country began almost as soon as they arrived.
Kuldeep Singh Chhatwal moved to Canada in 1953 to establish a home for his wife Gina Kaur and their two sons, Kan and Raj, who would follow a year later.
Being among the first Sikhs to immigrate to Canada after the Second World War, Kuldeep and Gina welcomed many newcomers from India and helped them settle into their new lives.
Throughout their lives, Kuldeep and Gina continued to support the Sikh community and many other causes, such as the Interfaith Council of Waterloo Region, the Liberal Party of Canada and Kiwanis.
Sadly, Gina passed away in 1983. In her memory, Kuldeep established the Gina Chhatwal Trust (now the Gina and Kuldeep Chhatwal Family Trust).
The trust’s objective is simple: “To feed and clothe the poor.”
Dr. Chhatwal says his parents’ outlook inspired the family to start the trust. “My parents believed that they received a wonderful gift as Canadians and that it was incumbent upon all of us to return the favour,” he says. “They taught us the meaning of service.”
Kuldeep passed away in 2006, and Dr. Chhatwal, his brother Raj and his son Chad managed the trust themselves for several years. In 2017 their accountant, David Graham, suggested partnering with KWCF by transferring the assets to a Donor Advised Fund. It allows them to achieve the original objective without the administrative burden and related costs of managing a separate trust.
“When we looked into KWCF, we saw all of the great work they are doing and realized that we share many of the same values. We are pleased and excited about partnering with KWCF to continue the original objectives of our parents’ teachings, vision and legacy,” says Dr. Chhatwal. “We would encourage others to work with organizations like KWCF and serve our community.”
KWCF has created a Family Philanthropy Checklist and Family Philanthropy Workbook to help guide you, and your family members, through a process to discuss your philanthropic goals. Both can be found at www.kwcf.ca/family-philanthropy.
Click here to download and read the KWCF's 2018 Annual Report.