Tim Cestnick joins the board of Burlington Foundation

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 16, 2016



Tim Cestnick is an account; FCPA, FCA, CPA(IL), CFP, TEP, that kind of an accountant.

When he came a Chartered account his father bought him a set of license plates with Tim CA on them. But he is no run of the mill bean counter.


Tim Cestnick: FCPA, FCA, CPA(IL), CFP, TEP,

He is a tax specialist with 16 book titles to his name and a reputation as one of the better tax specialists in the country. He writes a regular column in the Globe and Mail which resulted from his first book, which he self-published when he left one of the big five accounting firms in Toronto and joined Bateman McKay in Burlington where he felt he was able to be his own person.

He called Chapters and asked if they would sell copies of his book – they ordered 50 copies, which didn’t impress Tim at all. Chapters eventually sold 8,000 copies, which in the Canadian market is close to being a best seller.

Tim likes to explain things to people – take the complex and make it understandable – and if anything deserves the description complex it is the tax act.

foundation-positive-changeCestnick has a passion for the “not for profit” sector to which he brings a set of values that one doesn’t see in the accounting field all that often.

Cestnick was asked to give a presentation to an annual meeting of what was then the Burlington Community Foundation. Little did he know that Colleen Mulholland, president of that organization, was in the process of grooming him as a future Director.

Tim took a year and a half to decide if the Foundation was a good place for him to serve his community. Philanthropy is big stuff for Tim. He frequently advises people on what they should give and what the tax implications are.

But giving isn’t a tax advantage. Tim believes people should “feel it” when they give. For him giving is biblical.

“Use the tax rules to your advantage but realize that giving, real giving, is a chance to change your life” says Cestnick.  And he means it

Making a donation is really a person setting a limit on what they are willing to do. And he believes that if you don’t “feel” it when you give, the gift for the giver is lost.

foundation-food-banksTime management is probably Tim’s highest priority. He thinks about where he donates his time. He serves on the board of the Christian Academy where the work is very much hands on. The tasks he will have at the Foundation are more strategic where he will work with Ron Foxcroft and Tim Hogarth along with the other board members. The two Tims will manage to keep Foxcroft, who is the current chair, on the agenda.

The Burlington Foundation uses the same funds management organization as the Hamilton Foundation. Cestnick expects to be involved in some of the oversight work.

What he will bring to the Foundation is a set of values; the kind that don’t fit in all that well with “old boy networks”, which is not to suggest that the Foundation is anywhere near being an old boys network but it is where people with loads of money are made welcome and expect a level of treatment others don’t get.

Entitlement and philanthropy tend to get joined at the hip – I came away from my interview with Tim Cestnick feeling that entitlement isn’t something he places a lot of emphasis on.

BCF logoTim likes the idea of growing the idea of philanthropy – younger people can become philanthropists by donating a small sum every year he suggests. Philanthropy has gotten known as a big money game; Tim think it could be something different. Will that idea hold away at the board? Time will tell.

The Foundation has become known as a leader in the development of changes in the way citizens in Burlington look at Mental Health.

In 2014 they were the lead on organizing the flood fund raising and with Ron Foxcroft badgering the banks they way few people can badger – the Foundation managed to raise just shy of $1 million in 100 days.

foundation-sharingThat was a herculean effort and not something Mulholland wants to do again – but the results were a testament to just what they can do when called upon to serve.

Tim, if asked, would probably tell you ‘we are here to serve’.

The Burlington Foundation is lucky to have him.

Now let’s see what they get done.

The Foundation holds their annual Gala event which will take place at the Performing Arts Centre on October 22nd.

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