In our ongoing series about love and philanthropy, we spoke with Lars Boggild and Samantha Luc, who launched the Hygge Fund during their time in the two-year Vision 2020 philanthropic learning program. After moving to Toronto from Halifax in 2014, it took Lars and Samie some time to find their feet. While both work in social purpose jobs, they joined Vision 2020 to strengthen their connection with Toronto and learn about innovative work non-profit organizations are leading in communities across the city. Their foundation, the Hygge Fund, is based on the Danish concept of supporting “a good social atmosphere.”
Below, Lars and Samie discuss how they set solid foundations for their relationship by establishing their values for their philanthropy, and for their lives.
Did anything in your relationship change over the course of Vision 2020?
Samie: We’ve had some major life changes over the course of Vision 2020. We bought our first home together, and we got engaged.
Lars: Before Vision 2020, philanthropy wasn’t really a part of our relationship in any specific way, it was just something I was doing on the side. Through Vision 2020, our philanthropic intentions and strategy have become a bigger part of our everyday conversations, and our financial planning.
What sparked the change?
Lars: The philanthropic values session at the “All The Feels” event stands out to me. Samie and I did the session independently and sat at different tables. When we came together at the end, we saw that most of our values were similar, if not identical. It was confirmation that we were on the same page.
Samie: During the session, I had written down that I disliked the idea of philanthropy being focused on the idea of my legacy or my name. I want my philanthropy to focus on real change for the most marginalized communities. When Lars and I spoke afterwards, I was glad to find that we both wanted to approach our giving in the same way. We both wanted to make it part of how we look at our money and financial planning.
What was the most joyful moment you shared together throughout this experience?
Lars: I got a lot of joy out the “Speed Dating For Changemakers” event, especially from seeing Samie do it. For about a decade, a book about the music education program El Sistema has been sitting on our bookshelf, and I knew Samie really admired their work. Lo and behold, the executive director of Sistema Toronto Christie Gray was at the event, and we both had the opportunity to connect with her and learn more about their programs.
Samie: I had been a huge fan of Sistema for a long time, but hadn’t reached out. After meeting Christie at the event, she invited me to come visit, and now I volunteer with Sistema Toronto every other week.
Do you have any advice for other couples, friends, or siblings who are starting VisionNext, the next evolution of Vision 2020?
Samie: Communicate. Usually after the events, on our journey home, we’d discuss what we thought and what actions we wanted to take. I’m glad that we had that time to get that conversation going instead of leaving it to a few days later. Having that discussion right away afterwards was helpful.
How has this experience impacted your approach to philanthropy? As you go forward, what do you take with you from this experience?
Samie: After the “All The Feels” event, we put our philanthropic values cards up on a magnetized wall in our home. One of my friends joked that they were our corporate values, and I think in some way that’s true. It’s not just the framework for how we want to do philanthropy, but also the values we want to have in most parts of our lives.
Lars: Although we still disagree about who’s CEO.
Thinking about starting your philanthropic journey with your partner, friends, siblings, or as an individual? Contact Aneil Gokhale at email@example.com.