A legacy defined by people

 Estate of June & Max Arnold makes generous donation to Exuma Foundation of Canada, with fond memories of their ‘second family’

It is often said that a place is not defined by its weather, the restaurants, the buildings or its attractions.

June and Max Arnold, seen here at Big Ds Conch Spot, kept returning to Exuma their whole lives due to the warmth and friendliness of the people.

It is the people that matter.

While Exuma might be arguably the most beautiful place in the world, an unspoiled paradise, it is the people that kept June and Max Arnold coming back from th
eir island – in Newfoundland – for more than two decades. And it is the people that inspired them to put this island in their will and make a generous donation to the Exuma Foundation of Canada upon Max’s passing in May of last year.

“My parents had a lot of dear friends down there,” said Dr. Tracey Scott, one of two daughters, who sent the Exuma Foundation of Canada the cheque on behalf of their estate. “We think of them as our second family. We have been down to Exuma many times with mom and dad over the years. I think the one thing that really touched their hearts are the children. It is amazing on a small island. Mom often  talked about the kids down there.”

In particular, June and Max were impressed by the full-time school for children with mental disabilities, run directly out of the Exuma Foundation campus on Great Exuma. The school continues to operate to this day, providing a safe place to learn and interact for children of all ages.

June and Max, the owners of Dawe’s Mechanical (1981) Ltd, in Newfoundland, first starting visiting the island in the late 80s. Tracey and her sister, Kelly Arnold, cannot recall how they discovered Exuma, which back then would have been far less developed and known compared to today.

The family stayed at the Minns Cottages, just outside George Town. Tracey said the Minns were always considered “our second family”.

It was love at first sight for June and Max, in Exuma. Apart from the spectacular beauty, she said that, coming from Newfoundland, there is a certain intimacy and authenticity about the people. They quickly related to the challenges and nuances of island life, and the impact it had on the culture.

“In the end, I think it was just the friendly people. Island people, I mean,” she explained.

Xmas kids
The Exuma Foundation runs a full-time school for children with special needs.

“Everyone knows everybody. Somebody gets in trouble, they help you out. There are no strangers like in the city, That is the culture in Exuma.”

In carrying on this legacy, the Exuma Foundation of Canada will use their generous gift to continue its mission of uplifting youth on the island. In just a few short years, the registered foundation, which can issue tax receipts to Canadians, has provided scholarship to students, helped purchase a hospital bus for the island, re-built the local basketball court, and established a cycling club at the local high school to encourage health and wellness.

For American donors the Ohio based Exuma Foundation of America can issue tax receipts for American tax payers.

Next month, the third annual Tour de Turquoise will kick off on Exuma, inviting philanthropists from abroad to ride side by side with children on the island, all to raise funds for initiatives that will have an impact on their lives.

“It is a special experience to see the impact you can  have on this island,” said Howard Chang, the founder of the ride. “The people are indeed special, and you can really see the impact on your donations or volunteerism. Even if you aren’t a cyclist, I encourage people to come out and get involved.”

To learn more about the ride, click here.