The Only Investment

Story by Montana Jones/photos by Graham Davies—originally published in Watershed Magazine

Several decades ago a bright young woman followed her heart to Cobourg, and later found that new romance was not always the most reliable venture to put stock into. She must have reassembled her heartfolio and discovered Thoreau’s view, because Lynn Hardy has shaped a life around the notion that “goodness is the only investment that never fails.”

Lynn now leads a privileged life…but not the kind you’d imagine. This is a woman whose roster of benevolence includes long hours as patron, volunteer, donor, supporter and friend of an entire community.

“I think it’s a privilege to live here,” she says, radiating kindness. It’s in her voice, in her simplest gestures. Perhaps it explains why she has such an abundance to bestow in return—she’s still investing with her heart and receiving big dividends.

An Investment Advisor at RBC Dominion Securities by day, Lynn’s remaining time is divided between the Rotary Club, Cobourg Library Foundation, Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation, Hospice Northumberland Lakeshore, Victoria Hall and the Vintage Film Festival, the Sandcastle Foundation and Clay Elliot Foundation.  She also shares a home life with waggers Spencer and Maggie, and Don Conway of Pineridge Broadcasting. “Really lovely man…I’m so lucky,” she beams.

She’s had her share of rough patches, but it’s her empathy for the quandaries of others that gives her an unwavering optimism fixed on bright possibilities. “My line of work these days—finance—can be horrible,” she says, “But it’s the people. It doesn’t matter if the markets are bad…the best part of my work is the people, and how I can help them.”

Originally from Toronto, Lynn has infused so much of her energy into Northumberland’s veins she’s now a vital part of its arteries. When she first began working for Richardson Greenshield in 1994, the succession of small town channels began to open up right away. Jeff Rolph and family were involved with Rotarians and the new library, and Rotarian Bob MacCoubrey was library board chair and asked if she’d help out. “He’d always been a leader—a gatherer of enthusiasm,” says Lynn.  It was a short step to David Leeds asking her to join the Planned Giving Committee on the Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation board. In hometown fashion, everybody seemed to be connected to somebody else.

“I got to know deputy mayor Stan Frost and his wife through dog school. They got a beagle named Daisy and I got Spencer and we all went together. And Terry Foord from the Vintage Film Festival, he’s an architect in Port Hope. If I need to find out something for building for the hospital, I can ask him.”

“It’s like a big group hug in this community, there are circles and circles of these big group hugs working together. If I need help with something in one area, I can go to another arm of the group hug and find what I need in the network.”

In keeping with Lynn’s role as head of Planned Giving at the hospital, she gave an endowment in her grandfather’s name. They’re off to a great start by accumulating a million and half dollars so far.

“There are so many caring people in this community, its unbelievable the amount of giving that’s done, and done joyously, not just because it helps them out at tax time or somebody said they should, they really want to.”

Coming from a hospital perspective, Lynn found a whole different rhythm in her six years on the Hospice Northumberland Lakeshore board, three of those as president. “The focus isn’t on how well you aren’t, it’s how well you are living. It’s a very powerful, human experience,” she says, “Hospice is extraordinary for that.”

The Northumberland hearts she has touched would venture that an exuberant and generous Lynn Hardy is the extraordinary one, for investing so much goodness into their community.