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Learn more about the impact charitable giving has in Southwestern Alberta

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Giving Together

Published in March annually, Giving Together showcases our work in the community by listing all grants awarded each year and featuring impact stories about some of the projects supported by our many grants programs.

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Guide to Giving

Our Guide to Giving can help you answer questions about how you can support the community through our work.

Guide to Giving

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2023 Fall Grant Recipients

“Charity begins at home, and Southwestern Alberta is our home”

– Eric Hillman, Community Foundation Donor

How the Community Foundation Helps

Click the links below to learn more about how the Community Foundation helps build a vibrant and inclusive community.

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Impact Stories

Donors create a legacy by establishing a fund that supports the community, now and forever.

The Boulets

Established by his family, Toby, Bernadine, and Mariko, in 2019, Logan’s fund honours his life by continuing to give back to the charities that mattered to him.

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From Loss to Legacy: The Logan Boulet Endowment Fund

“When we come into the Community Foundation, people are always greeting us. We feel like we’re appreciated, and we feel like we are part of a family. “

That is how Bernadine (Bernie) Boulet, mother of the late Logan Boulet, who passed away after the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018, describes her family’s experience working with the Community Foundation.

Logan’s father, Toby, agrees with that sentiment. With the tragic passing of their son Toby, Bernie, and their daughter Mariko had many unexpected and difficult decisions to make.

“The decision to come to the Community Foundation was very, very easy,” says Toby.

Logan’s passing was a national tragedy, but his legacy lives on in a number of ways. First, there is the Logan Boulet Effect, which instantly became a nationwide movement encouraging people to register as organ donors after it became known that Logan had chosen to be a donor himself. His legacy also lives on through a fund established from memorial gifts to KidSport Lethbridge and Taber, an organization that helps children and youth access sports they might not otherwise afford. At the time of Logan’s Celebration of Life, those memorial gifts served as a fitting tribute to his passion for athletics and his concern for others who did not have the privileges he had. In 2019, the Logan Boulet Effect spawned Green Shirt Day, a nation-wide campaign to promote organ donor registration and awareness that is recognized annually on April 7th, Logan’s day of passing.

The fourth way Logan’s legacy lives on is through the Logan Boulet Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation.

“Everyone wants to have a legacy, so in Logan’s case we helped form that legacy by honouring what he did . . .  and what we think he might be doing in the future,” says Toby.  The family used money from fundraisers, donations, and their own gifts to establish a fund with four pillars: organ donations, fine arts and youth sports, Special Olympics, and community projects.

Immediately after the bus crash, a nation stunned by the scale of the tragedy reached out to help. A GoFundMe campaign for the Broncos on the bus and their families raised over $15 million in just 12 days, the largest crowdfunding initiative in Canadian history.

The Boulets began exploring how to accept this outpouring of support, but they were not sure what their best option might be.

“One of our friends, whose son also passed in the crash, set up a fund through the Saskatoon Community Foundation. Another family created their own foundation, and another family just decided to manage it themselves, with their own bookkeeping and bank accounts. It was confusing, but after we talked with the family who took the Saskatoon Foundation route, that seemed to be the way to go for us,” says Bernie.

In the early days, people were making gifts or supporting the Friends of Logan Boulet Golf Tournament that raised additional funds, but the Boulets could not provide tax receipts and did not have a process to support funding requests. They also couldn’t make the money sustainable through continued growth. Now, with the Logan Boulet Endowment Fund, donors can receive a tax receipt from the Community Foundation and know they are supporting an investment that will continue to grow.

Bernie says the comfort of having the Community Foundation professionally manage Logan’s fund makes awarding grants seamless for them. With the help of Charleen Davidson, Executive Director of the Community Foundation, and her team, the Boulets can focus on where they want the money to go instead of worrying about administration, financial management, or an application process.

“Being able to come to the Community Foundation makes a big difference because we know the money is taken care of. There were so many things we didn’t know but the Community Foundation does. Now we can take Logan’s legacy, back to the community and give back to things that were important to him and to us and make a difference,” says Bernie.

“Charleen has done a fantastic job of guiding us along and helping us make decisions on how things work. . . and we don’t have to take applications, we just get to say where it goes. The fund is substantial now and now we can give a nice amount away each year,” says Toby. “People might be donating $1,000 but it’s not just $1,000 today – it is going to this endowment that grows over time; the money they’re contributing is forever. That makes me feel really good.”

The story of the Boulets’ connection to the Community Foundation would not be full without the story of the tragedy and the beauty of what came first: The Logan Boulet Effect.

Tears are just under the surface as they recall the day.

“We were on the way to watch the hockey game when the crash happened; we weren’t far behind the bus and we came across the crash site,” explains Bernie. At first, they didn’t know it was a crash site. They pulled over and the day just “rolled.”

“We tried to find Logan and we were told to go to a church in Nipawin to wait with other loved ones. By the time we found out that Logan was at the Nipiwan hospital, he’d already been airlifted to Saskatoon so we went there as quickly as we could. We got to the Saskatoon hospital. Finally, someone came to us and said ‘we’ve located Logan – he’s in ICU here’.”

They were taken into a conference room that had a board listing the names of those who had been on the bus, showing some in ICU and some who were now angels; they had not survived.

“Logan was on the board as being in ICU. We thought ‘good he’s still alive,’ and then we got the news that his injury was more than he could overcome, and he was not going to survive. So we asked about a second opinion. They said all the best doctors in Saskatoon were there and there wasn’t much else for us to do. Then we asked if Logan could be an organ donor,” Bernie explains.

Sixteen people died as a result of the crash, 14 at the site and two, including Logan, in the hospital. Only Logan met the conditions needed to be an organ donor.

“The number of people who can be organ donors is so small and all the things have to be aligned just right. It didn’t happen for the rest of the people, but we believe other families would have wanted their loved one to be a donor too. It seemed like it was the right thing to do. Logan wasn’t going to need his organs where he was going and to be able to get them to people who need them – it would make a huge difference.”

Bernie and Toby knew that their son was a registered organ donor. He had been inspired by his former coach Ric Suggitt, who was a registered organ donor. Suggitt passed away in 2017 and six of his organs were donated. Logan registered to be an organ donor just five weeks before the bus crash.

“Logan’s decision to become an organ donor was his decision,” Toby adds. “Right after the crash – the next day,” Toby explains, “news came out of Toronto naming the spike in the interest in organ donation the ‘Logan Boulet Effect.’ Organ donor registrations in Canada shot through the roof . . .  and it just kept going.”

Thanks to his decision, six different individuals received Logan’s organs.

That intensity of loss, the power to make a difference, and the generosity of others led the Boulets to establish the Logan Boulet Endowment Fund right at home.

Toby chokes back tears explaining that many people were asking Davidson about a fund for Logan and suggesting she contact the family.

“But Charleen said ‘no, they will come when they are ready’. And we did come in when the time was right for us.”

“We came here . . . Charleen never came to us; we came to her. She opened doors, and we were able to discuss what we wanted for our family, the endowment, and Logan. The Community Foundation is very open – it’s an easy process. It never was overwhelming,“ says Toby.

Bernie and Toby appreciate the respectful and caring approach at the Community Foundation.

“This might sound like a small thing, but it is not,” Toby explains. “My mom and dad made donations to Logan’s fund. My dad passed, but my mom still made donations.  Charleen would always write a handwritten note. People don’t do that anymore. This handwritten note – it’s not computer-generated and typed up and fired out. It is hand-handwritten and it is something to hold – it is something to cherish – someone actually wrote it. My mom likes the notes.”

The Community Foundation’s care flows into its professionalism as well.

“Coming to the Community Foundation allows you to know that you’re being taken care of. The people genuinely care for you, and they ensure your fund is administered according to your wishes and in a way that is best for you and your loved one’s legacy. It’s important. People wonder when they’re trying to set up something like we did, ‘Is this going to be safe? Is this going to be trustworthy?’ and – yes, it is here,” says Bernie.

“We want people to know how greatly we appreciate the people at the Community Foundation and the support they give us, whether it’s just a little word, or a note, or an e-mail. Just knowing that that support is there and that if we ever need help, we can go there,” says Bernie.

The Boulets are family to the Community Foundation Team. We are profoundly moved that they are honouring their son Logan by supporting his community through our work.

The Tymko Family

The Tymkos hope that their family fund has a lasting impact not just throughout the community, but within their family as well.

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Perspectives on Giving Back: A Donor-Advised Fund Success Story

The Community Foundation’s many donors come from a variety of different backgrounds, and have a variety of different goals and priorities to match. Regardless of position, means, or perspective, however, it can safely be said that all donors are united by a passion for their community and a generosity of spirit to help improve it. This generosity makes truly remarkable things happen. Whether donors choose to support the Community Priorities Fund or establish a private endowment fund, their gifts help address the needs of the day while establishing a legacy that helps build a vibrant community as it continues to grow.

Private endowment funds offer Community Foundation donors the freedom and flexibility to support the community in an entirely personal way. When Kim and Trina Tymko established their family endowment fund, they had a vision of using it to show their gratitude to a community that had made their business a success and helped their family thrive. The former proprietors of Prime Rentals Ltd., the Tymkos had initially become familiar with community charitable giving from a commercial perspective. “One of our slogans with Prime Rentals was ‘no is not an answer.’ If someone came to us for a donation, we would always make something work,” says Trina Tymko. “A good portion of it was gift in-kind,” adds her husband, Kim. The Tymkos view their involvement as an indivisible component of any sponsorship they’d provide. “As part of our donations, we would make an effort to participate in the community event. We felt that our support wasn’t just in writing a cheque or loaning a piece of equipment. We somewhat became attached to the donation,” Trina says. She cites their participation with the Lethbridge International Air Show as one such example: Kim served on the event’s board of directors and Trina acted as a media liaison. Offering their time and effort alongside their material contributions was a way for the Tymkos to connect with the community beyond the atmosphere of corporate sponsorship. “We wanted the community to know that this is who we are. We are people, we were not a corporate entity,” explains Trina. They learned that putting the phrase “we support the communities that support us” into action was a key to their success.

After selling Prime Rentals in 2019, the Tymkos had entered a new phase of their lives and were eager to pay more direct attention to their charitable goals. They began their philanthropic journey with the Community Foundation the same year, establishing a Donor-Advised Endowment Fund. “We had already been thinking about trying to do something or set something up, so this just made sense,” Kim says. He and Trina were drawn to the Community Foundation because it gave them the option to provide support for a wide array of causes right in their own backyard—and the benefits of endowing their gift made good financial sense. “It takes care of our money and lets it grow, so we have more money to give in the end,” says Trina. “For the amount of years the Community Foundation has been around, [there’s] a proven track record of accountability and transparency.”

A Donor-Advised fund gives them the tools to provide financial support through grants to personally-chosen causes and organizations as they see fit. “When we made our initial donation and established our fund, we didn’t know 100% at that time where we wanted to use it,” recalls Trina. They had tentatively decided to focus on initiatives that provide support for children and families, while at the same time generating awareness of the issues addressed by these initiatives through the donations themselves. “You don’t know where it’s needed until you know what you know,” says Trina.

The search for a cause that spoke meaningfully to the Tymkos led them to Wood’s Homes, which provides treatment and support to children, youth, and families with mental health needs. Wood’s Homes operates an emergency shelter— known as “The CORE”—for youth up to the age of 18, and also provides outreach and both phone-in and walk-in crisis “We are committed to making a difference in areas that have touched our family while bringing about awareness in our community.” —Trina Tymko, Community Foundation Fundholder Community Foundation donors Trina and Kim Tymko with Wood’s Homes Program Manager Shauna Cohen and Community Foundation Executive Director Charleen Davidson. support. “We provide that temporary safe place to stay, but part of the work that we do, in conjunction with meeting the basic needs of young people who are at risk of homelessness, is we also work with the family,” says Wood’s Homes Lethbridge Program Manager Shauna Cohen. She adds that recent events have only served to increase the pressure felt by Wood’s Homes and many other organizations working in this field. “Mental health issues have increased throughout the pandemic,” Cohen says. “We’re seeing a need now more than ever.”

Being able to provide support for initiatives addressing mental health was a priority for the Tymkos. “Our family has been affected by mental health issues. It’s been a huge challenge,” says Trina. “We have the means to be able to help ourselves, but there are so many families that just don’t have those means.” For Cohen, that’s where Wood’s Homes and its resources can play a role. “Lots of people need help, and we just want to make sure people [and] families know that we’re a safe, supportive, non-judgmental place to turn to. If we can do anything to keep those kids off the street, we’re going to do as much as we possibly can,” she says.

According to Cohen, Wood’s Homes receives a great deal of its operational funding from provincial and municipal governments, but there are, unfortunately, shortfalls. “It doesn’t necessarily cover the need—the additional things that people need, those unforeseen things we don’t typically get,” she says. Wood’s Homes supplements its budget through fundraising, but the organization must still be strategic with how its resources are deployed. “We have to use our funds [to staff the shelter] in the hours of greatest need,” she says. Consequently, the emergency shelter isn’t able to stay open year-round during daytime hours, including on the weekend. “This year we were not fully funded for two staff to be able to keep the doors open during the winter,” says Cohen. “Fortunately, because of the Tymkos, we have been able to do that.”

The Tymkos awarded a $21,000 grant from their family fund to Wood’s Homes in December of 2021. Thanks to this grant, Cohen says the shelter has been able to schedule staff and provide support during the daytime on weekends, which has been especially significant in the face of cold weather. The grant also gave Wood’s Homes a boost in funding for smaller expenses, such as employment attire, additional counseling, and transportation passes—what Cohen describes as “those things that don’t get included as line items in our budget. [The grant] has had a huge impact on what we’re able to do as an organization for vulnerable young people in our community.”

Cohen indicates that in the two months since first receiving the grant, Wood’s Homes has already been able to support youth during the weekend on a total of 45 separate occasions, providing for access to basic needs through the shelter or crisis counseling with staff members. “Right there, that’s help, especially during times like this,” Cohen says. “The biggest piece right now is that we’re going to make sure that kids have a safe place to be or come to on the weekends,” she says. “There’s such a great need, but it’s so nice to see that a family that has the ability to contribute is trying a little bit at a time to address some of those needs.”

As much as their gift aligns with their goal to provide support for a personally meaningful cause, the Tymkos also hope that it might bring some much-needed advocacy and public awareness. “We want it to be about the organization that we’re giving to, and what their need is, and why they have this need,” says Trina. She asserts this need exists in part due to gaps in government funding. “The government is lacking in their support for youth,” she says. “We’re having to do this because our government is not. They’re not supporting these very important organizations.”

The Tymkos hope that their family fund has a lasting impact not just throughout the community, but within their family as well. The opportunity to play an active role in making remarkable things happen is one they’re keen on seizing and passing down. “We want to be directly involved while we are still here to see the difference we are making with our giving,” says Kim. “It’s a legacy that we want our kids to be very proud of, that we’re using our money towards good in the community,” adds Trina. “It’s not just us, it’s a family contribution.” Having brought together the Tymkos, Wood’s Homes, and the community at large, it’s certainly a contribution that demonstrates how Southwestern Alberta is a place that thrives through generosity.

Dr. and Mrs. David & Shirley Hughes

Inspiring youth involvement in community service and philanthropy led Hughes to work with the Community Foundation to develop a granting program geared toward the younger segment of the community.

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Dr. and Mrs. David & Shirley Hughes: Goodwill through Grantmaking

Community Foundation donor Dr. David Hughes is a frequent and welcome guest at our office. He’ll often drop by for a quick visit, to file a grant request in person, or to share something he thought we might find interesting. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to state that he is one of the reasons our candy dish is always well stocked. Talking with David—and other donors like him—during these always-welcome visits sheds a fascinating light on who our donors are as people, what they are passionate about, and why they have chosen to make philanthropy part of their lives.

What comes to mind for Hughes when he thinks about why he gives is, of all things, a university professor from Australia whom he encountered during a vacation some years ago. The professor told him that when a person engages in some form of charitable activity, it causes regions of the brain associated with pleasure and happiness to light up with activity. “I have felt that helping others is considered to be the best source of happiness,” affirms Hughes. In a way, his encounter with the professor verified for him what he had always known for himself about giving, and why it has become such a significant part of life for him and his wife, Shirley.

David and Shirley have been among the Community Foundation’s most active donors since establishing their fund in 2000. That fund, the David and Shirley Hughes Endowment, has awarded numerous grants throughout Southwestern Alberta over the years, supporting food banks, disaster relief, and youth empowerment, to name just a few. The decision to establish their endowment came as a matter of procedure. “When the time came to consider estate planning, many decisions needed to be made,” says Hughes. A tenure on the Community Foundation’s Investment Committee had introduced him to its charitable—and fiscal—benefits. “Of appeal to us is having a professionally managed fund that will grow, distribute grants, and continue our focus into the future,” he says.

That focus is guided by a long-held principle that giving is as much a responsibility as it is its own reward. “Shirley and I have always been believers in the saying ‘to whom much has been given, much is expected,’” says Hughes. This belief has spurred their service to their church, the local Kinsmen and Kinette clubs, the Rotary Club of Lethbridge, the family YMCA, and the University of Lethbridge (U of L). Particularly significant for the Hughes is support for the next generation through higher education. David served two terms as Chair of the U of L’s Board of Governors, as well as two terms on the institution’s Finance Committee; he and Shirley also sponsor two scholarships for students of the university. “Of note is that the primary consideration for one of [the awards] is community service by the student,” says Hughes.

Inspiring youth involvement in community service and philanthropy led Hughes to work with the Community Foundation to develop a granting program geared toward the younger segment of the community. The Youth in Action granting program supports projects led and developed by Southwestern Albertans up to the age of 25. “[The program] was developed to inspire youth to become active members in their community, and display that through volunteerism and leadership,” recounts Hughes. An important component of the program is the requirement for youth to partner with a registered charity on their project, granting them a unique opportunity to work alongside an organization on a cause that’s important to them. “[One of our goals was] to inspire youth to be involved in community service, and enrich the lives of the young people who will be tomorrow’s leaders.” Since 2012, the Youth in Action Grants Program has supported dozens of projects throughout Southwestern Alberta. Hughes keeps an eye on the submissions every year, and occasionally funds projects that appeal to him and Shirley personally from their endowment fund.

One might expect the pleasure centres of David and Shirley Hughes’ minds to light up like Christmas, considering how consistently they share their good fortune with their community. Yet for them, the importance of philanthropy lies beyond recognition or personal satisfaction. Sharing what they have been blessed with is, in their minds, their duty. “We’ve been very lucky,” asserts David. It’s a true testament, not only to their goodwill, but also to their passion and love for their community that they have spread that luck around. By sharing their knowledge, their resources, and their friendship, David and Shirley Hughes have created a legacy that will continue to be—like their visits—a frequent and welcome source of happiness, now, and in the years to come.

John and Irene Frouws

John and Irene Frouws left a significant portion of their estate to the Community Foundation with the intent for their gift to support areas of most pressing need, now and forever.

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Community Priorities Fund enables John and Irene Frouws to support Southwestern Alberta forever

Both John and Irene Frouws experienced poverty during the Great Depression, as well as a prolonged separation from each other during WWII. Although he was offered an excellent position in Europe following the war, John couldn’t wait to return to Southwestern Alberta and his beloved Irene.

John and Irene were optimists through adversity, and shared a belief in building family and community through hard work. While raising two children and living modestly, they still found time to give back. John and Irene expressed their love for their community through volunteer work and contributions to local organizations and charities.

Not only did they care about their friends and neighbours, they also loved and respected the land. Over their years together, John and Irene enjoyed many coulee climbs, searching for saskatoon berries and enjoying the gift of nature. They were avid gardeners, winning Canada’s Best Veterans’ Vegetable and Flower Garden trophy for five consecutive years.

John and Irene left a significant portion of their estate to the Community Foundation, directing their gift to the Community Priorities Fund, where it helps support programming and initiatives for dozens of charities throughout Southwestern Alberta every year.

Elmer and Ida Wiens

The Elmer and Ida Wiens Fund is a Field of Interest Fund that supports charities working to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities.

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The Ida Wiens Story: A legacy of support for children with disabilities and their families

Anyone who knew the late Ida Wiens of Coaldale will tell you she was a true friend, a lover of travel and a valued community member. Wiens also left a legacy to her community that will live forever through the Community Foundation.

Although Wiens grew up in Saskatchewan, where she attended teachers’ college, she and husband Elmer called Coaldale home from 1948 on. She retired in 1980, ending her teaching career of more than 32 years. According to her dear friend Jennie Emery, retirement didn’t slow Ida down one bit. “Ida belonged to the Coaldale Arts and Crafts group, enjoyed china painting, and took regular long walks,” says Emery. “She also loved to travel, taking many trips, her favourite being a five-month trip around the world where she and Elmer visited every continent.”

Wiens was also a loving mother to her son, who died in his youth in 1978. Knowing firsthand the joys and challenges her own son experienced due to his developmental disability, Wiens directed the Elmer and Ida Wiens Fund at the Community Foundation to support charities that provide enhanced opportunities for other children with disabilities.

The Community Foundation is proud to facilitate the positive impact that Mr. and Mrs. Wiens’ contribution has on the charities working to ensure those with developmental disabilities live meaningful, successful lives in a community that welcomes their contribution and potential.

Jean B. Willoughby

The Jean B. Willoughby Fund is a Donor Designated Fund that supports the YWCA Women’s Leadership program with an annual grant.

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A lasting tribute for Jean

While reflecting on key role models in her life, Barb Cavers sees her mother, Jean Willoughby, as the most prominent. “I have come to appreciate that she had a much greater influence on me than I had realized,” she says.

Barb fondly remembers her mother as a patient and strongly committed person. She spent years sewing 2,500 cotton yo-yos for a beautiful quilt that is now a family heirloom. That determination and commitment is something that translated into many aspects of Jean’s life. Barb credits her mother for instilling within her similar strong ideals. “So many of my values are those that I learned from her,” she recalls. “Things like the importance of family, unconditional support of your children, always being a learner, community service, generosity, creativity and commitment.”

Jean provided a wonderful example of community service for her family, and was always involved in volunteer work, even into her 80s. She gave many years of service to the YWCA and Barb followed in her footsteps. They were the first mother-daughter team on the YWCA Board of Directors.

After Jean passed away in 2009, Barb began to search for a way to honour her memory. “I wanted to pay tribute to my mother and the many ways that she contributed to her community.” Barb felt that naming a fund at the Community Foundation in honour of her mother was the perfect way to keep her memory alive. The Jean B. Willoughby Fund supports the YWCA Women’s Leadership Fund. This fund remains open for any future donors to participate in as contributors.

“I chose the Community Foundation primarily because of the ability to make the gift last, through investing in an endowment fund,” explains Barb. “I like the idea that my mother will be remembered in the community for generations.”

Alistair McLennan “Mac” Harvey

Mac Harvey, avid outdoorsman and adventurer, bequeathed a portion of his estate to the Community Foundation upon his passing in 2014.

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For Mac Harvey, life was an adventure. An avid outdoorsman and world traveler, he maintained an active lifestyle and travelled extensively into his 70s. His travels took him through Europe, the northern U.S.A., Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Australia, South America, Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, and across Canada.

Mac’s love of adventure included skiing, sailing, trekking, cycling, and mountaineering. He was a member of the Chinook Outdoor Club, where he met Geoff Bradshaw on a hiking trip to Chief Mountain. The two discovered they’d attended the same grammar school in northern England and became fast friends.

“Mac was always more interested in what you had done and where you had been,” remembers Bradshaw. “It was only through these conversations that you would find out all of these amazing things about him.”

In his professional life, Mac specialized in Animal Science and Agricultural Economics. He took an early retirement from his position as Regional Economist for Alberta Agriculture to “see how the 90% of the less fortunate of the world manage to survive.” This was when he discovered a passion for giving back.

He began accepting occasional overseas consulting jobs and short term project work with CESO (Canadian Executive Service Organization). He described this work as fulfilling and that it “aroused a new respect for others, a wider outlook on life and an appreciation for the blessings of good health.”

He also continued to travel for pleasure, making new friends along the way. In a holiday letter to friends, he recounted his adventures and dubbed it “yet another year of a charmed life.”

“The journey, fellow travellers, chance encounters, fortuitous events and new friends en route, all reward more than the final destination,” he wrote.

Sadly, after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2008, Mac’s world changed. He was no longer able to safely go outside of his residence, let alone travel the world and maintain his level of activity. Bradshaw continued to visit Mac on a regular basis, until his passing in February 2014.

Mac left a gift through life insurance to the Community Foundation—a generous act of lasting support for the causes about which he felt passionate. His gift became part of the Community Priorities Fund, supporting the Community Foundation’s largest, unrestricted, granting program. Through his generosity, Mac’s passion for his community will live on forever.

Dolores Brown

Dolores Brown’s Field of Interest Fund leaves a legacy of support for youth in sport.

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Dolores Brown is remembered fondly by her family and friends as someone with an active mind and body. “She enjoyed life and was a truly lovely person,” recalls her friend and business associate Mary Rose Mrazek. A long-time resident of Lethbridge, Dolores raised five children, worked fulltime as a supervisor at the hospital prior to retirement, and returned to the University of Lethbridge at the age of 56 to earn a Bachelor of Nursing degree. “That was something she wanted to do for herself, for her own personal satisfaction and growth,” said Mary Rose.

Throughout her life, Dolores was physically active, spending her spare time walking, cycling, golfing, and downhill skiing. She played the piano for her own enjoyment and taught herself French. “Dolores really valued education and recognized its importance,” says Mary Rose. “Dolores was also very involved in the community, taking delight in the Lethbridge Twinning Society and Friendship Force, an international organization that chooses individuals to travel as ambassadors for their country. “She thoroughly enjoyed trips to interesting places, including Chile, Australia, and many destinations in Europe, among others,” says Mary Rose.

Dolores bequeathed a portion of her estate to the Community Foundation, with an intention to support physical activity for youth. The annual income from the Dolores Brown Athletic Fund helps children to participate in skating, skiing, swimming, or any other number of individual sport activities. The fund enables children to learn and grow, increase their self-esteem, and enjoy fun and healthy activities as they engage in individual sports.

As Mrazek says, “I think she would be very happy knowing that her donation was put to such good use year after year.”

Mirella and Maria Zappone

The Mirella and Maria Zappone Fund for Social Justice is a Memorial Fund that sustains the legacy of two local teachers with an annual scholarship.

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Many of the Community Foundation’s endowment funds are established to memorialize the life of a loved one. It’s a way of keeping thoughts of these special people in our hearts and in our minds, and sharing their legacy with others. It was from this perspective that Community Foundation donor Giuseppe Zappone established the Mirella Zappone Fund for Social Justice, after his youngest daughter’s sudden death in 2004. Her passion for fighting inequality became a way for her family—her parents, siblings and their spouses, and her four nephews—to coax a semblance of positivity from their grief.

Initially, the fund lent support to students from Mirella’s former high school who were participating in an annual pilgrimage to Mexico. “My sister had worked in Mexico for two years, so that was what the money was earmarked for,” said Frank Zappone, Mirella’s brother. “She had spent some time working in a library for the disadvantaged, so my dad wanted it to go to that sort of cause, for those in Mexico that didn’t have access to education.” Giuseppe himself passed away just over a year after Mirella, and the fund that he started to champion causes that embodied Mirella’s spirit would now reflect his, as well. “We used the fund also when my dad passed away rather than accepting flowers or gifts,” says Zappone, so that if people wanted to they could donate.”

The family dealt with tragedy once more in May of 2018, when another member of the Zappone family—Maria—passed away after a brief battle with cancer. “We decided that since they both had causes they were fighting for and passionate about—my one sister was more politically motivated, my other sister was a teacher and more passionate about student oriented causes—we felt that adding [Maria] to the fund would keep both of their names in our memory.” says Zappone. A teacher at St. Francis Junior High School in Lethbridge until her passing, Maria’s belief in social equality made her an impassioned supporter of her students.

While staying true to its original intentions, the fund has grown and evolved as circumstances have necessitated. When the high school pilgrimage to Mexico was discontinued, the family transferred the scholarship to the Lethbridge College, where it currently supports students interested in social justice who have themselves overcome some sort of obstacle. A generous bequest from Maria, combined with the many memorial donations made by friends, colleagues, and former students, will allow the annual scholarship to double in value. “The money is directed to those who are in need, and those who have a specific cause that they are fighting for,” says Zappone. Social justice is huge, not in just what goes on in our little world, but across the entire world. People who are exposed to that and fight for what they think is right is very important. And to tie that to both my sisters’ support for that idea is great.”

The Mirella and Maria Zappone Fund for Social Justice, though it has its roots in tragic events, demonstrates the resiliency that can be found in even the toughest of circumstances. This fund—and other memorial endowments like it—sustains a legacy that touches lives, just as Mirella and Maria once did. “I feel honoured that this scholarship is going towards someone who really needs it, in remembrance of my two sisters,” says Zappone. “It is great for me to see that their livelihoods live on, what they stood for lives on, and that somebody is getting something good out it.” While both of their lives were too short, Mirella and Maria’s legacies will live forever through their memorial endowment fund at the Community Foundation.

W.C. Shirley Memorial Fund

This endowment fund commemorates the life of Regimental Sergeant Major William C. Shirley and provides annual support for the Lethbridge Military Museum.

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The Shirley girls and their families remember Regimental Sergeant Major William C. Shirley as a humble, hardworking man, a veteran of World War II who earned the respect and admiration of his fellow soldiers. A lifelong resident of Lethbridge, Sergeant Major Shirley passed away in 1974, but his memory lives on through his family, and through others who knew and loved him. His memory also lives on through the memorial fund at the Community Foundation that bears his name.

Shirley signed up for Canada’s Non-Permanent Active Militia in 1925, becoming a member of the 20th Field Battery of the Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA) stationed in Lethbridge. By the late 1930s, he had attained the rank of Sergeant Major, and in September of 1939, days before Canada declared war on Germany, he volunteered for active service. As a member—and later Regimental Sergeant—of the 2nd Anti-Tank Regiment, RCA, Shirley was deployed to England, France, and Germany. In recognition of his service, he was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. After returning to Lethbridge following the war, Shirley worked briefly as a corrections officer at the jail before taking a position managing the bottle depot at Sick’s Breweries. He and his wife Vera raised three daughters: Jane, Linda, and Diane.

Linda recalls that her father gained the friendship and respect of many among Lethbridge’s enlisted and commissioned. “The stories I’ve heard about my dad from anyone who served with him—they could not speak more highly,” she says. Growing up, her home was often a hub for gatherings of her father’s military buddies. “A lot of the guys would meet at our house for parties on Remembrance Day and other times during the year. There was always laughing and singing,” says Linda. “They were all such good friends.”

Upon his death, many of Shirley’s friends and fellow veterans took up a collection in his honour, using the funds to support causes related to the military. An early beneficiary of the group’s generosity came through the establishment of a scholarship bearing Shirley’s name, for members of Lethbridge’s contingent of youth cadets. The sum grew through additional gifts in the decades that followed, making possible a great deal of charitable activity that was managed by members of the group themselves. In 1997, at the behest of the remaining veterans associated with the memorial, Linda became involved and transferred the balance of the donations to the Community Foundation, establishing the W.C. Shirley Memorial Endowment Fund.

The memorial fund enables the family to remember their father in a way that maintains the spirit of his life and serves the community. Service, especially in the military, is a family value: Shirley served alongside two brothers-in-law during World War II; his wife, Vera, was a sergeant in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps; and Linda devoted a significant part of her career to a position at the savings union at the Legion in Lethbridge. As a testament to their parents’ service, both mother and father are immortalized within the Military Museum’s Mural of Remembrance, a public symbol of the family’s commitment to service.

Even now, decades later, Linda is humbled by the gesture her father’s fellow soldiers made in acknowledgement of that commitment. “We just thought it was amazing, the love and support that we received from so many people back then. They decided to set up this fund so that my dad’s legacy would live on,” she recalls. Her father wasn’t around to see the good his legacy would do—although, more importantly, he lived it. “We were all taught to be there for each other and volunteer,” says Linda. “If you give with an open heart, then you’ve earned your own reward.”

More than 40 years after Shirley’s death, the memorial fund continues to serve as a thoughtful reminder of the causes he fought for and the sacrifices he made. “Anybody who would remember my dad now is gone. He lives in the hearts of our family,” says Linda. As a Donor-Designated Endowment, the fund generates investment income that provides an annual grant to the Lethbridge Military Museum, supporting the organization’s mission to preserve and share Lethbridge’s military history. The W.C. Shirley Memorial Endowment Fund gratefully accept donations from anyone who wishes to contribute.

The Shirley girls and their families honour and remember their father in their own ways. A veteran of World War II, Regimental Sergeant Major Shirley is deserving of our gratitude for his willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice. It is important that we remember him, Sergeant Vera Shirley, and all members of our armed services, past and present, and to understand that their legacy is a nation that is strong and free. The Community Foundation is honoured to help support that legacy through the W.C. Shirley Memorial Endowment Fund.

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