Celebrating gifts made through a Will or estate

Photo: Legacy Circle, 2016. Summer Bear Dance Troupe performs during The Foundation’s Legacy Circle Celebration

Since The Foundation was established in 1921, hundreds of people from all walks of life have created legacies through The Winnipeg Foundation. Many of these gifts are made through a Will or estate and often The Foundation becomes aware of this generosity only after a donor passes away. To better show appreciation to these thoughtful individuals during their lifetimes, and to help demonstrate the impact their gifts have on our community and future generations of Winnipeggers, The Foundation established the Legacy Circle in 2009.

Legacy Circle members include those who have named The Winnipeg Foundation as a beneficiary of a bequest, charitable trust, life insurance policy, retirement fund, TFSA or other type of legacy gift.

The Foundation’s very first legacy gift was made by Elizabeth Alloway, wife of Winnipeg Foundation founder William Forbes Alloway. Elizabeth was independently wealthy and a philanthropist in her own right; she left her entire private estate to The Foundation. Following William’s death in 1930, the residue of his estate was also contributed to The Foundation.

That the Alloways decided to create a community foundation named for the city they loved ¬ rather than for themselves ¬ and then fund it with the total equity of both of their individual estates shows their charitable endeavours were a partnership. Today, thousands of donors from all walks of life support the community by making gifts. And the reasons behind each legacy gift are extremely personal.

Charles Tax standing next to and with his arm around his sister Susan
Charles Tax with his sister Susan, 2018.

Charles Tax’s younger sister Susan was born with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic condition. She has been involved with Imagine Ability for 47 years and lives in Shalom Residences, which are two charities.

“Because of my sister, we’ve been a beneficiary of the wonderful services available in the community,” Charles said in 2018. “The community has done so much for her – we must give back.”

Charles has included a gift in his estate plan in support of youth. He believes endowments are the key to building a permanent legacy.

“If you want to do something that’s lasting, you have to go the legacy route. I think it’s the best way,” Charles said. “Even a larger, one-time gift doesn’t have the same permanence.”

Frances Kusner’s legacy is the gift of education. Along with her sister Stella Wujek, Frances created scholarships for students at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate Institute and Transcona Collegiate Institute. To date, these funds have helped more than 400 students.

“I’m glad to do something for someone else,” Frances said in 2016. “Because life has been very good to me, I’ve been quite a lucky girl. I had very good parents, a good husband, a good brother-in-law, and a very wonderful sister.”

Frances was born in Transcona in 1916. She volunteered for Revenue Canada for 40 years, completing thousands of tax returns for individuals with modest incomes who were unable to prepare returns on their own. When Revenue Canada went electronic, Frances ¬ in her 80s then ¬ went to Adult Education classes so she could learn how to do tax returns on the computer. At 100 years of age, she received a Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from the Governor General. Frances passed away in 2019 at the age of 103.

Members of the Legacy Circle attend special events hosted by The Foundation, receive specialty publications and more.

Peri Venkatesh and Patrice Yamada

“We may not be remembered for who we are as humans, but that financial gift will plant a seed and that seed will make our community better.”

Peri Venkatesh and Patrice Yamada, Legacy Circle members

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