Winnipeg Foundation donated record $500 million on Giving Tuesday

Winnipeg Foundation donated record $500 million on Giving Tuesday

The 2022 Giving Tuesday, held by the Winnipeg Foundation, received the largest donation ever given to a Canadian charity — a record $500-million donation of assets from a late local business owner.

The Winnipeg Foundation's Tom Bryk announces the gift.

The Winnipeg Foundation’s Tom Bryk announces the gift.

Miriam Bergen, who died in January, left the money to the foundation in her will.

Bergen was the president and owner of Appleton Holdings, a company that carries on business as Edison Properties. In her will,the donation to the foundation includes the Appleton shares.

The foundation, which distributes grants to organizations across the city, called the unrestricted bequest a “transformational gift.”

“Here is another example of how the people of Manitoba are the most generous in the country,” foundation board chair Tom Bryk said in a statement.

“Miriam Bergen and her family have left an incredible legacy that will have a positive impact for generations to come and we thank them, from the bottom of our hearts.

“We anticipate when the gift is fully realized, it will provide significant additional resources into the community annually.”

The foundation said Bergen first contacted them several years before her death to discuss options on a potential gift.

Bergen’s cousin, Doris Gietz, said Bergen refused the spotlight, but would be elated to see her wishes honoured.

“Giving to community organizations was a big part of how Miriam showed she cared about people,” Gietz said.

“Most of her giving was anonymous because it was the act of giving, not the recognition, that inspired her.

“However, I feel it is important for the community to know about this gift because it will make such a difference. It is the culmination of her quiet, lifelong generosity and will be the Bergens’ legacy.”

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