The Ewan Fund: giving to The Haven in perpetuity

Gwendolyn Ellen Ewan was one of our Victoria Circle members here at the Victoria Foundation. This is her story as told by The Haven, the grantee organization that will now receive support through the fund established by Gwen’s thoughtful bequest gift.

I am delighted and honoured to share with you the information about the Ewan Fund, created by Gwen Ewan, Haven core faculty member, Director of Education and beloved friend and mentor to many. Gwen passed away in August 2012. Her legacy to The Haven is extensive, and now includes this most generous bequest. Before going in to the details, I want to share these words from Gwen’s dear friend and co-leader, Wayne Dodge.

Gwen Ewan loved The Haven. She was not someone who fell in love lightly – and when she did, she did so whole heartedly. As with any love affair – there were ups and downs. And even times when she considered walking away. But Gwen was a determined person, if nothing else, and, once deciding to stay with something, did so in her ‘firm-chinned’ manner.

Thus, it was not surprising that, after remembering her beloved niece and nephews, she left the bulk of her estate to The Haven. This is in addition to a significant bequest for a scholarship at the University of Alberta to support female graduate students from the NWT. However, she did not expect to actually do so. While she was alive we discussed her plans in detail and she fully planned to live long enough to use up the money for travel and to live on. Regretfully this did not happen.

Gwen, in her thoughtful way, wanted to provide ongoing support for the work done at The Haven – but only so long as it holds firm to its core principles, as outlined by Ben and Jock, that she found instrumental in her own life. And, she wanted this to be an ongoing support. So she donated this money to the Victoria Foundation to administer as an endowment – and each year the Haven will get the income from the bequest.

So now that her estate has successfully negotiated probate – lovingly shepherded by her lifelong friend John Dillon – her wishes and large heart can be honoured by this annual gift to The Haven.

The Victoria Foundation will be administering the Ewan Fund, which was established after Gwen’s death through her estate, with the terms set up by Gwen during her lifetime. It is designated to the Haven Foundation which means we will receive an annual grant. Gwen’s request is that it goes to the area of greatest need, which is a huge benefit for The Haven as we are able to select a priority area on an annual basis. The only condition required is that Haven Foundation must adhere to its philosophy and teaching principles, as created by our Founders Bennet Wong and Jock McKeen.

The fund was established with a gift from the estate of over half a million dollars in April 2015 and the first disbursement of funds will happen in 2016. The board of the Victoria Foundation sets a distribution rate for all funds like the Ewan Fund. The fund pays out the amount, based on the distribution rate, in February of the following year. If the distribution rate for 2016 is the same as for 2015, Haven Foundation will receive more than $20,000 from the fund.

I am very moved witnessing Gwen’s generosity, her love of The Haven and her unerring eye for detail. This is a very generous gift, which will contribute to The Haven’s important work in perpetuity.

Story written by Rachel Davey


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