One ‘average’ person’s not-so-average contribution

Like most seniors, Diana Bacon is on a fixed income, but thanks to frugal living, she always has money left at the end of the month — money she’s more than happy to give away.

“If I have disposable income, why waste it? I prefer to give it somewhere it’s needed,” she says. “As long as I have a house to live in and food to eat, what am I going to spend money on?”

Bacon’s largest charitable contribution is to the Bacon Family Fund, a donor-advised fund she created with Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) in 2000. At the time, having retired from teaching and managing the Edmonton Youth Orchestra (EYO), she was a volunteer with the Seniors’ Association of Greater Edmonton and served on boards of other organizations. All four of Bacon’s children had played in the orchestra, a tradition continued by many of her grandchildren. She and her husband had always given to charity — even during their family’s leanest years — but after learning about ECF, she opted for a more long-term approach to giving.

Half of the family fund supports the EYO, and each year, Bacon and her children choose a second charity to receive the other half of the money. Her children will one day take over the fund.

In addition to growing the fund each year, Bacon has named ECF a recipient of a life insurance policy and once gave the Foundation all of her shares in a publicly traded company. Over the years, she’s gotten a kick out of seeing these contributions add up and help her community.

“I’m a very average person,” says Bacon. “If all of the average people gave a little bit, we’d give more than the rich people in the long run.”