Miriam Bergen, owner and president of Appleton Holdings Ltd., left the gift in her will, which includes the shares of the company.
“It is with immense gratitude I am here today to announce a gift that will be transformational for our community,” said Tom Bryk, Winnipeg Foundation board chair, on Tuesday.
“The late Miriam Bergen, president of Appleton Holdings, has left this unprecedented gift to The Winnipeg Foundation, and we are honoured by the trust she has placed in us. We anticipate when the gift is fully realized, it will provide significant additional resources into the community annually.”
Bergen passed away in January of this year at the age of 66.
Appleton, which carries on business as Edison Properties, owns and manages 27 properties and has approximately 200 employees. The company was founded by Bergen’s late parents, Martin and Ruth.
Doris Gietz, Bergen’s cousin, says most of Miriam’s giving was anonymous because that’s what inspired her, not the recognition.
“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 Bergen’s legacy,” Gietz said.
Watch Tuesday’s news conference:
The Winnipeg Foundation says it’s too early to tell when or how the gift will begin impacting the community for the greater good, as the process of managing the large sum of funds will be orchestrated through the Foundation’s board and staff in the weeks and months ahead.
“We look forward with enthusiasm, commitment, and hope for Winnipeg’s future, as we continue working to help ensure a Winnipeg where community life flourishes for all,” said Sky Bridges, Foundation CEO. “This stunning support from Miriam Bergen, and her love for our city and all who live here, will help us address Winnipeg’s most pressing challenges today, and in the future.”
The Foundation plans on retaining all staff, including the existing management and independent board, of Appleton Holdings Ltd. and Edison Properties to carry on business as usual, as per Bergen’s wishes.