Generations of generosity

Doreen Guenette (centre) with her children and grandchildren. Missing: Nicole Tweedy and Damian Tweedy-Flett.

What began as a tiny seed has now blossomed into an enduring legacy of giving.

When Doreen Guenette’s husband passed away in 2000, she decided to make a donation in his memory through St. Boniface Hospital Foundation. With modest donations and fun events, she was able to create the George Guenette Endowment Fund in support of cancer research.

“She began having small events here and there, like an art show, a garden party, a craft sale, and a garage sale. Then she would come and bring in her donations,” said her eldest daughter, Michelle Smith.

She was happy if people gave her as much as $5 or $10 – every little bit counted.

Through Guenette’s events and monthly donations, the George Guenette Endowment Fund bloomed from $5,000 to $50,000 in 17 years. When Guenette herself sadly passed away in November 2017, her family honoured her memory by amending the fund to include Doreen’s name.

“Mom set a good example. She sure showed us what it means to be generous,” said her son, Christopher Guenette. “She truly made the world a better place.”

Guenette’s children and grandchildren are dedicated to growing the George and Doreen Guenette Endowment Fund and celebrating their parents’ legacy.

Her grandchildren fondly remember tagging along on Guenette’s trips to the Foundation office to drop off donations. Through their grandmother’s example, giving has become a normal part of their lives.

Her granddaughter, Lauren Yerama, even added an option to donate to her grandparents’ endowment fund for her wedding shower this year.

“It was special to have a piece of her there, even though she wasn’t able to be there,” she said.

After receiving quite a few donations from the wedding shower, Smith said that she and her siblings plan on picking up where their mom left off: by sending an update on the endowment fund to all their friends and family members, to help keep them engaged.

“I think it gave her a little bit of comfort to know that we would continue with it,” said Smith, who has since signed up to become a monthly donor through the Foundation as well.

“We won’t let her down. We’ll keep it going.”

Learn more about creating an endowment fund or giving a gift in memory of a loved one – your donation matters.