The has announced a bequest of at least $117 million from the estate of Daryl K. "Doc" Seaman, co-founder of international oil and gas company Bow Valley Industries.
The gift, believed to be the largest to a community foundation in Canada and the second-largest cash gift in Canadian history, doubles the size of the foundation's discretionary community fund. Renamed in Seaman's honor, the Daryl K. Seaman Foundation Fund will support critical needs in the community in a range of areas, including mental health, aboriginal education, poverty, and sustainability, as determined by the foundation's board. In accordance with Seaman's wishes, the magnitude of the bequest and the identity of the donor had been kept under wraps since his death in 2009. The foundation decided to announce the bequest in the hopes of inspiring others to give, foundation president and CEO Eva Friesen told the .
"Slowly, over the years, people have made the judgment that Doc would be okay with the recognition because it might inspire others to do the same," said Friesen. "It's a big statement from Doc that he cared about the community and believed in what the sector was doing. This is a great show of confidence."
Seaman, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame who helped bring the NHL and the 1988 Winter Olympic Games to the city, left the bulk of his estate, which included several ranches, an oil company, land development projects, and a stock portfolio, to the community fund. As more of those assets are liquidated, the gift is expected to increase and eventually may surpass the largest known cash donation in Canadian history — a $200 million gift from the six years ago in support of efforts to reduce obesity.
"We'll have a final number to announce, possibly in three more years," said Friesen. "But we didn't want to wait that long to honor him."