Canadians give $13M – Big gift for small Ontario charity

Two software engineers from Kitchener, Ontario are donating $13 million to a Canadian community foundation, The Globe and Mail in Toronto re-reports.

The gift is the largest ever from a living donor to a Canadian community foundation, the newspaper says.

Michael Barnstijn, 41, and Louise MacCallum, 39, are giving $12 million dollars worth of stock to the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation.

They are donating another $1 million to help build a children’s museum in Kitchener.

The couple’s gift will double the foundation’s total assets. The foundation plans to create a permanent endowment with the money and distribute its annual earnings to a variety of local charities.

The donation is being hailed as a sign that Internet entrepreneurs are becoming more generous with their fortunes. 

“This is a huge breakthrough,” David Uffelman, director of the foundation, told the Globe and Mail.  “There hasn’t been a huge amount of young wealth coming in from this sector in the past.”

The couple made their millions as employees and stockholders in Canadian technology company Research In Motion, Ltd.  The two programmers retired two years ago to concentrate on their hobbies and on volunteer work.

The couple told the Globe and Mail that their decision to donate stock was partly motivated by recent changes in federal tax rules.

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