Vivian Binnema, Public Relations ʻ14, has giving in her blood. “It’s something my parents have always done, so once I had a steady income, I started setting up charitable donations as well,” she says.

While meeting with her financial advisor, Binnema was encouraged to write a will and to consider charitable donations as part of that process. A will wasn’t something that was front-of-mind for her, as she was freshly in her 30s and had no dependents. 

“The nice thing about starting when you’re younger is you can take your time with it – and you can always make adjustments if you change your mind about anything or your life circumstances change,” she says.

In preparing her will, Binnema learned that planned gifts can have tax benefits for estates. She looked at organizations that mean a lot to her now, and committed to supporting them into the future.

“Thinking about where I want my assets to go after I die is a way of thinking about my values and about the people and places in my life that are significant to me. And that can be a useful exercise no matter what stage of life you’re at,” says Binnema.

Her fond memories of her time at MacEwan made the institution an easy choice for a future donation. 

“MacEwan helped me kick-start my career, so a planned gift is a way of giving back,” she says. “Leaving something in my will for university students feels like making an investment toward a brighter future.”

The nature of a planned gift leaves some of the future scholarship or bursary’s details a little fuzzy. 

“I’m hoping to live for many more years yet,” says Binnema. “It’s hard for me to predict how much the gift will end up being. My hope is that it will go towards existing scholarships and help a number of students that way.”

Binnema has spent her career so far working with the Government of Alberta. She is currently a communications advisor with Alberta Justice, and volunteers with the Fringe Festival every year. For her, this planned gift is just another way to continue her presence and dedication to MacEwan and Edmonton.

“Thinking about wills and planned giving can sound depressing, but I found the process of deciding where I wanted to gift my estate quite meaningful.”

Leaving a planned gift is a wonderful way to support the work of MacEwan University and have a lasting impact on its students. For more information on planned giving, please get in touch at

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