CRIST FAMILY FOUNDATION
Tom Crist was golfing with friends in Palm Springs, Calif., in 2013 when he got the phone call that would touch thousands of Albertans’ lives.
News that this former truck driver had just won a $40 million Lotto Max jackpot meant he and his family could give back to the community to an extent they never thought possible.
Since 1991 the Crist family has invested $7.3 million in the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Their first gift after their winnings was made as a tribute to the care that their late wife, mother and Grandmother Janice Crist received at the Tom Baker Cancer Center.
Along with his daughters Nicky and Mandy, sons Dallas and Robbie, and their spouses and children, Crist and his family have donated millions to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation since 2003 for neonatal care, as well as a new centre for child and adolescent mental health. The Crist’s have also supported the Tomorrow Project, the largest health research study ever undertaken in Canada that works towards discovering more about what causes cancer so that it may be prevented in the future. They’ve also supported numerous other local organizations including Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Children’s Cottage Society, the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, Ronald McDonald House and the Calgary Zoo.
Each of Crist’s children is given an annual budget for donating to the charities of their choice. It’s important that future generations be taught the value of giving back, says Crist, who grew up in a family of seven in an 800-square-foot house in Drumheller.
“We never went without food on the table but we didn’t have anything either,” says Crist, who started his career in 1970 as a truck driver for an electrical wholesale company before working his way up to becoming its president and CEO.
“Before I won the lottery, I was going to start a family foundation on a small scale, as during my career I did well and ended up with a little more money than I anticipated. I thought I would teach my kids and grandkids to give back, but winning the lottery brought what I could do to a whole new level.”
“Our goals are to keep our family philanthropic activity going well into future generations of the Crist family as it continues to grow.” ~ Tom Crist