Family and Legacy: Loretta M Chaplin Memorial Fund

Loretta Chaplin was a teacher, a mother, a sister and an important member of her community. She had a calling and, in many ways, she was just getting started when leukemia took her life. Loretta had work to do and an impact to make when her life was cut short.

The idea of starting a fund in memory occurred to her family shortly after she passed and it’s an idea that isn’t unique to the Chaplins. Many people find the emotional days following a loved one’s death a time that’s also ripe with big dreams for continuing their loved one’s legacy. It’s a way to help make sense of the loss, to heal and to move into the future.

The process of starting and running a fund might seem daunting; the support and advice from the local community foundation can help make it straightforward. That’s what the Chaplins discovered.

Today, the Loretta M Chaplin Memorial Fund allows her work and her name to be forever present and valued in our community. Loretta’s calling was to enrich the education of young people, and through this fund, her work continues to support her mission.

Loretta Chaplin

“It’s a living thing, an on-going thing, something that’s going to impact people and keep her name alive. The fund invests in the future based on learning.”

- David Chaplin

A Legacy of Education

The Loretta M. Chaplin Memorial Fund has been created to celebrate her life and to keep her passion for children’s welfare and learning alive. Loretta’s gentle spirit lives through the grants which benefit youth programs, activities or projects related to sciences, the arts and music. It continues to build upon Loretta’s desire into the future.

Education was a mainstay of her life. David Chaplin says his late wife continually engaged in educational systems, no matter where they lived in Canada and the United States. When Loretta passed away from leukemia in 2009, David said knew he wanted to honour her many years as a dedicated educators. He chose to preserve Loretta’s legacy through an endowment.

David has managed the Loretta M Chaplin Memorial Fund in collaboration with Banff Canmore Foundation (BCF) for over a decade, largely using his own savings to build the fund and, now to invest in the Bow Valley community. David’s son, Matt Chaplin, and grandsons, Finn Chaplin and Jude Chaplin, will inherit management of the fund over time.

Matt sees the value this succession will bring to his children as they grow up. Besides being able to continually engage with Loretta’s legacy, “here’s something that can last a long time and can have a meaningful impact. It makes it real for our kids.”

David Chaplin is proud to see his son and grandsons engaged.


The boys get an opportunity to learn about community involvement in something that’s hands on. It leads to a lot of discussions in our family on a very down-to-earth level about change and community building."

- Matt Chaplin

Elizabeth Rummel School
Elizabeth Rummel School

Working with BCF alleviates challenges the Chaplin family might otherwise have in managing a fund. BCF works with the family to steward the funds and advise on granting. BCF’s board oversees the fund, staff are responsible for its administration. BCF’s committees help with application evaluation.

“From the beginning, BCF has been very supportive and encouraging,” David Chaplin says. “The team there helped me know the how, why, where and when. And they provided us with a plan for moving forward.”


An Invitation to Bow Valley Teachers

The Loretta M. Chaplin Memorial Fund has a direct and immediate effect, Matt Chaplin says.”We sincerely believe education is the first place to invest, considering other options,” he says.

The fund’s purpose is to provide resources and support for Bow Valley elementary school teachers and students in the areas of arts and music.

Elizabeth Rummel School
Elizabeth Rummel School

In May 2020, BCF’s board of directors approved the fund’s first grant to Lisa Young, a teacher at Elizabeth Rummel School in Canmore. The project involved students studying old photographs of Canmore. They studied old photographs of the town and create a “then and now” comparison through drawing and painting. The project culminated with a gallery showing of the completed art. Students  benefited by seeing how this town has changed over time.

To teachers, Matt says, “If you have a great idea for enriching your students’ learning, submit it and we can help you get it done. You’ll skip through red tape and avoid nay-sayers. Come straight to us. We’re keen to help.”

Matt Chaplin says the Loretta M Chaplin Fund feels intimate even though it continues to grow. With its focus clear,  and the right support in place, Loretta’s legacy will continue to enrich the lives of generations to come.


Benefiting youth programs or projects in subjects related to science, art and music, donate to the Loretta M Chaplin Memorial Fund here.

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