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Every so often, our Foundation is the recipient of an extremely generous bequest that is a true game changer for charities in Southeastern Alberta. The story of John and Mata Rinke began on June 30, 1942 when they eloped and began their new life together on a farm near Eastend, Saskatchewan. John was a man that personified respect, dignity, and integrity. Mata was proper, kind, and down to earth. She believed that “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Mata was a hard worker who in the early years, carried out the job of a hired man as money was tight. She had a soft spot for animals, seniors, and kids, even though she and John did not have their own children.  Mata was caring and always invited people for Christmas dinner when they had nowhere else to go.

John loved nature and the outdoors – his cattle ranch was his pride and joy. For most of John’s life, he was a rancher and businessman. Buying properties, and fixing them to his high standards, before selling them and moving on to his next venture. Both John and Mata were hard working individuals and their success presented itself in the quality of their work.

John and Mata’s philanthropic journey with the Foundation began on March 9, 2000, when they established a Charitable Remainder Trust that listed CFSEA as the beneficiary. When John passed away on August 29, 2003, Mata continued their passion as philanthropists and became a Heritage Club member in 2007. At that time, Mata also established the John and Mata Rinke Fund designated to the Smart and Caring Fund which supports the community’s greatest needs.

Mike Christie, former Executive Director with CFSEA reflects on his inspiring interactions with Mata. “I was introduced to Mata Rinke from Ryan Dorton, who, at the time, was treasurer of the Foundation.  Mata was an intelligent, thoughtful, and unassuming person who was obviously passionate about and committed to her community. A very discerning person, she was thoroughly motivated by the operational concept of the Foundation, although she still had lots of questions. Over the subsequent years, her trust and faith in the Foundation was enhanced as the organization continued to grow and increase the scope and size of its various grant programs. She appreciated that over the long term, no other charitable gift would have the same impact as a gift to the Foundation. The result is the amazing legacy she and John left to this community from which we will all benefit.”

Ann Srubowich and Linda Norrish, dear friends of Mata and John reflected on their memories of the couple. “Mata and John were always so good to us, their family and friends. Aunty Mata’s home was a safe haven for us to stop in at any time, knowing coffee and tea would always be on. Johnny was always busy but never too busy to take the time to visit with those closest to him. It warms our hearts knowing their legacy will live on forever through the Community Foundation, supporting the communities that meant so much to John and Mata.”

The memories of John and Mata will live in the hearts of many, and our community will feel their presence forever from the kindness, generosity, and impact of their legacy.  We are forever grateful for their contributions to CFSEA and extremely appreciative for the bequest of $2.7 million, which will have an impact on Southeast Alberta forever!

“30 Stories for 30 Years”