A Legacy of Doing Good


“When we looked back on all of the work that she did to help other people, it was clear to us that the right thing to do was to keep that going.”

– Steve Frangakis

For Steve Frangakis, doing more good is essential to keeping his late wife’s legacy alive. When Lynsey Frangakis passed away from brain cancer at the age of 29, she left behind a life’s worth of philanthropic work, and there was no way Steve, her family and her friends were ready to let that stop.

Diagnosed with cancer at 23, Lynsey devoted a great deal of her time to helping others: organizing blood drives, raising money for cancer research, and volunteering to help other young adults with cancer. One of her favourite efforts was celebrating her birthday with acts of kindness. It was this that gave Steve the idea of how to celebrate her first birthday since she passed away.

“I knew that I wanted to hold a fundraising event on her birthday to give back to organizations that had helped us along the way,” says Steve. “But how this was all going to work and how we were going to keep it going—that’s where KWCF came in.”

In 2018, Steve reached out to Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, and with their help created the Firecracker Fund in Memory of Lynsey Frangakis. The name “Firecracker” came from a nickname Lynsey’s boss had given her years earlier. On October 28, which would have been Lynsey’s 30th birthday, they held their first event, The Firecracker Fund Fall Fun-raiser. The event raised $20,000 to establish the fund.

For Steve, having someone else to manage the fund so he can focus on Lynsey’s legacy has made all the difference. “It has been so easy working with KWCF,” says Steve. “We can work on fundraising and bringing everyone together, and they take care of all the details like paperwork, investing, and giving out the grants. I’d encourage anyone who wants to do good in their community, or create a legacy for someone, to reach out to an organization like KWCF.”

As a Donor Advised Fund, Lynsey’s family is able to direct where funds will go on a yearly basis. The Firecracker Fund in Memory of Lynsey Frangakis currently supports three charities that helped Lynsey and her family throughout her cancer journey: Young Adult Cancer Canada, The Ryan Saturno Patient Amenities Fund and Hospice Wellington.

If you are interested in setting up a fund with Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, or are interested in making a donation of any size to the Community Fund or other funds at KWCF, please visit www.kwcf.ca, and see how you can do more good today.


Click here to download and read the KWCF's 2018 Annual Report.

Lorena Andrasi