Thanks to the generosity of its donors, The Winnipeg Foundation announced it was able to grant more than $21.3 million to 803 charities in 2013. The numbers, released during its annual report launch and celebration, are only a part of the story.
With its 360-degree granting, The Winnipeg Foundation supports a variety of projects in multiple areas.
Chances are there isn’t a charity in our city that hasn’t benefited from the Foundation’s support. Grants help ensure kids have access to healthy food and cooking skills, second stage housing is available for women fleeing domestic violence, theatre companies are able to produce top-notch performances, and the beaches and water of Lake Winnipeg are clean, safe and accessible for all to enjoy.
“Our success sits squarely on the shoulders of our donors who have helped us support Winnipeg for more than nine decades. On their behalf, we are in the For Good. Forever. business,” says Foundation board chair Susan Millican.
“Despite the volatility of the current economic climate, our financial support is steady and reliable every year,” says Foundation CEO Richard Frost.
“Since we began in 1921, the Foundation has granted more than $325 million to charitable organizations in our city,” he says. “Our fiscal responsibility has ensured charities can rely on the Foundation to maintain steady granting levels, despite unpredictable returns on investments.”
Through its daily work, The Winnipeg Foundation collaborates with committed Winnipeggers who are working hard to make the community better. These people are on the frontlines, or giving back, helping ensure future generations will succeed.
During its 2013 Annual Report launch and celebration held at the Manitoba Museum on Wednesday, The Foundation convened a panel of some of these committed individuals. Dubbed the “For Good. Forever. Panel” and moderated by veteran broadcaster Roger Currie, the engaging discussion introduced a small sampling of four people helping to make Winnipeg a place where community life flourishes today, and for future generations.
The panelists were Ifrah Zohair, Carol Ploen-Hosegood, Jim Lapp and Grant Stefanson.
For Carol Ploen-Hosegood a successful community life is one where everyone understands they have the ability to give and to make a difference. Ploen-Hosegood is a member of the Happy Monkey Club, which she describes as “a network of positive women” who participate in a variety of activities and events each year.
“It’s all based on living a positive, balanced, happy life: have fun, eat healthy, live active, be positive and give back.”
To give back, the Happy Monkey Club established a giving circle at The Winnipeg Foundation.
Although some may think endowment funds require a lot of money to get started, Ploen-Hosegood says it’s something that the “average Joe” can do.
“None of us individually had the amount to create an endowment fund, but collectively we were able to do it over time and that’s what working with The Winnipeg Foundation allowed us to do; it was unbelievable.”
Jim Lapp views a flourishing community as one in which attitudes can change. Lapp works with L’Arche, an international federation that supports understanding and integration of people with intellectual disabilities.
With help from The Winnipeg Foundation, L’Arche recently created a social enterprise, L’Arche Tova Café, which employs individuals with intellectual disabilities.
“L’Arche’s mission is to make known the gifts of people with developmental disabilities,” says Lapp. “I think [the Foundation] has really helped break down barriers for people getting to know people with disabilities.”
Grant Stefanson sees a flourishing community as an inclusive one that considers future generations with long-term planning. Stefanson established an educational scholarship fund at The Winnipeg Foundation in the name of his late father, Dennis N. Stefanson. He also supported establishment of an Agency fund for Logberg-Heimskringla, Canada’s Icelandic community newspaper. He believes funds like these are prudent for protecting against market irregularities.
“It has the effect of ensuring for your organization, that in challenging times, you’re not going to be tempted to tap into that money, which could really mean the beginning of the end of your community organization or charity,” says Stefanson.
He believes the Foundation’s broad-based approach to granting makes it an asset to Winnipeg.
“It’s a great vehicle for a diverse number of people from a diverse number of community interests and cultures to become involved with because it has such a universal nature to it.”
Ifrah Zohair, a first year science student at the University of Manitoba and graduate of Fort Richmond Collegiate, was a member of Youth in Philanthropy (YiP), which has been a Foundation initiative for the past decade. She also completed the Foundation’s Summer Internship Program (SiP).
Zohair believes a flourishing community is one in which equality is promoted and everyone – particularly young people – have the opportunity to participate.
“A lot of youth are not necessarily aware of all the issues around them. Especially living in a country like Canada, we tend to take a lot for granted,” she says. “The Winnipeg Foundation is a really good contact, an intermediate between youth and all the amazing things that all the charities are doing around the city.”
The blustery weather outside didn’t deter people from the late afternoon event which was attended by about 130 people, including grantees, donors and other guests.
The Winnipeg Foundation is Canada’s first community foundation. Founded in 1921 by William Forbes Alloway, the Foundation is home to more than 2,700 endowment funds built by people from all walks of life.