A great year for the Foundation and our community

Growing endowment base boosts Foundation’s 2012 grants to $21.2 million, a near-record amount.

By Rick Frost

In January we announced the results of the Winnipeg Foundation’s 2012 fiscal year. It was a great year for us, and that means a great year for our community as a whole. But what made it so?

Our work is always gratifying. We are fortunate to be part of an extraordinarily generous community and our organization attracts people from all walks of life who choose to leave a lasting mark on our city. We also work closely with dedicated charitable agencies that tackle some of the most difficult problems facing our community. With these inspiring colleagues and collaborators, every year is a good year for the Winnipeg Foundation.

Good times return

In 2012, we experienced an upsurge in both gifts and market returns; together this will provide a permanent source of support for our community. We received more than 3,400 gifts totalling $26.1 million – the greatest dollar value of contributions since 2004. We also saw strong market returns of 12.2 per cent, our first year of double-digit returns since 2005.

Thanks to our growing endowment base, the foundation’s grants totalled $21.2 million in 2012, the second-highest amount in our history, which brought us to an important milestone: $300 million distributed in our community.

But numbers are only one way of looking at the Foundation’s success. The real measure is in our impact in the community and lives that are improved thanks to our donors. For example, the grant that took us to the $300 million mark wasn’t a particularly large grant. You may not have heard of the agency that received it, but the project is critical to one of our city’s most vulnerable and vibrant communities.

The New Immigrant Chai Centre received $21,000 to help introduce newcomers to life in Winnipeg, including how to navigate the healthcare, housing and employment systems, as well as how to deal with stress, culture shock and changes brought on by settling in a new country. The Chai Centre also provides recreation opportunities for newcomer youth and strategies on gang awareness and prevention.

That was just one of the almost 800 grants we made in the past year. We also supported the volunteer program at the North Point Douglas Seniors’ Association, a group that is helping reduce isolation and empowering seniors in one of our city’s most challenged neighbourhoods. We made a grant to Youville Clinic’s PATHways program for diabetes prevention and management. And we helped Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg establish a new club that provides after-school recreation to kids at Carpathia School.

We also saw the continued success of our ongoing programs. Nourishing Potential supported meals and snacks for thousands of Winnipeg kids who depend on local organizations to meet their nutritional needs. More than 200 inner city youth earned You Can Do It awards toward their future education. And 400 local high school students gained first-hand experience in meeting community needs through Youth in Philanthropy.

The good work continues

So it was a great year for the Winnipeg Foundation and for Winnipeg. I thank all of the donors whose gifts over the past 91 years ensured that our Foundation could support our community in 2012. And I invite you to join us to ensure that 2013 – and the years beyond – are just as strong.

You can make a secure, online gift through our website at http://www.wpgfdn.org, call our office at 204-944-9474 (toll free 1-877-974-3631), or send a cheque to the Winnipeg Foundation at 1350-One Lombard Place, Winnipeg MB, R3B 0X3.

Rick Frost is CEO of the Winnipeg Foundation.

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