Your community foundation

Many Winnipeggers have heard ofThe Winnipeg Foundation, but might not know exactly what it is we do. The Winnipeg Foundation is a community foundation – a collection of permanently endowed funds, established by people from all walks of life, that supports a wide range of local charitable projects.

What do we mean by “endowed funds”? These are monetary gifts made to the Foundation over our 92-year history and invested to provide a consistent source of support for our community. Every year, these investments generate earnings that we use to make grants to organizations throughout Winnipeg. Thanks to the generosity of donors, we were able to provide a total of $21.2 million to almost 800 organizations last year.

A history of generosity

Gifts come to our Foundation in all sizes. Some donors make one-time contributions in memory of a loved one, while others establish their own fund and play an active role in determining how grants will be allocated.

The Foundation received its first gift in 1921. It was a contribution of $100,000 from William Forbes Alloway, a local banker who wanted to repay the community for his success. He had a vision for a foundation that would support Winnipeg forever and, with foresight and generosity, he established Canada’s first community foundation.

The second gift was much more modest. It was an anonymous contribution: three gold coins, worth a total of $15, that arrived in an envelope marked “The Widow’s Mite”. This gift demonstrates the spirit of our Foundation – that it’s not the size of the gift, but that act of giving, that’s important.

Turning gifts into grants

Each donor has different means and unique reasons for giving to the Foundation, but they all share a desire to make our community stronger and more vibrant.

Like gifts, Foundation grants also vary in size and purpose – from a few hundred dollars for a small grassroots program, to hundreds of thousands for major capital improvements to public amenities. If you’ve enjoyed a day in many of our city’s green spaces, received medical treatment or support from a number of local clinics and health associations, taken in an arts performance, or visited a museum, chances are you’ve benefited from a grant made by The Winnipeg Foundation.

Grants are made to local organizations working in the areas of community service, education and employment, health, arts and culture, recreation, heritage and environment. Many of these grants are made through our community building grants program, through which organizations apply for support and their proposals are carefully assessed by our staff and board.

The Foundation also offers a number of special grants programs that provide funding for family literacy, child nutrition, recreation and environmental sustainability. These grants are based on applications from community groups and are overseen by advisory committees.

Our Youth in Philanthropy program empowers hundreds of local students as grantmakers who allocate a portion of the Foundation’s grant budget every year. Participants form committees, research community needs and decide which organizations will benefit.

Other distributions include annual payments from designated funds to charitable groups determined by the donor when a fund is established, and awards to local students from scholarship funds, based on criteria established by donors.

The need continues

We appreciate being the beneficiary of so many decades of generosity. But the need in our community continues to outstrip our ability to provide support. We hope you’ll help.

You can make a secure, online gift through our website at, 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.

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