Category Archives: Winnipeg

Winnipeg Foundation’s Youth in Philanthropy members see their grant-making in action

The Winnipeg Foundation reserves $5,000 every year for each committee participating in its Youth in Philanthropy program to distribute to charities of its choice. With input from each member, the committee decides which charities will receive grants, how much each will receive and how it will be spent.

After conducting site visits to charitable organizations, each committee submits a grant recommendation to the Foundation’s Board of Directors for final approval. The following entry is a snapshot of the RB Russell Vocational High School YiP committee’s experience during their site visit to Agape Table earlier this year:

We found this visit to be the most inspirational because it was clear that the staff and volunteers at Agape Table really cared about the people they were helping.

When we arrived they were serving food for their breakfast program. We saw that there were people who had no money eating a free meal and people on a very limited income eating a meal, too.

YiP committee members pay a visit to Agape Table

The place was really busy, and our tour guide was pulled away a few times to deal with various people or crises. She showed us the whole facility and what they do there. In the basement they had a discount grocery store that offered a variety of healthy groceries at discounted rates, or at cost. The food for the grocery store is all donated by local farmers and gardeners.

Next she showed us the walk-in cooler, which they were able to purchase through a grant from another organization. She seemed very excited that they were able to make such a large and significant purchase, which enabled them to accept much larger food donations, and keep food longer.

This would eventually inspire us to offer to use our grant money to purchase a cooler for their grocery store.

The last thing she showed us was the clothing and toiletries area, where people in need acquire the basic life necessities, such as toothpaste, underwear and soap. While we were there, staff helped a man who was being bullied outside.

Agape Table offers many services to people in need, such as food, clothing and other necessities. They work hard to support homeless people, as well as people on a fixed income, while still helping them maintain their dignity.

RB Russell YiP committee, April 2012

You Can Do It Awards give Winnipeg students boost to pursue higher education

By Skana Gee

When Seneca Chartrand arrived at R.B. Russell High School in Winnipeg, she anticipated more school work. She had no idea just how challenging it would be.

But the possibility of securing an award from The Winnipeg Foundation kept her on track, working hard and tackling many challenges.

“A few times she called me from the school to say ‘Somebody has gotten shot, somebody has gotten stabbed across the street.’ That’s something you really don’t want a kid to have to worry about when they’re going to school,” says her mother, Cheyenne Chartrand.

But Seneca persevered, and last June, she received a You Can Do It Award, which provided $1,000 toward her post-secondary education. The teen from the inner-city is now enrolled in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

“It’s like tapping somebody on the shoulder and saying we know you can do this,” says Rick Frost, The Winnipeg Foundation’s CEO. “It’s encouragement to say, ‘You’re not going to be stopped by financial barriers.’ “

The program began last year, with 270 students from inner-city schools selected, based on attendance, effort, academic achievement, volunteerism and leadership. Because kids can qualify from Grade 5 on, with $1,000 put into a “learning account” each school year, there’s potential for them to earn $8,000 toward their post-secondary education.

A program like this doesn’t happen in a vacuum, of course. It’s a partnership between The Winnipeg Foundation, the Province of Manitoba, Winnipeg School Division and Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council.

Shania Murdock, a Grade 9 student, also received a You Can Do It Award last school year. She already knows she wants to be a teacher.

“For many of our students, it may be the first time somebody from their family has gone on to post-secondary education, so it’s an accomplishment for their entire family,” R.B. Russell vice-principal Chris Goring told the media after the awards were presented.

Skana Gee is Communications Coordinator with Community Foundations of Canada