If Manitobans are so giving, why are charities stressed?

June 5, 2018
Every month, we ask different participants of our Leadership Winnipeg class to blog about their experience.
Leadership Winnipeg recently spent the day crossing the charitable landscape in Winnipeg, learning about our registered charities, not-for-profit organizations and the role of business in supporting these community pillars.

The Winnipeg Foundation is Canada’s first community foundation. It was established in 1921 by banker, William Forbes Alloway whose dream was to provide enduring community support. The second gift of three gold coins was left anonymously in an envelope marked the Widow’s Mite.  This contrast serves as a reminder that all gifts matter.

Manitoba continues to be the most generous province in Canada, however, the sector is grappling with a diminishing donor base. While the number of tax filers in the province continues to grow, those reporting charitable donations are declining, which causes stress in the sector.

The Endowment Book of Life was created created by the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba in 1998. The planned giving initiative offers participants an opportunity to share their family story. Each year at a special event, the participant is invited to formally stand in front of family and friends and publicly sign the keepsake book.

United Way of Winnipeg connects Winnipeggers from all walks of life, using collective giving to maximize charitable impact. The organization is over 50 years old and entirely volunteer led. Their annual campaign continues to raise much needed dollars to help kids, families and aid in the creation of a healthy community.

Great-West Life’s goal is to improve the financial, physical and mental well-being of Canadians. They are committed to building stronger communities, engaging staff, managing their environmental impact, responsible investing and building mentally healthier workplaces. Some examples of their philanthropic support include a five-year funding commitment at Indspire and signing on as the first sponsor of the Kid’s Help Phone text line.

Assiniboine Credit Union’s view on corporate social responsibility is inclusion at all levels of the economic scale. They have to be profitable to stay in business, but that is not their motivation. The history of co-operatives is built on the quest for fair goods and services in a safe working environment. They operate in a very competitive financial industry and the challenge is to be profitable while looking after social needs. This attracts employees and customers with similar values.

The Winnipeg Free Press includes a monthly philanthropy page featuring various charities in the community. Donations have peaks and valleys and the more philanthropic stories help generate gifts. The faith community that historically participated in volunteering and giving is shrinking. Charities should share unique stories with the media when possible for broad consumption, this will help to generate gifts both now and in the future. The same people that read newspapers also tend to read newsletters.

CJNU is a nostalgia radio station targeting the 50+ demographic. They are a not-for-profit co-operative with a strong volunteer base. CJNU works with charities to share their good news through conversations rather than interviews. They broadcast from different charities on a monthly basis, sharing space with their host sponsors with the goal of raising awareness.

Leadership Winnipeg is grateful for the support of our Vision Partners