Honouring a legacy of community support

The Winnipeg Foundation

Photo: Kiwanis members and guests present a donation to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in June 2017. Courtesy of Kiwanis Club of Winnipeg.

Kiwanis moves funds to The Winnipeg Foundation to ensure permanent community support.

After overcoming a medical event, Jack Goodman was compelled to give back to the community.

“I had a little bit of an epiphany. I thought, ‘It’s time to do something with my life other than just business.’”

A friend from out of town spoke highly of Kiwanis Club, so Mr. Goodman called to see if he could join the Winnipeg chapter. That was 28 years ago.

“The rest is history. I’ve always gotten a lot more back than I’ve ever given, certainly through some of the things we’ve done for people,” Mr. Goodman says. “I’ve also acquired what has turned out to be life-long friendships through my Kiwanis cohorts.”

Kiwanis is an international service organization founded in 1915 that is devoted to the advancement of individual, community and national welfare. There are more than 8,000 clubs in 79 countries – and each is committed to helping its local community. The Kiwanis Club of Winnipeg celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. That was the same year it moved its previously self-managed endowment funds to The Winnipeg Foundation.

Kiwanis supports Winnipeg in many ways. One that sticks out for Mr. Goodman is the Kiwanis Bursary for Indigenous Students. Established with a bequest from a Kiwanis member in the 1980s, the parameters for the award are financial need, academic achievement and volunteerism. Until recently the award was managed by the Kiwanis Club Foundation, and Mr. Goodman was on the committee that reviewed applications. It was both an eye-opening and rewarding experience.

“Every year there were one or two mature students applying – individuals in their late 20s, most with children at home – who showed tremendous determination and courage in returning to school, overcoming the challenges involved, and applying themselves successfully in their studies. For me, these applicants were special because of their effort to move forward despite the barriers they faced. I truly admired their grit and their drive to improve themselves and their situation in life.”

Learn about how receiving this award helped University of Manitoba student Chanse Kornik - An eye to the future.

It’s amazing what happens when you become involved with a group like Kiwanis – the people you meet, the friends you make.

Jack Goodman
Kiwanis Club member

The Kiwanis Foundation was established in 1971. For more than 40 years, it operated with a separate Board that administered the endowment funds and made grants to the community. In that time, the Foundation supported 95 organizations with grants totalling more than $2 million, Mr. Goodman says.

However, decreasing membership made it difficult for Kiwanis to maintain two separate Boards (one for the Club, and one for its Foundation), plus administering the funds and maintaining the secretarial duties was becoming increasingly difficult. That’s when Kiwanis decided to move its endowed funds to The Winnipeg Foundation.

“To me it just seemed like a win all the way around. We were adding to the asset base of The Winnipeg Foundation and… the community ended up benefiting because at the end of the day, we have more funds out of our Spending Policy than we ever were able to allocate out of our own administration of monies. So, everybody won.”

The Foundation now houses several types of funds for Kiwanis, including two Scholarship Funds. In addition to the Kiwanis Bursary for Indigenous Students, the Kiwanis Winnipeg Schools Award encourages students at Cecil Rhodes and Hugh John MacDonald schools to complete high school. The award is given to Grade 9 students in the hopes of encouraging them to further their education.

Kiwanis also established a Donor-Advised Fund at The Winnipeg Foundation, which allows members to work with Foundation staff to review grant applications and determine grant amounts. As per their long tradition, the programs and projects Kiwanis chooses to support enrich the lives of children and disadvantaged adults.

Kiwanis has been involved with and supported many charities in the community for a long time, including helping to establish the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg, Mr. Goodman says. They also regularly volunteer to stay in touch with grantees.

“We have been involved with some hands-on sort of activities, we see the impact of the money we’ve put there.”

Attracting new members to service clubs like Kiwanis is difficult. Young people aren’t looking to get involved the same way, says Mr. Goodman. They prefer to participate in shorter-term fundraising efforts, such as volunteering for a weekend event or making a gift to a GoFundMe campaign. Although he says it may be part of the evolution of community service, he’d like younger people to know what they are missing out on.

“It’s amazing what happens when you become involved with a group like Kiwanis – the people you meet, the friends you make. I don’t think a lot of prospective members out there realize that; they discount it because they’re living busy lives and they’re dealing with what’s in front of them.”

To learn more about Kiwanis, visit Winnipeg.KiwanisOne.org.

This story is featured in the Summer 2018 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.