Building a reputation for reliability

Photo: Victory War Loans, Feb. 6, 1941. Credit: The Winnipeg Tribune. Source: Winnipeg Foundation scrapbook.

The 1940s began with Canada and the world at war. Patriotism and conscience, driven by good marketing and colourful posters, fueled the city’s most eminent leaders to act, campaigning and signing up for Victory War Loans (also known as War Savings Certificates). In February 1941, The War Savings Certificate drive began in Manitoba, aiming to get citizens to participate. In support, and with much pomp and circumstance, Premier John Bracken pledged for the regular purchase of War Savings Certificates, as reporters and Foundation Executive Director Peter Lowe watched.16

Lowe served as provincial campaign Vice-Chair of the drive, and so it came as no surprise that in 1941, The Foundation took all its capital accounts awaiting investment and purchased Victory War Loans to support the effort.

Peter Lowe and The Foundation did their part in support of the war effort and once the war came to a close, The Foundation found itself in a place to receive. A gift of nearly $40,000 was received from the Winnipeg Air Observers School – a training school in air navigation, aerial photography, reconnaissance, observation, mapping, and target description – when it closed its doors at the end of the war. The school was a component of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan during the Second World War and closed in the summer of 1945. The site is now home to No. 17 Wing of Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg.17

In the early years of The Foundation, grants were distributed under much more flexible and relaxed parameters than today. For example, in 1944, The Winnipeg Foundation dabbled in real estate, with $2,500 from the Alloway estate committed for the development of real estate in Winnipeg and used for the clearing, gravelling and grading of roadways. As the decades progressed and more charities began operating in Winnipeg, The Foundation would refine its granting terms.

Also, in 1944, Muriel Richardson joined The Winnipeg Foundation’s Advisory Board, becoming its first female member. She would serve on the Board for 18 years, seven of those as Chair. Read – A lifetime of firsts: Muriel Sprague Richardson – for details.

In 1948, The Foundation established its first anonymous fund. As gifts to The Foundation increased, so did its need for space and staff. In 1948, The Foundation hired war veteran Greville E. Winter to handle accounting and other office administrative matters.

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