Investing in deserving students

Photo: Margaret Scott Nursing Mission staff, 1936. Credit: Manitoba Archives. Source: Winnipeg Foundation files.

Scholarships and bursaries reward students’ hard work, recognize need and support dreams. Throughout The Foundation’s history, many donors have chosen to establish these funds and countless students have been on the receiving end of that generosity.

The Winnipeg Foundation’s first Scholarship Fund was created in 1946 to help Nursing students at the University of Manitoba. The Margaret Scott Nursing Mission Fund was established in honour of the lay city missionary who spearheaded the opening of a nursing mission in 1904. The Mission, a two and a half storey house in Point Douglas, sought to provide nursing care and health instruction to the city’s immigrant populations and those who were experiencing poverty. Medical treatment at the Mission was on a “pay what you can” basis. It was staffed by graduate nurses and students from the Winnipeg General Hospital nursing school.

By the late 1930s, a changed social environment and the growth and professionalization of health services challenged the Mission’s existence. It closed its doors in 1943. The residual of Margaret Scott’s estate was used to create the first Scholarship Fund at The Foundation. The original scholarship award amounted to approximately $200. Today, the fund continues to grant and awards almost $3,000 annually.

Bursary recipient Chanse Kornik knows first-hand that scholarships and bursaries can be a game-changer. Kornik, a single father to son Braxon, received the Business Council of Manitoba Aboriginal Education Scholarship Fund in 2013 and both the Karen Myrvold Johnsen Bursary Fund and Kiwanis Indigenous Bursary Fund in 2016.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do a university degree without the contributions of these scholarship organizations. It’s so hard to just pay for a basic life, never mind university,” Kornik said in 2018. “Without scholarships we would have had an empty Christmas tree or [no] birthday presents for my son… It just helps so much. There’s months where you’re afraid about how you are going to pay rent or even put food on the table.”

Kornik graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2018 with a degree in electrical engineering.

Investing in deserving students through a scholarship or bursary can be a way to demonstrate passion for education or to celebrate a loved one or a special occasion.

In 2019, the Barbados Association of Winnipeg (BAW) was looking for ways to recognize the 50th anniversary of Bajan independence, the 40th anniversary of BAW and the 150th birthday of Canada, and to also reach younger audiences. It determined a scholarship was the way to go. Education is highly prized in the Bajan community, so BAW established the Barbados Association of Winnipeg Scholarship through The Winnipeg Foundation.

“I felt we should leave some sort of legacy for youth, to provide them with scholarships along the way,” BAW’s President Gregory Gaskin said in 2019. “If we keep building, the way it’s going, we are hoping further down the road it could be a greater financial support to young people.”

A requirement of the scholarship is involvement with the community in general, as well as with the Bajan community specifically.

“We are trying to teach [them] the importance of volunteerism, and then see if we can bring some of these students into the organization,” Gaskin said of establishing the fund.



Total number of Scholarship Funds at The Foundation


Approximate number of awards issued in the last five years


Total value granted from Scholarship Funds from 2000 to 2020

This story was informed by research done by Esyllt Jones, which appeared in The Foundation’s 90th anniversary publication.

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