Photo: Old Kildonan, May 31, 1960. Official opening of Summer Pavilion Salvation Army Sunset Lodge.
The Foundation’s focus shifted somewhat in the 1960s towards the fields of arts, culture and recreation and to “character-building” services. The Government of Canada expanded funding for charitable organizations, enabling The Foundation to support arts organizations; its first grants in this field were made in 1961. While in previous years, minor amounts had been granted to education and culture, by 1963 they accounted for 30 per cent of the total grants budget. Health grants declined during that period from an average of 22 per cent of The Foundation’s budget in the 1950s, to just 10 per cent in the 1960s.35 That per cent has increased in recent decades.
This decline in health grants coincided with the introduction of universal healthcare in Canada at the end of the previous decade. The Foundation, however, continued its support of health initiatives through research. In 1965, The Foundation was one of four sponsors, along with the province, the United Way and the Community Welfare Planning Council, in the Social Service Audit – a monumental study of research and planning that involved hundreds of people in the community for four years. The Foundation took an active role supporting agencies, making assistance available for the operation of already established and new programs not provided by government that were essential in the fields of “prevention of delinquency,” the care of older people and “underprivileged children,” recreation and health.36
The shift in focus towards cultural and recreation fields meant The Foundation supported not only programs and operations of cultural pillars like Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Royal Winnipeg Ballet but also for the bricks and mortar to build what is now the Manitoba Museum. In 1967, The Foundation made a $200,000 grant towards the building of the museum. The grant was an acknowledgement of the social and educational value of the museum and would set the precedent for a $1 million grant in support of the modernization of the museum’s main exhibition area, Alloway Hall, in 2015, as well as the largest grant in The Foundation’s history to date: A $6 million contribution for the building of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in 2004.
A healthy meal
In 1964, The Winnipeg Foundation made a grant to the Home Welfare Council, helping to establish Meals on Wheels37 in Winnipeg. A 1961 study recommended the establishment of a Meals on Wheels delivery service for people who were unable to prepare meals for themselves, such as the elderly and infirmed. A three-year pilot project began, and they delivered the first meals on June 30, 1965. Today, Meals on Wheels delivers between 600 and 800 meals each week.