Living through a pandemic

As this publication goes to print, the world is in the grips of a pandemic the likes of which no one living has experienced before.

In March 2020, Canada went into lockdown because of COVID-19, and while the virus let up a bit in summer, the second wave in fall 2020 hit harder than the first. Manitoba has been particularly challenged, with Steinbach, Winnipeg and Indigenous communities having some of the highest test positivity rates in Canada.

COVID-19 revealed cracks in society through which those experiencing vulnerability can fall. It is these most vulnerable community members who have been disproportionately affected by both the virus itself, and the impact of the related restrictions. This includes individuals and families with low incomes, the Indigenous community, newcomers, people with disabilities, and older adults.

Local charities providing front-line services are experiencing increased demand, and must continually adapt programming and service delivery to ensure they are meeting current public health guidelines.

The Foundation’s approach to supporting the community through COVID-19 involves three types of funding: emergency support for front-line organizations meeting the needs of our must vulnerable community members; stabilization funding for all charitable organizations financially impacted by COVID-19; and resilience and recovery funding, which is currently focused on capacity building and connecting with and listening to the sector. Read more – COVID-19-related grants When COVID-19 first struck, The Foundation convened a group of 18 charities to learn more about how the pandemic is impacting their organizations. Then in the summer and early fall, The Foundation conducted a series of small roundtable discussions through online conferencing with representatives from across the sector, to again understand the impacts of the pandemic. These activities have informed The Foundation’s decision making.

Between March and July 2020, The Foundation distributed COVID-19-related grants totaling more than $12.8 million. At this writing, The Foundation has 254 more applications in the queue requesting more than $12 million; for comparison, at this time in 2019 we received 105 applications totaling $4.5 million. It is safe to say the repercussions of the pandemic on our charitable sector are immense, and will not be eliminated in the immediate future.

While much of society was in the grips of the first lockdown, the May 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn. shone a light of the treatment of Black people in the United States. Floyd – a black man – died after police knelt on his neck for close to nine minutes, despite Floyd telling officers “I can’t breathe.”

This has resulted in increased focus on the inequities and injustices that impact citizens – including those here in Canada – who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People(s) of Colour). This has inspired many – including The Foundation – to think differently about how we live, how we treat each other, and our priorities. Read more – Re-confirming our vision

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