Dependable support

The Winnipeg Foundation

Multi-Year Community Grants focus on good work, not paperwork

When we launched Multi-Year Community Grants in 2017, there were a number of underlying beliefs guiding our work.

We believe it is valuable for organizations to spend more time working in community and less time filling out application forms, so we provided three-year program grants.

We also believe strong, healthy organizations are best positioned to fulfill their mission, and so we invested in three years of capacity building support – funding for key staff positions that will strengthen an organization’s administration.

We are grateful to the generations of Community Fund donors whose gifts have allowed The Foundation the flexibility to provide grants for this type of work.

Multi-Year Grants have been an opportunity for us to build deeper relationships with community organizations. By reviewing fewer grant applications, we have been able to spend more time with organizations learning about the impact of their programming. We have also convened Executive Directors from the first cohort of capacity-building grant recipients to hear about the successes and challenges they’ve experienced in their first year, and we plan to convene the second cohort in the coming months.

This year we have paused to learn and reflect on the first two years of offering Multi-Year Grants. The Foundation’s 2019-2021 Strategic Plan has identified strengthening the sector as a key priority, and we are committed to offering Multi-Year Community Grants again, starting in 2020.

As we develop the next phase of Multi-Year Grants we will incorporate what we have learned to date from community organizations, as well as the findings from our 2018 report Stressed, Stretched and Still Standing. We look forward to sharing more details early next year.

Learn about some of the charities and programs supported by Multi-Year Grants below.


Organization: OHEYS Autism Programs (Winnipeg Optimal Health Early Years Sports Club)
Program: Summer programming for children and youth with autism
Grant: $45,000 ($15,000/year) Multi-Year program grant, drawn from the Marion I. and Gordon Douglass Fund, the Joyce and Lloyd Darlington Music and Sport Fund, the William and Lorna Ellison Fund, the Moffat Family Fund, and from the hundreds of Community Funds at The Foundation

Since 2002, OHEYS Autism Programs has provided summer camp and evening programming for families of children and youth with autism, helping them build skills and socialize in an inclusive, supportive environment.

“For [ages] 10 and up, they generally don’t qualify for daycares in the summertime, so it’s a really tremendous opportunity for this group to have a [summer] camp to go to,” says Bennetta Benson, Executive Director of OHEYS Autism Programs.

OHEYS’ programs offer opportunities for social interactions, physical activity, one-to-one support, and work experience.

“We’re trying to cover the needs in the community and not duplicate anything anybody else is doing.”

A Multi-Year Grant from The Winnipeg Foundation is supporting three years of OHEYS’ summer programming.

“One of the things that small organizations face is the paperwork,” says Ms. Benson. “It’s difficult to plan programs, hire staff and make commitments to your program unless you have some secured funding in place.”

“[The multi-year grant] reduces the administrative load so we can plan more effectively.”


Organization: Wahbung Abinoonjiiag
Program: Administrative Coordinator
Grant: $150,000 ($50,000/year) Multi-Year capacity building grant, drawn from the Moffat Family Fund 

Wahbung Abinoonjiag is an Indigenous-led domestic violence prevention, healing and crisis centre, providing holistic and culturally-relevant supports for women and their children.

“We really want to empower our community through love and respect and telling their truth and humility,” says Dana Riccio Arabe, Executive Director of Wahbung Abinoonjiag. “It’s a value-based and strength-based approach that welcomes everybody.”

“We want to end the cycle of violence together, and that starts with our women, our children, and our youth. And we walk together in a good way.”

A three-year capacity-building grant from The Winnipeg Foundation provided funding for an Administrative Coordinator, allowing staff to focus on their work with the community and on long-term planning.

“It’s allowed us to look at sustainability, succession and have a strategic plan going forward on how we can sustain our organization,” Ms. Riccio Arabe says.

“We’re able to have goals and [set] these goals with the community, [and determine] what Wahbung Abinoonjiag will look like in three years, five years, 10 years down the road.”


Organization: MacKinnon’s Y-Not? Anti-Poverty Program
Program: A variety of activities, including memberships to the Downtown Y
Grant: $45,000 ($15,000/year) Multi-Year program grant, drawn from the Barbara Awrey, Milton Awrey and Elizabeth Binne Memorial Fund, and from the Moffat Family Fund

When Brian MacKinnon saw his students were going without lunches, he felt the need to act.

He began sharing his lunches, bringing granola bars to class and, in 2002, began a program to provide memberships to the Downtown Y, which evolved to become MacKinnon’s Y-Not? Anti-Poverty Program.

“It goes back to what I saw,” Mr. MacKinnon says. “There’s just not enough attention being paid to those in poverty. It’s general knowledge that exercise is great for the human health. But if you don’t have that opportunity, maybe your only alternative is the street.”
“Our motto was ‘Hey, Y-Not?’ Why not work out at the Downtown Y, stay out of trouble, become a super healthy person and get on with your dreams?”

The Winnipeg Foundation provided the charity with a three-year program grant.

“The Multi-Year Grant is a tremendous reference when we approach new donors,” says Mr. MacKinnon.

“[We’ve received] great support and guidance from The Winnipeg Foundation over the years.”


Organization: Winnipeg Jewish Theatre
Program: Assistant Producer
Grant: $96,000 ($32,000/year) Multi-Year capacity-building grant, drawn from the Arts Stabilization Manitoba Fund, and from the hundreds of Community Funds at The Foundation

While Winnipeg Jewish Theatre’s (WJT) productions explore Jewish narratives and experiences, the stories and themes are relatable to people of all backgrounds.

“We look for shows that have social significance, are socially relevant and are tackling stories we’re seeing in the headlines,” says Ari Weinberg, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre’s Artistic and Managing Director.

“It’s really looking at things we share as human beings from a very particular lens and seeing how it resonates in ripples across larger communities.”

The Winnipeg Foundation provided a three-year capacity-building grant to fund an Assistant Producer position. Mr. Weinberg noted that the new position gives him more capacity to focus on continuing to grow WJT and to ensure the permanence of the new position.

“At the end of the three years, we are going to continue to have an Assistant Producer. That’s not up for debate - that is the new makeup of WJT.”


This story is featured in the Spring 2019 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

Share