Money in the bank for arts organizations

The Winnipeg Foundation


Theatre Projects Manitoba
Theatre Projects Manitoba show Bashir Lazhar

Local arts organizations are developing financial stability thanks to a Federal program and donors’ generous support. Since 2002, arts organizations with Agency Endowment Funds at The Foundation have benefitted from millions in “stretch” funding from Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Investment Fund.

Through its Endowment Incentives program, Canadian Heritage encourages private donors to contribute to the arts organizations’ endowment funds. In Winnipeg, the 21 charitable arts groups qualifying for the program have seen six times more gifts compared to those organizations with Agency Funds that are not eligible for the program.

Since the program began, the federal stretch has contributed more than $16 million to these organizations’ endowment funds, averaging 73 cents for every dollar raised. The program’s total community impact is more than $38 million in endowment fund contributions from donors and the Federal government. This results in more than $2 million in annual grants to our community.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Theatre Projects Manitoba (TPM) set its sights on ensuring long-term sustainability. A small theatre company committed to cultivating Manitoba plays and artists, TPM put a major push on developing its Agency Endowment Fund at The Foundation.

“The endowment will help us plan for the future, meet unanticipated costs, and overcome challenging times when support from funders and donors fluctuates,” says TPM’s General Manager Rea Kavanagh.

Thanks to an ambitious fundraising campaign and stretch funds from The Winnipeg Foundation and Canadian Heritage’s program, TPM was able to grow its endowment fund by almost five times during its anniversary drive, raising almost $56,000. That brings total impact to more than $66,600 in just two years.

In the 15 years the federal program has been offered, the arts organizations which have received the largest federal stretches are:

  • Royal Winnipeg Ballet, which received a stretch of $6,994,670
  • Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, which received a stretch of $5,310,703
  • Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, which received a stretch of $1,549,925

The Canada Cultural Investment Fund has led to federal stretch money and increased donor gifts, and has greatly benefited participating arts organizations. The capital growth of the endowment funds has led to increased annual grants, which means greater sustainability for eligible arts organizations.

This story is featured in the Fall 2016 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.