Support for Syrians

The Winnipeg Foundation


Foundation CEO Richard Frost (right), Minister John McCallum (centre) and Mayor Brian Bowman (left) at the March 17 announcement.

Syrian refugees and other newcomers to Winnipeg will benefit from a $500,000 contribution from the Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees (Welcome Fund), an initiative of Community Foundations of Canada (CFC). The funds are being entrusted to The Winnipeg Foundation.

The Foundation will distribute the funds to local settlement organizations, beginning with two announced at an event at Welcome Place on March 17: Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM), and Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC), also known as Welcome Place.

The Welcome Fund was seeded by Manulife, and quickly augmented by CN’s historic $5 million donation, as well as by generous support from GM and community organizations.

The Welcome Fund supports the successful settlement of Syrian families and helps them transition into suitable permanent housing. More than 900 refugees from Syria have arrived in Winnipeg in recent months.

Welcome Place will receive $150,000 to provide direct rent support to families and to provide essential household items to the refugees as they transition out of Welcome Place into permanent housing. Read more about how Welcome Place is helping Syrian refugees: Making a claim - and a life - in Canada.

Another $75,000 is going to IRCOM to provide complementary supports to families living in its transitional housing facilities.

Other local organizations will receive the remaining funds, to be determined by The Winnipeg Foundation in the coming weeks.

“For the 48 refugee families that will live at IRCOM’s newest transitional housing complex, the generous support means ready access to multilingual, knowledgeable and culturally competent staff,” says Erin Anderson, Director of Programming for IRCOM. “It means being able to walk down the hall from their new apartment, in an entirely new country, and receive meaningful wrap-around settlement supports from a familiar face in their first language.”

“We are extremely pleased to receive support to formally launch our Bed-in-a-Bag program,” says Rita Chahal, Executive Director of Welcome Place. “This program meets such a basic, yet profound need for people to feel secure, and gives them a sense of belonging when they have had to leave everything behind.”

Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ian Bird, CEO of Community Foundations of Canada and Mayor Brian Bowman were all on hand for the March 17 announcement.

Welcome to Winnipeg Fund

The Winnipeg Foundation has started its own fund to support Syrian refugees and newcomers in our community. The Welcome to Winnipeg Fund will augment The Foundation’s current grant-making activities that already support charitable organizations helping settle newcomers. Gifts to this fund are not permanently endowed; they will flow directly to identified projects.

To learn more or to make a gift to the fund, go to: