Celebrating 100 years of working together

The Winnipeg Foundation was created by William Forbes Alloway in 1921. Since then, thousands of citizens have made gifts to The Foundation, demonstrating that we achieve more when we work together.

Explore each decade through stories about Winnipeg and beyond, Foundation grantmaking and other activities, as well as the gifts and individuals that have made The Foundation’s work possible.

Reimagining philanthropy in Canada

It’s unlikely William Forbes and Elizabeth Alloway fathomed the growth and success that would meet The Winnipeg Foundation when they established it in 1921. Our community, the community foundation movement, and philanthropy in Canada will forever be impacted by their foresight and generosity.

Explore the 1920s

Increasing prominence and support for community

The 1930s were a turning point in The Foundation’s growth, community support and leadership. When Elizabeth Alloway passed away in 1926, she left her entire estate – $800,000 – to The Winnipeg Foundation, the community foundation her husband, William Forbes Alloway, had established five years earlier.

Explore the 1930s

Building a reputation for reliability

Foundation Executive Director Peter Lowe served as provincial campaign vice-chair of the War Savings Certificate drive, and so it came as no surprise that in 1941, The Foundation took all its capital accounts awaiting investment and purchased Victory War Loans to support the effort.

Explore the 1940s

Responding to urgent needs

In 1951, The Foundation would redefine itself as a vehicle for community support in a wider range of areas, expanding to include medical research, recreational and “character building” activities, work by religious groups, and cultural projects.

Explore the 1950s

Expanding scope and role

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.

Explore the 1960s

Supporting innovative social welfare programming

The Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1971. The Winnipeg Tribune associate editor wrote: “Mr. Benham [Executive Director of The Winnipeg Foundation] can say with pride and justification that there has been little in the field of social welfare in the community that has been started over the years without some involvement in the part of the foundation.”

Explore the 1970s

Keeping pace with the times

The 1980s bring to mind big hair, big music, and big shoulder pads, and conditions were similarly big for The Foundation in terms of asset growth, granting and activities. By 1981, The Foundation’s assets exceed $20 million – double what they were in 1972. By 1987, capital assets had once again doubled to more than $40 million.

Explore the 1980s

Reflecting on its role in the community

The 1990s were a time of steady growth and deep reflection for The Foundation. In 1995, due to government restraint, The Foundation noted it had important lead role to play as a major funder in the community.

Explore the 1990s

Viewing its work from a new vantage point

The Foundation began the new millennium from a new vantage point – the 13th floor of the Richardson Building. Throughout the decade, it took an increasing role in leading responsive community programming, including Literacy for Life, Centennial Neighbourhood Project, Downtown Green Spaces Strategy, Youth in Philanthropy, and more.

Explore the 2000s

Leading with community

Throughout the 2010s, The Foundation engaged in new and innovative programming to support the community, including Nourishing Potential, Growing Active Kids, Community News Commons. It also saw impressive growth in grants distributed and contributions received.

Explore the 2010s

Living through a pandemic

COVID-19 revealed cracks in society through which our most vulnerable can fall. Between March and July 2020, The Foundation distributed COVID-19-related grants and convened a group of 18 charities to learn more about how the pandemic is impacting their organizations.

Explore the 2020s

Celebrating 100 years of working together

The Winnipeg Foundation was created by William Forbes Alloway in 1921. Since then, thousands of citizens have made gifts to The Foundation, demonstrating that we achieve more when we work together.

Explore each decade through stories about Winnipeg and beyond, Foundation grantmaking and other activities, as well as the gifts and individuals that have made The Foundation’s work possible.

Reimagining philanthropy in Canada

It’s unlikely William Forbes and Elizabeth Alloway fathomed the growth and success that would meet The Winnipeg Foundation when they established it in 1921. Our community, the community foundation movement, and philanthropy in Canada will forever be impacted by their foresight and generosity.

Explore the 1920s

Increasing prominence and support for community

The 1930s were a turning point in The Foundation’s growth, community support and leadership. When Elizabeth Alloway passed away in 1926, she left her entire estate – $800,000 – to The Winnipeg Foundation, the community foundation her husband, William Forbes Alloway, had established five years earlier.

Explore the 1930s

Building a reputation for reliability

Foundation Executive Director Peter Lowe served as provincial campaign vice-chair of the War Savings Certificate drive, and so it came as no surprise that in 1941, The Foundation took all its capital accounts awaiting investment and purchased Victory War Loans to support the effort.

Explore the 1940s

Responding to urgent needs

In 1951, The Foundation would redefine itself as a vehicle for community support in a wider range of areas, expanding to include medical research, recreational and “character building” activities, work by religious groups, and cultural projects.

Explore the 1950s

Expanding scope and role

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.

Explore the 1960s

Supporting innovative social welfare programming

The Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1971. The Winnipeg Tribune associate editor wrote: “Mr. Benham [Executive Director of The Winnipeg Foundation] can say with pride and justification that there has been little in the field of social welfare in the community that has been started over the years without some involvement in the part of the foundation.”

Explore the 1970s

Keeping pace with the times

The 1980s bring to mind big hair, big music, and big shoulder pads, and conditions were similarly big for The Foundation in terms of asset growth, granting and activities. By 1981, The Foundation’s assets exceed $20 million – double what they were in 1972. By 1987, capital assets had once again doubled to more than $40 million.

Explore the 1980s

Reflecting on its role in the community

The 1990s were a time of steady growth and deep reflection for The Foundation. In 1995, due to government restraint, The Foundation noted it had important lead role to play as a major funder in the community.

Explore the 1990s

Viewing its work from a new vantage point

The Foundation began the new millennium from a new vantage point – the 13th floor of the Richardson Building. Throughout the decade, it took an increasing role in leading responsive community programming, including Literacy for Life, Centennial Neighbourhood Project, Downtown Green Spaces Strategy, Youth in Philanthropy, and more.

Explore the 2000s

Leading with community

Throughout the 2010s, The Foundation engaged in new and innovative programming to support the community, including Nourishing Potential, Growing Active Kids, Community News Commons. It also saw impressive growth in grants distributed and contributions received.

Explore the 2010s

Living through a pandemic

COVID-19 revealed cracks in society through which our most vulnerable can fall. Between March and July 2020, The Foundation distributed COVID-19-related grants and convened a group of 18 charities to learn more about how the pandemic is impacting their organizations.

Explore the 2020s

Incredible Impact through the years

Explore all our centennial stories

What is The Winnipeg Foundation? We’re a charitable community foundation, built by community for community. Join us as we celebrate our 100th anniversary!

The following stories are from our keepsake edition of The Foundation’s magazine, Celebrating 100 years of working together to support our community. See the full issue on our Publications page.

Explore all our centennial stories

Celebrating Our Centennial

Join us as we celebrate 100 years of working together supporting our community.

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