From our board chair
Celebrating a century of community support
Celebrating 100 years of community support is not a task to be taken lightly. How do you pay tribute to all those who have chosen to support our community through The Winnipeg Foundation? How do you recognize the impact those working in the charitable sector have on countless lives in so many ways? We spend a lot of time thinking about that.
Prior to COVID, The Winnipeg Foundation had planned a variety of activities to celebrate its centennial, including many that brought community together, but of course, like everything, those had to be altered. Despite the pandemic, we celebrated in a variety of ways, across all Cause areas.
We started by looking back on our past 100 years and celebrated William and Elizabeth Alloway, who established The Winnipeg Foundation in 1921. We produced a specialty publication containing information about The Foundation’s past 100 years, including stories about citizens’ generosity and the change charities have been driving in our community for the past century; it was the largest compendium of our history ever published. Read more about it – Celebrating 100 years of supporting our community.
Our annual Legacy Circle event paid homage to the time period in which the Alloways started The Foundation by hosting a virtual ice cream social, read A 2021 twist on an ice cream social. Dalnavert Museum hosted Sunday teas during the summer, as well as a series of nine, free public lectures to honour Elizabeth Alloway.
In addition, we shared the Alloways’ story through a special exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, called Alloways’ Winnipeg. A complimentary exhibit, called Rosalie Favell’s Family Legacy, saw contemporary Métis artist Rosalie Favell piece together the intersecting histories of the City of Winnipeg and the Indigenous peoples of the Red River settlement. The pair of exhibitions demonstrated reconciliation in action. For more, read We started by looking back on our past 100 years and celebrated William and Elizabeth Alloway, who established The Winnipeg Foundation in 1921. We produced a specialty publication containing information about The Foundation’s past 100 years, including stories about citizens’ generosity and the change charities have been driving in our community for the past century; it was the largest compendium of our history ever published. Read more about it – Celebrating 100 years of supporting our community.
As a lasting tribute, we established the Centennial Institute. A passion of The Foundation’s former CEO Rick Frost, the Centennial Institute is dedicated to promoting and preserving different histories through scholarships, grants, and events. Learn more – Building an inclusive history. According to Dr. Tina Chen, University of Manitoba history professor and a Winnipeg Foundation board member who advised on the establishment of the Centennial Institute, studying history “allows us to analyze and understand the complex operation of power and knowledge. It’s an opportunity to understand the ways in which everyday lives in the past and present are lived in relation to systemic, institutional, community, and individual belief systems.” Read more in our Board spotlight with Dr. Tina Chen.
We found safe ways to bring community together, by sponsoring the Centennial River Trail at The Forks and by working together with the Exchange District BIZ to present the Journey of Generosity Walking Tour. Both of these events included selfie contests where participants could win grants for their favourite local charities. Read more – Celebrating 100 years of supporting our community.
This centennial year also gave us the opportunity to look forward. We asked community members to articulate their visions for Winnipeg’s next 100 years and the potential role philanthropy might play in achieving those visions. The essay collection was so well received that we have turned it into the Next 100 Speakers Series, which will begin this fall and run into the new year. Celebrating 100 years of supporting our community explains this initiative.
The Winnipeg Foundation’s vision is ‘a Winnipeg where community life flourishes for all,’ and there are so many opportunities for this to happen. One of the strengths of our community foundation is that it can provide community support during times of disruption, such as a global pandemic. The Foundation reallocated funding initially earmarked for centennial celebrations to a distribution of funds for the front-line charities working to support our community.
While our celebrations had to be altered, we believe we found a fitting way to pay homage to our past 100 years, while positioning us for our next century. In Taking direction from community, you can read more about the ways in which we are preparing for our future in the note from our new CEO, Sky Bridges.
I’d also like to note that this is my last issue as board chair of The Winnipeg Foundation. Tom Bryk will assume the position beginning in January. I feel deeply honoured and very privileged to have served as chair for this incredible organization. As a fundholder and Legacy Circle member I know it will have ever greater importance and impact on our city and province in the next 100 years.
Board Chair, The Winnipeg Foundation (2019-2021)
This story is featured in the Fall 2021 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.