Getting the full story


Foundation podcast delves deep with community leaders.
Nolan Bicknell, host of BeCause & Effect.

The stories that lead us to the Causes we care about are often deeply personal. Our individual experiences of hardship, friendship and kinship are the reason we’re driven to compassion. The Winnipeg Foundation’s BeCause & Effect podcast is designed to get to the heart of those stories.

“The long form nature of the podcast allows me to deep dive with each guest on why they care about a particular Cause,” says Nolan Bicknell, host of BeCause & Effect.

Bicknell has chatted with many notable Winnipeggers in front of the microphones — including conversations with Ace Burpee and Scott Oake.

Distinguished sportscaster Oake — who lost his son Bruce to a drug overdose in 2015 — opened up about the personal grief that has lead to the family’s dedication for rehabilitation, addiction, and mental illness services for people “Our son battled addiction for the last four or five years of his life. It was that rollercoaster of ‘addiction, recovery, relapse’,” says Oake during Episode 1 of Because & Effect. “We miss him every day. We have holes in our heart that will never heal.”

It was his son’s death that lead Oake and his wife Anne to want to develop a new addictions recovery centre in Winnipeg named in honour of Bruce. Bicknell’s conversation with Ace Burpee in Episode 3 got personal when the prominent radio personality, who has served on The Winnipeg Foundation’s Nourishing Potential Committee, opened up about why mental illness initiatives are so meaningful to him.

“My mother worked in mental health and has her whole life. I was always around that issue,” Burpee says. “On days off from school I would go to the Selkirk Mental Health Centre. It was always very normal to me; as in these are not things to be ashamed about or taboo.”

As host of The Ace Burpee Show, he uses his platform to amplify overlooked voices.

“A lot of people need a champion, and for others, they either don’t have a voice, or they have a voice and it’s not being heard,” Burpee says.

Bicknell hopes the BeCause & Effect podcast gives listeners a candid look into the hearts and minds that exist behind the names you’ve heard.

“I can sometimes be a cynical and negative person, but after talking to so many people that are making our city and our world a better place, you can’t help but feel inspired to get out there and do the same,” Bicknell says.

Guests on season 1 of BeCause & Effect:

  • Scott Oake
  • Kal Barteski
  • Ace Burpee
  • Cynthia Drebot
  • Steven Schipper
  • Sister Lesley Sacouman
  • Bruce MacDonald
  • Joan Blight
  • Ian McCausland
  • Cate Friesen
  • Lynne Skromeda
  • Mark Chipman

Listen to the BeCause & Effect podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or anywhere you find your podcasts.

In their own words

The Because & Effect podcast wraps each episode with a segment called Just Because, which asks guests a series of quick questions about the causes they care about. Below is a taste of what some of those featured in season 1 had to say.

Steven Schipper

Nolan Bicknell and Steven Schipper.
Nolan Bicknell and Steven Schipper.

As the latest Royal MTC season came to a close this spring, so too did Steven Schipper’s 30-year run as the theatre company’s Artistic Director. Schipper’s long and notable career is woven deep into the fabric of Winnipeg’s theatre community. Hailing from Montreal, Schipper came to Royal MTC to lend his vision to many productions.

Q: What is the first Cause you remember caring about?

A: As the child of Holocaust survivors, the first Cause I remember caring about was the fight against anti-Semitism.

Q: If money, politics and logistics were no issue at all, what’s the first thing you would do in support of your Cause?

A: I would teach every child that anti-Semitism is evil and people who hate Jews are bigots. I’d continue teaching that truth for generations until there were no more anti-Semites.

Cynthia Drebot

Nolan Bicknell and Cynthia Drebot.

Twenty-four-years-ago, Cynthia Drebot responded to a volunteer opportunity on a university bulletin board to work with youth in the criminal justice system. She instantly knew she would dedicate her life to working with overlooked members of society. Today she serves as the Executive Director of the North End Women’s Centre, a charity that works to empower women.

Q: What is the first Cause you remember caring about?

A: I had a teacher who stapled a hairdressing job application to my failed math test. I was so enraged by the fact that he was trying to belittle me. That was a pivotal moment for me. So, fighting for people to be treated fairly, justly, and equally in some way. Because it was done to me, and I saw it being done to other people.

Q: What is the biggest misunderstanding or stigma around your Cause?

A: The Cause around equality, and specifically with women, I think the biggest stigma is not understanding that there is a starting point. There is a continuum of where people are at and where they started.

Sister Lesley Sacouman

Nolan Bicknell and Sister Lesley Sacouman.
Nolan Bicknell and Sister Lesley Sacouman.

Sister Lesley Sacouman’s unwavering relationship with God is at the heart of her selflessness and giving. Now Executive Director of Holy Names House of Peace—a charity dedicated to empowering newcomers—Sister Lesley is committed to helping as many marginalised members of society as she can.

Q: What’s the first Cause you remember caring about?

A: I’m four-years-old. I’m on a bus with my mom, there’s a man who’s drunk who’s slobbering and acting in my mind oddly as a child, and I’m staring. My mom leans over and says, “Lesley don’t stare at him. He’s sick.” That moment led me throughout all my experiences.

Q: What is the biggest misunderstanding or stigma around your Cause?

A: What I hear sometimes is, “With all these immigrants and refugees coming, they’re going to use up our health care and resources.” I find this really heartbreaking, because when you look at the size of Canada, when you look at our wealth, if we want to live fully, then we need to welcome and celebrate the newness of life.

Content has been edited for context and brevity. To hear the full episodes, head to

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

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