Helping community foundations to help their communities


Endow Manitoba staff work with local foundations to increase impact.
Lynda Lambert,
community foundations coordinator, Endow Manitoba

There’s an old adage in the community foundation movement: If you’ve seen one community foundation, you’ve seen one community foundation. That’s because each individual foundation serves its unique community. However, there are universal best practices that can help a foundation meet success, and an innovative new Endow Manitoba program is helping community foundations implement those practices.

Lynda Lambert is a community foundations coordinator with Endow Manitoba. Her role involves assuming a community foundations’ administrative tasks that support the organization’s growth and impact. Lambert understands firsthand how the unique flavour of each community influences universal community foundation operations; prior to joining the Endow team, she worked as part-time executive director of the Morden Area Foundation.

“We’re all doing the same thing, and yet we’re all so different,” Lambert says.

For example, some communities in Manitoba have many registered charities, while others have very few, thus requiring the foundation to develop strategic community relationships to expand their reach. Some community foundations cover relatively small areas, while others cover entire rural municipalities.

Endow Manitoba has been working hard to understand how community foundations operate, in order to provide customized sustainability and growth support. See story on facing page. Lambert’s role currently involves supporting the Morden Area Foundation, Plum Coulee Community Foundation, Morris Area Foundation, and The Steinbach Community Foundation. Other Endow staff support the Pembina Manitou Area Foundation, Miami and Area Foundation, and Carman Area Foundation. The costs of the community foundations coordinator positions are shared by both Endow Manitoba and the community foundations the staff work with.

“My position was developed as a way to help give community foundations administrative support and to help them grow,” Lambert explains.

For many community foundations, which are often volunteer-run, it can be challenging to find the time to formalize procedures and policies. The Endow Manitoba community foundations coordinators are there to support this work, “to help streamline operations, or perhaps provide more efficient ways of doing things,” Lambert says.

“Endow Manitoba provides tremendous insight into all functions that go into running a foundation, and then it’s up to the individual foundation and their board to decide what they want to prioritize and how they will make it their own, adding in their own local flavour,” Lambert says.

For example, through the program Endow has supported the recruitment of new board members for The Steinbach Community Foundation and Plum Coulee Community Foundation.

“Everybody is just crazy energized now because there are new people. There’s new excitement. Some of the people who have been there for a while, they now know they can pass the torch, and that it’s going into new hands that will handle it,” Lambert says.

Supporting community foundations and their work is something that energizes Lambert.

“I just love what I do so much. I love the people that I meet. I love learning new things through the Endow Manitoba team. I love watching all these foundations grow. Although each community is unique, each foundation cares so passionately about the future of their community.”

Learn more:

This story is featured in the Fall 2021 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

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