Photo: “With any organization, it’s a good thing to have an endowment fund so the funds go on forever. And you have money that you can depend on year by year.” – Iris Maurstad, fund holder
Retired accountant believes in the value of endowments.
Iris Maurstad has always been good with money. From the age of five, she’d save her pennies.
“I was always a saver. I always came home with more money and [my sister] came home with nothing. Often my mother or grandmother would give me 5 or 10 cents, and I’d put it in my purse. She’d give my sister the same amount, but my sister would spend it and I’d have mine when I got home.”
Ms. Maurstad’s thrifty nature has persisted, and her appreciation for responsible spending is one of the reasons she has been working with The Winnipeg Foundation for more than a decade. She’s been involved in setting up endowment funds for various organizations she’s served, including the Women’s Canadian Club of Winnipeg Centennial Educational Fund, and the Lady Gray’l Fund.
Though these funds have different interests in mind, they share a common goal: to support their particular cause forever.
The Lady Gray’l Fund was established in 2006 in honour of Lady Gray’l, the famous great gray owl. Lady Gray’l passed away in October 2005 after 21 years as an ambassador and teacher of Manitoba wildlife research, education, and conservation. The Lady Gray’l Fund was co-founded by Dr. Robert Nero, Sherrie Versluis, The Foundation’s Director of Strategic Philanthropy Cathy Auld and Ms. Maurstad. The Donor-Advised Fund supports education, research, conservation, and native habitat protection for wildlife, with particular focus on projects related to owls.
The Women’s Canadian Club of Winnipeg recently celebrated its 110th birthday. The group meets for lunch on a monthly basis “to foster the Canadian Spirit by conserving the traditions of the past and encouraging interest in the future.”
The Club established a Scholarship Fund in 2007 to provide bursaries at the University of Manitoba for students enrolled in their third or fourth year of studies in the Faculty of Arts, in the Canadian Studies Program, or the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Since 2014, the focus has shifted to support students enrolled in the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources at the University of Manitoba.
No matter what type of fund or which projects and programs it may support, Ms. Maurstad knows endowments allow gifts to truly make a lasting impact.
“I’ve always been a fan of having money around forever, so the idea that it [an endowment fund] would be in perpetuity was perfect for any concepts I had,” Ms. Maurstad says. “With any organization, it’s a good thing to have an endowment fund so the funds go on forever. And you have money that you can depend on year by year.”
Ms. Maurstad is retired from her career as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), but has taken her financial knowledge with her, while volunteering for, and serving on, various boards, organizations, and agencies over the years.
“A lot of people don’t see the value in putting money aside and having it for the future. They’d rather have it now, and spend it now. I try to convince them but sometimes I just throw up my hands,” she says with a laugh. “But having a fund that will carry on into the future makes me feel really good. When you invest money, it does grow. And that is a good idea.”