How the community is playing a role in our direction
Having just passed my 20th anniversary as CEO, it is particularly interesting for me to place these past four years into the context of our long history. It took us 80 years (1921-2001) to distribute the first $100 million in grants but we surpassed that total in just four years by distributing $120 million between 2014 and 2017. The growing impact of endowments at The Winnipeg Foundation is clearly increasing.
None of this would be possible without our generous donors and during the last four years, we significantly increased our capacity to serve their needs. We augmented staffing support for donor advisors, gift planning and scholarships. It is certainly rewarding to see programs like our Legacy Circle continue to grow. And of course, the increasing levels of activity on all fronts have demanded more attention to administration.
While the contents of this magazine are focused on the accomplishments and milestones of the recent past, my personal focus is on the next Strategic Plan. It will cover three years beginning in 2019 and including our centennial in 2021. It is exciting to know that we are laying the groundwork for the next 100 years of community service.
The process for building our 2019-2021 Strategic Plan is quite different. Rather than relying primarily on internal discussions, we launched a very public consultation process called Vital Signs®. It involved surveys, community conversation and supportive research. Read more here – A snapshot of life in Winnipeg. The report was released in October 2017. Its findings are certainly informing our future priorities. Already, the emphasis in Vital Signs on the importance of reconciliation with Winnipeg’s Indigenous community has generated a new granting stream. The whole plan will be released later this year.
Of course, because The Winnipeg Foundation is a collection of endowments, stewardship is a fundamental responsibility. Much of our energy and time must be directed to fulfilling the responsibilities created by endowments already established. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our donors, the current size of our endowments means approximately $40 million will be distributed annually to more than 900 community organizations forever. Stewardship of what already exists demands prudent investment and financial management, transparent and accountable communication, as well as effective donor relations.
Right now, our Board and staff are working to strike the right balance as we conclude our first one hundred years in pursuit of ‘a Winnipeg where community life flourishes for all.’