Photo: Vanessa McKay, past Youth in Philanthropy (YiP) and Student Internship Program (SIP) participant.
Young Winnipeg Connect develops community commitment in youth.
While some people her age are busy taking photos of their avocado toast, 19-year-old Indigenous leader Vanessa McKay is working to improve the lives of those in her community.
Her First Nations heritage has taught her that everyone is equal and should help each other, a value she continues to honour each day. With the help of The Winnipeg Foundation’s Young Winnipeg Connect programming, Ms. McKay’s hard work and dedication to her city has led her down an amazing path of success.
Thanks to her participation in Young Winnipeg Connect’s Youth in Philanthropy (YiP) and Student Internship Program (SIP), Ms. McKay has learned about philanthropy and has volunteered for charities across Winnipeg. Learn more about YiP and SIP below.
“[YiP] really opened my eyes for a whole lot of stuff across the city that I didn’t even know existed,” she says, citing her volunteer work with Koats for Kids, Habitat for Humanity and the Children’s Hospital Foundation, amongst others.
One of her most rewarding experiences was as Co-Chair for her YiP committee, where she gained leadership skills and learned about granting. Although the lessons learned were important to her, making lasting friendships and meeting new people were just as important.
“Without YiP, I wouldn’t have been able to meet everyone I have, or have the same opportunities I’ve had today.”
During her SIP placement at The University of Winnipeg’s Global College, Ms. Mckay was able to sit in on lectures and learn from mentor Marilou McPhedran, who is now a Senator in Ottawa. While many of her duties were clerical, Ms. McKay also met with various organizations where she learned about human rights.
She is currently a second-year chemistry major at The University of Winnipeg with interests in biochemistry and anthropology. While some students may have struggled with the high school to post-secondary transition, Ms. McKay was able to do it successfully thanks to SIP.
“I got to see before I went to university, how lectures were, how profs were, what the classrooms were like in the university environment,” she says. “It not only helped me in a working sense, but with my education.”
Young Winnipeg Connect
The Foundation engages young people in philanthropy and teaches them about the charitable sector through the following programs:
Youth in Philanthropy (YiP)
- Engages high school-aged youth in grantmaking to charitable organizations based on issues important to them and needs in their community.
- In 2017, 27 schools and three community organizations had YiP Committees.
- About 600 students and 50 advisors participate annually.
- Value of grants from 2014 to 2017: $740,000.
Student Internship Program (SIP)
- Builds on the experience of YiP, by providing youth with eight-week paid internships in the charitable sector.
- Approximately 10 to 15 placements per year.
- Value of SIP internships from 2014 to 2017: $176,122.
Emerging Leaders’ Fellowship (ELF)
- Winnipeggers aged 18 to 35 apply for a grant of up to $10,000 in support of a project they create and implement, together with a charitable organization.
- Participants gain project management skills and hands-on experience working in the charitable sector.
- Between 2014 and 2017, 19 fellows received $162,969.