Sister Lesley Sacouman, SNJM, known as Sr. Lesley, has made an indelible mark on our community. Her compassion and wisdom act as a pathway and a voice for those at the margins of our community. She is a bridge-builder, ensuring resources and people of vision are empowered in impactful, new ways.
Sr. Lesley was appointed to the Board of The Winnipeg Foundation in 2001. In 2002 she embarked on her own version of a sabbatical, living in New York in a shelter with people experiencing homelessness. She brought this life-changing experience back to Winnipeg, sharing a dream of creating a transitional shelter for women from many countries, circumstances and faiths. The result is the House of Peace, which opened in downtown Winnipeg in 2004. This has become Sr. Lesley’s chosen home, offering her time and experience, without remuneration.
Sr. Lesley embodies an attractive spirit: fearless, welcoming, good humoured and smart, harnessed in a life of service. She sees the world through the eyes of others, embedded in her education as a teacher.
In her previous role as Chair of The Foundation’s Grants Committee, she was sensitive to matters of inclusion, welcoming new voices and ideas drawn from our diverse community, particularly in the Indigenous community and from newcomers and refugees. Sr. Lesley also served on The Winnipeg Foundation’s Strategic Initiatives and Governance committees and at meetings of the Manitoba Foundations Council.
Perhaps her most generous contribution to The Winnipeg Foundation is the gift of two simple words: “for all.” Sr. Lesley advocated for The Winnipeg Foundation to amend its vision statement, which was previously “A Winnipeg where community life flourishes” to include those two additional words, ensuring equitable support for all.