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Photo: Ma Mawi’s Youth in Philanthropy Committee (left to right): Dora Garneau, Stewart Murdock, Brianna Blind, Destiny Sanderson, Coordinator Brittany Murdock and Nikita Kemble.
YiPpers from Ma Mawi help themselves by helping others.

Eighteen-year-old Brianna Blind is discovering her North End community, the supports it offers, and how she can help – plus she’s making friends and learning more about her Indigenous culture – all by participating in Youth in Philanthropy (YiP).

“YiP has helped us by allowing us to see what’s really going on behind the scenes of non-profit organizations,” she says.

Ms. Blind is a member of the YiP Committee at Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata, a strength and values-based service provider that aims to empower the Indigenous community. A program of The Winnipeg Foundation, YiP introduces high school-aged youth to community development through grant-making. Youth form committees based out of high schools or community organizations. Committees are allocated granting dollars for the year and must determine where and how much to grant to charitable organizations. While it’s fun to figure out, it can also be challenging for the group. To help, each YiP committee writes a mission statement.

The Ma Mawi YiP Committee’s mission is:

‘We are a group of Indigenous youth; whose main goal is to provide support to organizations focused on helping Sexually Exploited Women and Girls in Winnipeg.’

“We wanted to address sexually exploited women because we feel like it gets swept under the rug. People usually blame the woman, and there’s a lot more than that,” explains 17-year-old Dora Garneau. “It was powerful to all come together and talk about finding ways to help.”

“We chose this mission statement because so many issues are tied together with it, such as addictions, homelessness and troubled youth,” adds 17-year-old Destiny Sanderson.

Throughout the year, YiP committees visit different charities to learn about the charities’ work and decide whether to make a grant. The Ma Mawi YiPpers concentrated on organizations located within walking distance of Ma Mawi’s King Street location, including Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad and Ka Ni Kanichihk.

During the site visits, the committee was surprised to learn of the services offered in the community. By learning about the programs available, they become a resource for family, friends, and themselves.

“YiP has given me the opportunity to give back to programs and to help other people,” says 16-year-old Nikita Kemble. “I’m really glad I joined.”

Ma Mawi uses the Seven Sacred Teachings – love, humility, honesty, wisdom, courage, truth and respect – as a foundation for their work. This is one of the reasons some of the young people chose to join the Ma Mawi YiP Committee.

What is YiP?

  • Created by The Winnipeg Foundation in 1999, Youth in Philanthropy aims to engage young people in philanthropy.
  • The program is geared toward high school-aged youth.
  • YiP currently has 30 committees, 27 from high schools, and three from community organizations: Ma Mawi, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM), and Boys and Girls Clubs.
  • Approximately $150,000 in grants is distributed by YiP groups annually.

YiP at Ma Mawi

    • Recognizing the need for greater inner-city representation, The Winnipeg Foundation reached out to three community organizations, including Ma Mawi.
    • Ma Mawi’s YiP Committee has been active since 2011, providing dozens of inner-city youth with an opportunity to learn more about, and become involved with, philanthropy.
    • Although there are dozens of YiP committees from different schools in Winnipeg, the Ma Mawi group takes a different approach by joining inner-city youth from several high schools in the area including Children of the Earth, R.B. Russell, St. John’s and Tec Voc.
    • Bringing youth together allows them to learn from and with each other, compare experiences, and share philanthropic goals.

This story is featured in the Summer 2018 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

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