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The Winnipeg Foundation is here to help our community as much as we are able. Part of our responsiveness is hearing from the sector about the most pressing issues they are facing. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Foundation worked with 18 bellwether organizations over eight weeks, across The Foundation’s Cause areas, to learn more about the impact the pandemic was having then on program and service delivery across Winnipeg’s charitable sector. The charities included in the project represented small, medium and large-sized organizations.
COVID-19 has changed the way we all do our work. The bellwether surveys identified trends in the sector in operations (changes in method of delivery, shift to online services), income and revenue (funders withholding operational funding, decline in revenue from sales through social enterprise closures) and human resources (shift to remote work, staff layoffs, mental health concerns and challenges in providing personal protective equipment to staff). Learn more – What are charities telling us
As a follow up to the bellwether surveys, a series of closed, small group roundtable discussions (hosted by CEO Rick Frost), were held earlier this fall. The roundtables were conducted using video conferencing, with participation of senior leadership from 57 different charitable organizations. The complexity of issues facing the sector are daunting. Most shared that a lack of leadership and support is a source of great frustration across the board. The ability to survive the pandemic is a question organizations are facing and the needs of the most vulnerable are growing.
The pandemic has exacerbated existing disparities. Those that were vulnerable and at risk before the pandemic are even more at risk now.
Since the pandemic began The Foundation has made grants totaling $12.8 million to charities across the city. Emergency response grants were allocated immediately to support Winnipeg’s most vulnerable citizens. Working together with United Way Winnipeg, Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada, additional federal support was allocated to the charitable sector in Winnipeg. The Foundation also received more than 300 applications for its Stabilization grants stream in June – allocating support to 278 of the applicants. Another round of federal funding applications has just closed, with allocations expected in the weeks ahead. The Foundation’s most recent community grants application round received more than 175 applications, requesting more than $12 million in support. These grant applications are currently being evaluated and will be determined by January of 2021. It is safe to say, requests for support across the charitable sector, are expected to continue at this challenging rate and grant request amounts for the foreseeable future as our charities struggle to re-establish themselves in a whole new set of circumstances and restrictions. See the full list of grants.
Thanks to our donors, The Winnipeg Foundation is here to support the sector as best we are able during these difficult times.