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NonprofitWe’re Canada’s first community foundation. In 95 years, we’ve granted $400 million to a wide range of local causes. We’re Rick Frost (CEO) and Megan Tate (Director of Community Grants) of The Winnipeg Foundation – AUA!

Aug 4th 2016 by winnipegfdn • 7 Questions • 56 Points

Hello, reddit! We’re The Winnipeg Foundation! We’re a community foundation based in Winnipeg, Manitoba and founded in 1921, making us the first one in Canada. We’re an endowment-based organization; the gifts we receive are permanently invested, and we distribute grants to local charities from a portion of the interest, so gifts continue to give forever.

We support all areas of the non-profit sector in Winnipeg - everything ranging from arts to the environment. Last year, we granted $27.7 million to more than 900 local charities, and to date, we’ve granted $400 million in our community.

Our CEO Rick Frost and Director of Community Grants Megan Tate are here to answer any questions you may have about us; for example: our granting, endowment funds, leadership initiatives, community foundations or even philanthropy in general! AUA!

Our Proof: https://twitter.com/winnipegfdn/status/761254926680989696

EDIT: Thanks reddit, we had a blast but Megan and Rick have to get back to work!

If you have any other questions about what we do, please don't hesitate to visit our website or give us a call. Thanks again!

Q:

There are always so many different causes and initiatives that people can give money/time to, what kind of steps do groups need to go through to get their cause up and running?

Also - How has the fundraising process evolved on a local level over the past few years?

A:

Hi thank you for your questions.

There are always so many different causes and initiatives that people can give money/time to, what kind of steps do groups need to go through to get their cause up and running?

Megan: There are 86,000 registered charities in Canada that are already doing great work. Sometimes we recommend that people partner with agencies or organizations that already exist and are currently working in that area. So have a good look around before you start your own charity or effort.

Also - How has the fundraising process evolved on a local level over the past few years?

Megan: Technology has played a huge part in how things have changed over the past few years. With crowdfunding and kickstarter and other tools like that becoming commonplace. It's a bit of a contrast to our "traditional" business which focuses on endowment and legacy giving - For Good, Forever. ;)

Rick: There are more charities competing for fewer donors and fewer dollars, and as a result larger charities are becoming more sophisticated and smaller charities are suffering.


Q:

In the case then of overlap in terms of the mission of a group of charities, how do you go about deciding which to fund, and what are the principal factors?

A:

Megan: Just like all grant applications, we look at a number of factors, including the strength of their grant proposal, governance (their board of directors and staff leadership), their engagement with the community, how they consult with the people they serve, their track record delivering programs, the diversity of their other funding sources, and their grant history with The Winnipeg Foundation (including if they have followed up with their final reports).

Rick: Unfortunately, the number of requests we receive is always greater than the amount we have available for granting, so sometimes even great projects aren't able to be funded.


Q:

Ah, apologies if this wasn't clear. I meant specifically how you compare endeavours and groups with overlapping demographics and projects as defined by their mission statements. Specifically, when might you decide that a smaller organisation might be more effective than a larger one, for instance?

A:

Rick: The size of the organization doesn't really play a factor in our grantmaking process. What we're really looking at is the thought behind the project and the impact that we think it's going to deliver in the community.


Q:

I don't mean to be challenging, but this interests me professionally, what factors other than the projected mission can sway you in terms of your notion of its eventual impact?

Thank you again for answering!

A:

Rick: The number of other organizations that are aligned, or individual leaders in the community, or the diversity of the leadership in the community.

Megan: It really is a case-by-case basis, as a 360 degree funder, each application is evaluated on its merits, as well as in the context of the other applications under review.


Q:

Greetings from Vancouver Foundation! Wonderful to see you online and ready for questions. :)

We have some for you - What is the main issue or cause in your community that you believe you have influenced for the better?

And - do you see a lot of younger people aware of, and interested in working with your community foundation, or are they generally hard to reach out to?

A:

Rick: Hi guys, thanks so much for your comments and questions.

What is the main issue or cause in your community that you believe you have influenced for the better?

For your first question, that's a hard one to answer because there are so many causes that we continually try and help. If we had to pick one area, I'd say we have done lots of work with a focus on kids and programs for young people. To help kids get a good start.

Do you see a lot of younger people aware of, and interested in working with your community foundation, or are they generally hard to reach out to?

For your second question, our Youth in Philanthropy program connects with more than 600 high school students each year. Last year we had 1800 young people participate in our Youth Vital Signs project as well. Our survey tells us that not many young people know us compared to people 55+, but those that do know us seem very enthusiastic about learning more.


Q:

Hello Winnipeg Foundation! Heritage Winnipeg here.

What is an individual moment (or moments) in your career that really stand out to you and make you feel like all the work you do is "worth it"?

A:

Hello Heritage Winnipeg! Thanks so much for the question!

Megan: I used to coordinate our youth engagement programs, so some of my most rewarding moments are finding out what our Youth in Philanthropy alumni have been up to. One former YiPper was a summer intern here and now works for the Community Foundation of Ottawa.

Rick: It's happened often with different people, but when someone decides to create a legacy for whatever personal motivation they may have. It's like an endorsement of the whole community foundation idea and it builds the impact that we're able to have thanks to their generosity, every year, from now until forever.


Q:

What's a question you wish people would ask about TWF? And of course, what's the answer?

A:

Rick: Ha! Great question.

Here's a question we hope people ask... "Is the Winnipeg Foundation for everyone?"

Most people don't know that the median gift every year is $100. We have over 3,000 funds that people are contributing to with gifts both large and small. Our approach has always been that when we, as a community, pool our resources and work together, great things can happen for Winnipeg.

We're always developing ways of working with donors. If you have feedback, pick up the phone and give us a call! We are happy to get back to you.

Megan: That's an interesting question... I think I'd want people to ask something like "Why are 'community building' funds so important?"

And the answer is... because they give us the most flexibility to respond to community needs.

For example: In the 1950s it was supporting kids with polio. Currently, we're providing iPads to people with communication challenges, and in the future it will be for things we can't even imagine.