The Winkler Community Foundation saw continued growth last year.
The organization held their AGM on April 15, and executive director Myra Peters said 2018 was a great year of celebrating community.
“We continued to grow,” she said. “We’re here to build our community, and I think people are starting to ask the questions and learning more about who and what the Foundation is. We are definitely seeing the growth in the Foundation, and we are in a good financial position.”
Pay it Forward May, an initiative between WCF and Morden Area Foundation, has been growing rapidly over the past few years.
“Businesses and individuals are taking on the challenge and it’s been a really fun initiative impacting our community,” Peters said.
Pay it Forward May urges members of the community to pay it forward in little ways, like buying coffee for someone or helping a neighbour with their yardwork to foster connections and a sense of community within Winkler and Morden. There were events and activities within the month organized by the Foundation, but the community is encouraged to find their own way to pay it forward as well.
Last year Triple E donated a van to the cause. “It was definitely a wonderful addition to the campaign,” Peters said. “It’s a moving billboard, it’s a visible sign reminding people about Pay it Forward May. It was seen throughout the community at different events, at different activities. The visibility just put the reminder in for people.”
“It’s amazing when you’re looking for kindness, what you see is happening,” she added. “It’s really cool to notice that.”
As May approaches, Peters said the Foundation will be once again inviting the community to get involved.
“We know that big and small gestures all impact how we view the community and how we feel a part of the community,” she said. “We really want to build our community in that sense.”
The second Vital Signs report was also released by the Foundation in 2018. “It’s a wonderful resource for the community to help initiate change,” she said. “It’s a great tool for the whole community. Others in the community that want to see change and have ideas, this is a huge resource for them because they can see some of the trends that are happening.”
“We see certain things and now we’ve got a snapshot that puts some data together in a very easy to read way,” she added.
The report surveyed 687 local residents on topics like health and wellness, sense of belonging, the economy and standard of living.
The report also graded Winkler on each category. The city received a B in most topics, with a C grade in getting around, housing and standard of living.
Peters said she and the Foundation wanted to thank administrative coordinator Karina Cardona for spearheading the effort.
The Foundation had over $139,000 in endowed funds and just over $40,000 in flow through funds granted to 28 charitable organizations and 35 post-secondary scholarships.
Two new funds were established, which brings the Foundation’s total to 14 endowment funds.
These two new funds are Mend the Gap, which supports initiatives and programs that alleviate poverty, and the Falk Fehr Foundation Fund, which supports charitable activity in Winkler and the surrounding area.
The 24 Hour Giving Challenge was a huge success, in which donations in a single day were matched by The Winnipeg Foundation, The Province of Manitoba and several local businesses.
“It’s really helping to give back more,” Peters said. “The money that we raised during the 24 Hour Giving Challenge directly impacts our community grants, so each year we can grow the fund that gives back more each year.”
The Foundation raised over $48,000 during the challenge, which is over $10,000 more than what was raised in 2017.
There were four Youth in Philanthropy groups in Winkler last year with around 53 students participating.