Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Charity hits $300-million 'milestone'

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IT took the Winnipeg Foundation 80 of its 91 years to give out $100 million in grants.

Just 11 years later, it has handed out a total of more than $300 million.

Richard Frost, the foundation's CEO, said it's a landmark that shines a spotlight on the good work the organization promotes in the community and the many ordinary Winnipeggers who have entrusted it with their funds.

"It's a big milestone," Frost said Wednesday, shortly after the organization announced its 2012 results.

"It took 80 years to hit $100 million and six more years for $200 million and five years later for $300 million. In four to five years, we'll be at $400 million. We owe this success to the donors from all walks of life who have entrusted us with their resources and their hopes and dreams for our community."

The foundation was created in 1921 with a $100,000 cheque from Winnipeg banker William Forbes Alloway. Since then, numerous Winnipeggers have contributed money to the foundation when they are alive or in their wills.

Frost said the result is almost 800 organizations now benefit from a percentage of the interest generated by the foundation's endowment fund, worth $488 million in 2012. The average grant is $15,000.

Frost said the foundation is still recovering from the global economic meltdown in 2008, when its fund shrank from $445 million to $419 million.

"We've had a very successful year and we had a 12.2 per cent return. After five years of a very difficult investment climate, this is good."

He said donors contributed $26.1 million in 2012, the most in one year since 2004.

The foundation used Wednesday's announcement to unveil its 2013 theme, Smart and Caring. Frost said it has earmarked $2 million in grants during the next three years to give to projects on which two or more charities collaborate.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 17, 2013 A8

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