It is true what they say that sometimes the best gifts come in small packages.
But, after what happened last week, you could also say that sometimes the best gifts come in small announcements.
Last week, The Winnipeg Foundation confirmed - through only a single advertisement - that 17 years after the Moffat family came to them to donate $100 million, they had returned with a cheque for an additional $50 million.
"It is a remarkable gift from a very generous family," Rick Frost, CEO of The Winnipeg Foundation, said last week.
"The original gift was, at the time, the largest gift to a community foundation in Canada. It has since been surpassed by a $117 million one in Calgary, but here with another $50 million it is a larger number."
Frost said the original $100 million has already generated 2,500 grants, worth a total of more than $55 million, to organizations in Winnipeg and 12 other communities where the Moffat family used to do business.
The money to create the Moffat Family Fund came when Randy Moffat, the chairman of Moffat Communications Ltd., sold the company for $1.2 billion to Shaw Communications. The company had radio and television stations in Canada and the United States and had created the Women's Television Network specialty channel.
The vision of the Moffat Family Fund is to create "a Canadian society where all individuals have equal opportunities to develop their potential."
Frost said the fund is still very personal to the Moffat family because four times a year, three generations of the family gather at the foundation's downtown Winnipeg offices to decide which organizations and projects will be funded.
The Centennial Neighbourhood Project and Ma Mawi's Family Group Conferencing program are just two areas that have been assisted here in Winnipeg.
"The fund has impacted on countless people and now, with additional funds, the impact going forward will be even more remarkable," Frost said.
Over the top!
- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder -- and sometimes it can be in your stomach at the same time. The 14th annual Over the Top art auction and cupcake party was held by Mentoring Artists for Women's Art last weekend and co-executive director Shawna Dempsey says it raised more than $30,000. "We're still counting, but it looks like this will be our second or third best year," she said, noting the money raised is about 10 per cent of MAWA's annual budget. The organization supports women in the visual arts. Participants walked away with 177 pieces of art and ate most of the more than 1,200 cupcakes baked. Leftover cupcakes were dropped off at Siloam Mission.
No. 1 for No. 1?
- Everybody has to use one when they have to go number one - or two - but just which one is number one? We're talking about washrooms and Cintas Canada, a company that helps stock restrooms across the country, has launched its ninth annual Canada's Best Restroom Contest. Last year, the Bayview Village Shopping Centre in Toronto took the title for best loo in the land. In the first eight years of the contest, no Manitoba lavatory has been deemed worthy of the top prize... ... or maybe one wasn't even nominated? Let's change that. Visit their site to nominate your favourite local water closet.
From darkness, light
- It began with an abduction and homicide, but it led to the dream of a safe place for victims of crime. And this dream is soon to become a reality, as construction began on Candace House last week. Candace House is named for Candace Derksen, a 13-year-old girl who was found slain following a six-week search that gripped the city in 1984. Located a block away from the Law Courts Building, the facility named for her is meant to be a safe, home-like place to go to when families of victims have to attend court. Candace House is expected to open this summer.
A wealth of information
- Residents in Windsor Park can read all about it in a new library. The $4.9 million Windsor Park Library, located on Archibald Street, opened its doors last week and showed off its brand new 8,000 square feet of space. "Libraries, for me, are the grand equalizer. They are such an important public service," said Coun. Matt Allard at the opening. "It doesn’t matter what your income is, what your religion is, what your creed is, everyone is welcome here. Anyone can access this wealth of information. It really does open up the world to you." The library has some 25,000 items on offer -- including books, movies, and music -- and it's got free Wi-Fi and computers for public use, meeting and study space, and it offers more than 80 free programs.
- We'll close this week by looking at how local students are beginning to look beyond their own lives to learn about international events - and react to them. While last month's shooting at a Florida high school was tragic, it was uplifting last week to see students at Grant Park High School walk out of their school and classes to stand in solidarity with the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and across the United States. One of the Grant Park organizers, 16-year-old Sam Kimelman, said "the point of today was to show that students can make a change. Another, Izzie Helenchilde, said "it's really important for people of my age, of my generation, to know that they can use their voice to make a difference."