Changemakers recognized for philanthropic efforts


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St. Boniface

St. Vital

A number of Manitobans have been rewarded for their philanthropic efforts.

The 24th annual Manitoba Philanthropy Awards ceremony, hosted by the Manitoba chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, was held on Nov. 15. That was the date of National Philanthropy Day — a day that’s intended to recognize philanthropic contributions across the province, the nation, and the world.

According to news release, five individuals and organizations are being recognized this year for their philanthropic contributions. These include Grady Batchelor — outstanding youth in philanthropy; Bob Sokalski — outstanding volunteer fundraiser; the Lount family — outstanding philanthropist; Red River Co-op — outstanding corporation; and Techapalooza — outstanding philanthropic group.

“The people we’re recognizing are making an incredible difference, and are often contributing to more than one cause,” Karen Fowler, who is also the president and chief executive officer of the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, said.

“We’re recognizing the people, corporations and service organizations who are truly making a difference in the community and really engaging with charitable organizations and making an impact in the community. These are changemakers.”

Among those being recognized that have southeast Winnipeg connections are Batchelor, a nine-year-old École Julie-Riel student.

During the past seven years, Batchelor and his family has raised more than $35,000 for the Kidney Foundation through its annual Kidney Walk. Batchelor has also had the opportunity to help raise awareness about kidneys, kidney disease and organ donation at his St. Vital school when it held its Kidney Kare spirit week. Batchelor underwent a kidney transplant in April 2021.

As well, Red River Co-op also has roots in the southeast quadrant of the city, with two of its stores based in St. Vital and Southdale. The corporation donated more than $308,000 to over 70 different non-profit organizations, charities and causes in 2021.

Kelly Romas, Red River Co-op’s director of marketing, said it’s an honour to be recognized for its community giving.

“Supporting communities is at the heart of everything we do at Red River Co-op and to be recognized in this way is a testament to the efforts of our co-operative as a whole,” Romas said.

RRC was nominated for the recognition by the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba as a long-standing supporter of the foundation.

“More recently, we have made donations so they can buy equipment needed by patients, raised funds for them through our annual Fuel Good Day in 2019, and donated funds for their new outdoor play area for their child and adolescent mental health program patients,” Romas said.

“Our food stores will also be selling holiday cookbooks supporting CHFM this holiday season, with recipes sourced from families in our shared communities. We have done a lot of work together over the years and their nomination for Red River Co-op to receive this award is in recognition of the overall impact our co-op makes in our communities.”

Go online at for more information.

Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller
Community Journalist

Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at or call him at 204-697-7111.

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