A Fund for a Friend

by Josh Kerr | May 04, 2022

The city may be different, but the tribute remains the same

Before settling in Toronto for close to ten years now, Jewish day school teacher, and mother of three, Andrea Schaffer, spent time in Victoria, Boston, and Israel both learning and teaching. However, it all started in Winnipeg, where she graduated from Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate and remained until completing her undergraduate degree. 

Actively involved in Winnipeg's Jewish community growing up, Andrea spent her summers at Camp Massad and immersed herself in BBYO before receiving a Judaic Studies scholarship from the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba in 2000. 

Since 2018, Andrea has made an annual donation to the same fund – the Gray Academy's 'Class of '98 - In Memory of Adam Potash' fund. Each year, the gift is made in February, around Adam's birthday. 

"Adam was a classmate of mine forever; we went to camp together; he was a very very dear friend of mine," says Schaffer. "Sadly, when we were 19, he took his own life."

At her most recent high school reunion in 2018, Schaffer and her classmates, Adam's friends, decided the best way to honour his memory was to create a fund that would direct distributions to support mental health programming and resources for Gray Academy students.

"It's a way to keep a dear friend's memory alive and support other people who struggle in the same ways he struggled despite us not knowing," says Schaffer. "I think it helps strengthen the school that gave me so much; it helps them provide what the students really need."

The Gray Academy's 'Class of '98 - In Memory of Adam Potash' fund is part of the BERVIN incentive program, meaning any contribution made to the fund is automatically matched. 

"I think it's really important, as we get older, to find ways to say thank you for all that we received," says Schaffer. "Those of us who are fortunate enough to have the ability to make donations, even smaller ones, it helps the community that did so much for us."

Despite living in many places since she left Winnipeg, Andrea still supports the community that raised her, both as a way to say thank you and to keep a friend's memory present. 

To contribute to the Gray Academy's 'Class of '98 - In Memory of Adam Potash' fund, or for information about establishing an endowment fund of your own please call us at 204-477-7520.