Immersed in Impact

by Josh Kerr | May 04, 2022

Community Impact Funds – Maximum flexibility leads to lasting stability

The Jewish Foundation of Manitoba's newly named 'Community Impact Funds' help organizations grow and thrive by supporting special projects, purchasing much-needed equipment, and offering support for capacity-building initiatives. In 2020, they emerged as our most effective and flexible tool to support urgent needs during the pandemic, providing over $680,000 for COVID-19 relief. 

Previously known as "undesignated," Community Impact Funds are a pillar of stability for the community. The decision to rebrand and rename these funds was necessary to ensure donors know that their contributions are not simply 'floating' at the JFM with no actual directive. 

"When we decided to rename these funds, our goal was to create a better understanding of what they really do," says John Diamond, Chief Executive Officer of the JFM. "To call these funds 'undesignated' was painting the wrong picture, as they exist to help our community." 

"It captures the purpose of what we use these funds for," says Bonnie Cham, Board Chair. "As a donor, you want to know that your donation has impact, and when the investment income goes toward something called undesignated funds, I don't think the link between the funds and the granting process was clear." 

Community Impact Funds are an allocated pool of capital, the annual interest of which is distributed by the Foundation as grants through our volunteer Grants Committee. The Committee looks carefully at each submitted grant application to determine where the community will benefit from these funds. Where will the allocated funds have the most impact? How many people will they affect? 

"It is important to note that the people who make up the Grants Committee are all part of the community that these funds serve," says Diamond. "These volunteers give us a great group of ambassadors for the community whose interests parallel the community's vibrancy and sustainability." 

These funds have an exceptional reach. As a member of this community, you don't have to look far to see that the impact of these funds is all around you. In the places you spend your time, in the places that assist your loved ones, these funds provide the new experiences and sustained support we need. 

Community Impact Funds are a $15.4 million pool of capital gathered from almost 1200 named funds at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba. Anyone can establish a Community Impact Fund with a minimum initial contribution of only $100. Funds are established for many different reasons: to commemorate a loved one, celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and family reunions, or even just to say 'I love you!'

A few 2021 distributions:

Community Impact Funds helped the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg maximize the PJ Library program – a literacy and outreach program to the in the community. The Federation has successfully connected with close to 2100 children and their families in the 11 years since the launch of PJ Library in Winnipeg. 

Community Impact Funds provided funding to create the 'Wishlist Boutique' - a free "shop" for emergency food at 1JustCity and for 'Yard Angels' - a program to help mobility or financially challenged older adults with yard maintenance at SSCOPE. 

Community Impact Funds helped provide wheelchair tandem bikes and helmets for the Saul & Claribel Simkin Centre, giving many residents the opportunity to have joyful and exciting outdoor experiences. 

To learn more about contributing to or establishing a fund, contact Laurel Hogan, Development Associate, at
(204) 477-7462 or email [email protected].