We're Back

by Josh Kerr | Dec 20, 2022

In-person luncheon to return in 2023

After three years, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba Luncheon in Support of the Women's Endowment Fund returns to the calendar Friday, May 12, 2023, at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.

We are thrilled to announce that our keynote speaker for the 2023 JFM Luncheon is Jim Estill, CEO of Danby Appliances and renowned philanthropist. Jim's work with refugees from Syria, Ukraine, and many other war-torn countries is second to none. He believes that we can all do something to improve our community, no matter the scale.

Out of countless speakers whose stories resonate with those who hear them, why did the Foundation make a point to have Jim Estill deliver the keynote address?

"He is taking action, as we speak, to improve the world around us," says John Diamond, CEO. "This is not someone only recalling past successes. This is someone who, right now, is seeing people in need of help and helping them however he can."

"We've spoken with Jim several times, and his passion for philanthropy hits you right from the start," says Diamond. "He has found the secret to happiness in bettering the lives of others, and you will not want to miss this opportunity to hear his relatable and heartwarming story for yourself."

A strength of our own community lies with those who have joined it from abroad. We strive to welcome newcomers with open arms and help them feel safe, supported, and comfortable in their new homes. For years, Jewish Foundation of Manitoba grants have helped organizations achieve that goal.

In 2015, Jim saw stories of war-torn Syria that left him heartbroken—and spurred him to take action. The stories he heard inspired him to lead sponsorship efforts that resulted in settlement of over 90 refugee families in Guelph, Ontario. Jim’s initiative laid the groundwork for longer-term independence for these families through employment with his company, English language training, access to furniture banks and other support services. He did not just coordinate these plans. He also funded them, with an initial investment of over $1.5 million.

Since then, his programs have flourished, creating opportunities for hundreds of families worldwide to come to Canada and find success in their new homes. Many people who Jim has helped still work with him today.

In recognition of his philanthropic efforts, Estill was named to the Order of Canada in June 2018.

When asked why he does this, his reply is quite simple. "Imagine going to work and discovering that your office isn't there anymore… Imagine going home from work, your home isn't there, and you've heard that a cousin has been killed. People were living in fear, and helping them come to Canada, a place of safety was the right thing to do."

At the JFM Luncheon on May 12, Jim will tell his story of philanthropy, encourage each of us to get involved in our own way and share his belief that these efforts can be the secret to happiness.

"Do the right thing. I don't want to live my life and at the end think, 'I stood by and did nothing," says Estill. "I want to do what I can to help."