Different, but Similar - Understanding the roles of your Foundation and Federation

by Stu Slayen | Apr 06, 2016

Any confusion you might have about the differences between the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba and the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg is forgiveable.

The names are somewhat similar, after all, and both organizations raise money to enhance the community. Both organizations are located at the Asper Jewish Community Campus, and both attract leading lights of community service to their respective Boards. Most important, says Anita Wortzman, President of the Foundation, “donors place their trust in both organizations and both are good stewards of the funds they receive.”

Where they mainly differ, is how they raise and distribute funds. The Federation runs the annual Combined Jewish Appeal campaign. Those funds are allocated – in the year they were contributed – to local Partner Agencies and international Jewish causes.

The Foundation raises funds to grow its pool of endowed capital assets, which now exceed $100 million. Income earned by these capital assets is distributed to successful grant applicants, scholarship recipients, and to organizations according to the wishes of individuals and institutions that hold funds. As the capital assets grow, so does the amount available for distribution.

“You could say that the Federation is the community’s chequing account and the Foundation is the savings account,” says Federation President Adam Levene.

For Wortzman and Levene, the most important conversation is around how the two bodies can cooperate even more closely to address the community’s current and emerging needs. “Our CEOs already meet regularly and Adam and I speak often,” says Wortzman. “And we are looking at more formal ways to move forward together. The community needs us to be in sync and performing optimally.”

Levene notes that the cooperation is essential as the community continues to change: “We have a duty to share information and ideas so we can plan together successfully.”

Levene also notes that while the annual CJA campaign has been performing well, the Federation’s endowment fund is a key ingredient to sustaining the community. The Federation’s “Leave More Than Memories Fund” now holds about $3.8 million. “The Foundation is a very important strategic partner for us as we encourage our donors to endow their annual campaign gift so they can have an impact forever.”

Wortzman believes the success of the Foundation and the Federation is the product of the community’s history of generosity. “The people who came before us helped each other adapt to life in Manitoba, and they developed strong institutions to serve the community,” she says. “We are reaping the benefits today. Now it is our job to make sure future generations have a strong community infrastructure.”