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Three Donors Give $1.238 Million to Opportunity Fund and Model School

e-dition - October 3, 2007

Pictured (left to right): R.M. (Bob) Kozminski, Chair, The University of Winnipeg Campaign; UWinnipeg Foundation President & CEO Susan Thompson, ; Chancellor H. Sanford Riley; John Prystanski, Founder and Board Member, Westland Foundation; Greg Tretiak, Senior Vice-President Finance, Investors Group; Rick Frost, Chief Executive Officer, The Winnipeg Foundation; UWinnipeg President and Vice-Chancellor Lloyd Axworthy. Photo by Kelly Morton.

Three Donors Give $1.238 Million
to Opportunity Fund & Model School

The Winnipeg Foundation, Investors Group and the Westland Foundation announced Sept. 14 contributions of $1.238-million to support programs at The University of Winnipeg which will provide low-income inner-city youth, Aboriginals and new Canadians with an opportunity for a University education.

Enhance University Access for Under-Represented Students
"These gifts will support the Innovative Learning Centre, the Opportunity Fund and leading-edge educational programs in the new science complex, all of which are structured to enhance access for under-represented students to post-secondary education," said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President & Vice-Chancellor of The University of Winnipeg. "The strong support demonstrated today by Winnipeg's philanthropic and private sector will provide programs and facilities vital to our success in improving access to education for non-traditional students."

The announcement was part of a ceremony of appreciation and rededication of Convocation Hall, as the University thanked Dr. Douglas and Louise Leatherdale and The Hon. Diane McGifford, Manitoba's Minister of Advanced Education & Literacy, for making the historic renovations possible with more than $5.2-million in funding, previously announced.

Funding Announcements
The Sept. 14 funding announcements included:

  • $500,000 from The Winnipeg Foundation, made possible through the Moffat Family Fund for youth programs: $475,000 over three years will fund The University of Winnipeg's Innovative Learning Centre, designed to develop programs to aid in the education of inner-city youth, with a focus on indigenous science and sustainability. Already this summer, more than 700 inner-city youth participated in Eco-Kids summer camps. A further $25,000 is designated for The Collegiate for student bursaries.
  • $500,000 from Investors Group. $200,000 to establish the Investors Group Opportunity Program, supporting tuition credits and bursaries within the Opportunity Fund, as well as a pilot project on community capacity building; $250,000 in direct capital contributions to establish a Model School Classroom for Science and Sustainability in the new Richardson College for the Environment & Science Complex; and, $50,000 to develop Model School programming.
  • More than $238,000 from the Westland Foundation to establish a Tuition Credit Account Program for students from Inner-Winnipeg.

Innovative Learning Centre
"We are delighted to support the Innovative Learning Centre and have already seen the positive impacts this summer through the new Eco-Kids Program," said Rick Frost, Chief Executive Officer of The Winnipeg Foundation. "We would like to extend our thanks to Randy Moffat and his family for making this grant possible through their Family Fund at The Winnipeg Foundation. Their generosity has allowed us this unique opportunity to support a program that meets the Moffat Family Fund's goals to improve the lives of our youth, while being closely linked with the University's innovative Opportunity Fund. We look forward to future benefits from this program as a new generation of students gain the knowledge they need to understand and manage the environment around them."

Tuition Credits
Murray Taylor, President & CEO for Investors Group, expressed keen interest in the long-term effects of the Opportunity Fund and related programs.

"In supporting tuition credits and bursaries, we see a real fit with our commitment to ensure a better future for our children," said Taylor. "It is vitally important both to individuals and to society that kids stay in school and go on to obtain higher education. We are also pleased to support a pilot project on micro-financing and community capacity building to assist in raising the economic prosperity level for the inner city. The third aspect of our gift is the model classroom for science and sustainability, and our aim is to help get the programs up and running as quickly as possible so that the Opportunity Fund students can benefit from the integrated programming offered by the University. This is, in our view, a solid investment in our community."

Opportunity Fund
Strongly committed to Opportunity Fund principles, Westland Foundation's Founder and Board of Directors Member John Prystanski remarked, "We stand shoulder to shoulder with The University of Winnipeg in supporting our shared vision - that every student in Winnipeg's inner-city should have the opportunity to obtain post-secondary education. Education is the most powerful tool available to improve the lives and futures of children," he said. "We are pleased to announce that the existing Westland Foundation Education Fund at The University of Winnipeg, currently valued at 238,000, will support the Tuition Credit Program and be an important part of the new Opportunity Fund." Within the program students can earn tuition credits by maintaining high grade-point averages, creating incentive and recognition for academic achievement. "We have to find the means," Prystanski said, "to encourage our Winnipeg's inner-city youth to finish high school and go on to university. We are committed to this outcome and we take pleasure in joining ranks with The University of Winnipeg to make this happen."

"We are grateful for the support and commitment of The Winnipeg Foundation, Westland Foundation and Investors Group in helping us to realize the goals of our fundraising campaign," said University of Winnipeg Foundation President and CEO Susan Thompson. "With this kind of support, we truly will be able to make dreams come true for present and future students of our University."

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