I recently attended a special announcement to launch the new Winnipeg Police Service Endowment Fund. The idea championed by Chief Devon Clunis is intended to generate annual income to support community needs—particularly those involving challenged youth. And without question, the Police not only know our community needs well but they also know which projects are having the most impact. They work on the front line every day!
Back in 1988, I needed to prepare myself for a job interview to work at City Hall and my knowledge of Winnipeg at the time was pretty limited. I lived in the Hamilton/Toronto area all my life. While I had plenty of experience in city administration, I needed a quick primer on life in Winnipeg. One of the most important things I did to prepare for my interview was spend a Friday night shift on the road with the Duty Inspector. The experience reinforced what most of us know intuitively—our Police Officers know the city incredibly well.
Chief Clunis is planting a seed. It will take time for this new endowment to grow. The Chief has an ambitious target and it was certainly inspiring to see a coalition of 93 churches (One Heart Winnipeg) make the first generous gift of $20,000. In our experience, an endowment like this one has the potential to attract hundreds of gifts over time and the median donation is likely to be $100. That is to say that while there will hopefully be some large gifts, success is likely going to happen if the Chief can motivate a broad range of donors and ambassadors—the everyday philanthropists who make Winnipeg such a caring community. And of course, The Winnipeg Foundation’s matching program for this type of endowment will augment the donations that he is seeking from the general public.
The Mayor, Deputy Police Chief David Thorne, and David Keam from the Police Commission, were all on hand to endorse the initiative and with them, we wish Chief Clunis every success.