Reflecting on Vital Signs 2017

Listening, Learning and Growing

In 2016, The Winnipeg Foundation embarked on Vital Signs® 2017, a yearlong process of gathering data and engaging with community to understand local priorities.

The Foundation worked with the Institute of Urban Studies, International Institute for
Sustainable Development (IISD), and the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg to provide data support for the indicators and NRG Research Group conducted surveys asking individuals to prioritize key issues and share information about their quality of life.

The process culminated in The Winnipeg Foundation’s Vital Signs® 2017 report. The report identified four key areas of importance: Reconciliation, Wellbeing, Belonging, and Lines that Divide. These findings were central in developing Walking Together: The Winnipeg Foundation’s 2019-2021 Strategic Plan. The findings were also key in developing The Foundation’s Reconciliation Grants program and the youth-driven Walking Together Grants. Read more under Truth and Reconciliation.

Public input was key to the Vital Signs® process. Another way The Foundation gathered input was by convening three Vital Conversations to gain additional ideas and views. The response to these events was overwhelmingly positive. It was clear participants wanted to learn, to connect, to share, and to act. Building on this momentum and to activate the findings of the report, The
Foundation continued to host Vital Conversations from early 2018 to March 2020, when all public events paused due to the pandemic.

Highlights include conversations on:

  • Building belonging in our city
  • Making poverty history
  • Calls to Action in action with Senator Murray Sinclair
  • The risks and realities of climate change
  • Living long and staying strong
  • Turning trauma to motivation with Olympian Waneek Horn-Miller

Truth and Reconciliation

Circles for Reconciliation founders, Dr. Raymond Currie and Clayton Sandy standing in a park.

In Winnipeg’s Vital Signs® 2017 report, reconciliation came to the forefront as critical to the wellbeing of our community. That report showed that despite having the largest urban Indigenous population of any city in Canada, Manitobans’ perceptions of and attitudes toward Indigenous People were relatively negative compared to the rest of the country. Furthermore, many Winnipeggers were uninformed about reconciliation and whether it was being achieved in our community.

Using the findings from Vital Signs® 2017, The Foundation incorporated reconciliation as a key priority in its 2019-2021 strategic plan and developed The Foundation’s Reconciliation Grants program and the youth-driven Walking Together Grants.

Reconciliation Grants provided charitable organizations with the opportunity to advance truth and reconciliation in the community. The Advisory Committee for this grants program was comprised of members of the Indigenous, Métis, and Francophone Métis communities, with both an Elder and a youth representative. A key component of the successful proposals was meaningful engagement with the Indigenous community, while working toward a shared goal of truth and reconciliation.

In 2019, the Walking Together grants stream was launched to support youth-led truth and reconciliation projects at local schools and charities. The Youth Advisory Council, comprised of young people from high schools, universities, community organizations and alumni of The Winnipeg Foundation’s youth engagement programming, continues to oversee this program that grants up to $10,000 for youth-led, one-year projects that respond to one or more of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’s Calls to Action or an article of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Today, as a partner of Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord and signator of the Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action, The Foundation is guided by UNDRIP, the TRC’s Calls to Action, and the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The Winnipeg Foundation is committed to listening, learning, working with our community and taking action towards our shared goal of truth and reconciliation.