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logosBy BERNIE BELLAN
Elsewhere on this website (https://jewishpostandnews.ca/local/2953-jewish-federation-increases-grants-to-beneficiary-agencies-by-35-000-for-2019-20)  we report on allocations to beneficiary agencies of the Winnipeg Jewish Federation.

 

 

 


In my article on the subject I quoted from the report of the Budget & Allocations Committee of the Federation – and one line which I quoted from the report certainly jumped off the page for me, although it appears to have come and gone with little notice (since I didn’t hear a single comment from any readers about it): “The report of the Allocations Committee noted that the budgets of all the beneficiary agencies combined added to a total of $32 million.” (emphasis mine)

$32 million? For a Jewish community whose actual population is probably somewhere no more than 12,500 (and if the 2016 census is to be believed, the Jewish population of Winnipeg is far less than 12,500. The figure of 12,500 is one based on the 2011 National Household Survey. The 2016 census gives Winnipeg’s Jewish population as less more than 8,000 - although it is now clear that the census drastically undercounted Jews across Canada.)
I decided to take a closer look at that figure of $32 million, which the Allocations

Committee used in its report.
Here are figures taken from the four largest beneficiary agencies’ annual reports:

2017-18 expenses 2016-17 expenses
Gray Academy $6,935,928 $6,820,212
Jewish Child & Family Service $3,250,172 $3,269,905
Rady JCC $7,695,738 $7,570,583
Simkin Centre according to its website annual spending is approximately $13.5 million

Those four agencies alone have combined spending of approximately $31 million. That still leaves another eight beneficiary agencies. Add to the spending by those agencies spending by the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Foundation simply on salaries and you can begin to get an idea how hugely important Jewish agencies and organizations are to the Manitoba economy.
Compare, for instance, the total spending of the cities of Brandon and Steinbach with that of the Jewish community of Winnipeg.
The city of Steinbach, which has a population over 16,000, has a total budget of approximately $32 million. Brandon, which has a population of 49,000, has a total budget of approximately $56 million.

Winnipeg’s Jewish community has a population far less than either of those two cities, yet is responsible for spending that would make Winnipeg Jewish institutions – taken as a whole - one of the largest drivers in the Manitoba economy.
But, as we’ve noted repeatedly in past issues, this economic prowess is largely due to two factors:
The foresight of visionaries who laid the financial foundations for the future wellbeing of the community years ago through such institutions as the Jewish Foundation, which doled out over $4.5 million in grants in 2018; and the ongoing success of the Combined Jewish Appeal – through both good and bad times, in allocating what this year came to over $6 million in funding in 2018.

The other factor that has emerged over the years as institutions have matured – and served individuals who are not part of the Jewish community, is the extent to which institutions that once served primarily Jewish stakeholders now serve the community as a whole.
Two institutions stand out in this regard: The Rady JCC and the Simkin Centre. Both those facilities now serve a significant number of non-Jews. It is both a tribute to their success and an indication how much catering to the Jewish community alone has diminished in importance for those two institutions, compared to what used to be the case.

One more point: As of the time of writing, there are only two Jewish candidates in the upcoming provincial election, and neither one is running for a major party.
Considering the impact that spending by Jewish organizations has on the economy – out of total proportion to the actual size of the Jewish community, it would be nice to have at least one Jewish member of the Manitoba Legislature. After all, organizations housed at the Asper Campus are alone responsible for well over $30 million in spending in the Manitoba economy.

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