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Top (Left to Right): WEF Luncheon Co-Chair Dianne Lieberman, Ted Ransby on behalf of WEF Honouree Carolyn Ransby z’’l, The Honourable Janice Filmon, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, JFM President Anita Wortzman, Heart & Stroke Foundation CEO Allison Kesler, WEF Luncheon Co-Chair Jessica Cogan Bottom (Left to Right): WEF Honouree Yhetta M. Gold, C.M., O.M., WEF Honouree Joanne Rothberg, JFM CEO Marsha Cowan


by Rhonda Spivak June 15 , 2016

This year's Jewish Foundation's Women’s Endowment Fund Luncheon which occurred at the newly expanded RBC Convention Centre on May 11 was the largest ever  with 400 attendees. It raised a terrific sum, close to  $70,000  which will go directly into the Women's Endowment Fund [WEF] which will directly benefit Manitoba women. By way of comparison,  previous WEF luncheons from two and three years ago  raised about $ 30,000 for the WEF. 


 (Editor's note: As a matter of historic record, when the WEF was first launched under the Fund's founding Chair Marsha Cowan, who is now the CEO of the Jewish Foundation, it was hoped that  50 women would join in the initiative, but when word of this unique concept traveled in the community  200 women attended the WEF's  official very first opening event in 1993. This year's event in 2016 has thus doubled this number)


Co-chairs of  this year's luncheon, Dianne Lieberman, and Jessica Cogan noted at the outset of this year's luncheon that  the Women's Endowment Fund [WEF] would  be giving a grant to the Canadian Red Cross to help support the families affected by the devastation of the Fort McMurray wildfires.


As Leiberman noted the "The WEF was launched by the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba in 1994 as a way to bring our community’s women together to support organizations and programs that make a positive difference in the lives of girls and women of all backgrounds in Manitoba.... The Women’s Endowment Fund now has nearly 700 individual fund holders and an asset base of over 1.2 million dollars. And it’s growing.... Our goal is to reach 2 million dollars, and today’s luncheon is an important step forward. As our assets grow, so do the dollars we can share with the community, and so does our impact."


Co-Chair Jessica Cogan noted that " The Fund is another way the Jewish Foundation practices Tikkun Olam, the powerful Jewish imperative to correct or repair the world. Steeped in Jewish values and viewed through a Jewish lens, we proudly support causes that elevate  all girls and women in our remarkable province. Since the fund’s inception, close to $500,000 in grants has been awarded to nearly 75 different organizations and programs that meet the fund’s criteria. ... In 2015, the Women’s Endowment Fund awarded $80,000 in grants to nine different organizations. The recipients are organizations that help women escaping abusive relationships, provide religious programming, provide seniors programming, help meet the needs of newcomers, and more. " 


The luncheon recognized three honourees Yhetta Gold C.M, O.M.  , the late Carolyn Ransby, and  Joanne Rothberg.


Dianne Lieberman noted that each of the  flower arrangements on the tables consisted of gerbera daisies, hydrangeas, and yellow roses. The gerbera daisies were selected by honouree Joanne Rothberg, the roses were selected by honouree Yhetta Gold, and the hydrangeas were selected in memory of honouree Carolyn Ransby. As Anita Wortzman said, President of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba said "I see the flower arrangements as a metaphor for our Women’s Endowment Fund, and our community as a whole. On their own, each flower is beautiful. Put them together, and the result is even greater than the sum of their parts. When we join together to achieve shared objectives for the greater good, we create remarkable beauty and accomplish our goal of Tikkun Olam."


Wortzman noted that the  honourees have each demonstrated a deep passion for the well-being of women and girls in Manitoba and called upon Cowan to join her in giving the honourees their recognition. She indicated that the JFM was  " thrilled to pay tribute to Yhetta Gold, an inspiring member of the Jewish community. She was the second woman to serve as the Foundation’s President, and she is a Founder and Builder of the Women’s Endowment Fund. Her list of accomplishments is long and impressive. She is a trailblazer and a leader.  She paved the way for future females to become leaders. We are grateful for the role she has played in nurturing the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba."



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.