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Joe, Linda Finkleman & her sister Pamela Boal

Joe, Julie Levin, Daniel Levin & Michael Levin. 3 of Myrna’s 4 surviving children

Marsha Cowan, CEO Jewish Foundation of Manitoba

Ida Albo, co owner of the Fort Garry Hotel


by Rhonda Spivak, May 15, 2014


At the Jewish Foundation Women's Endowment Luncheon on May 8th, 2014 at the Fort Garry Hotel, Marsha Cowan  CEO of the Foundation announced in her opening remarks to great applause that last month the total assets of the  Foundation  " topped  90 million dollars."


As Cowan said:

"What a remarkable accomplishment for a community of our size. We’ve achieved this milestone for a few reasons: 1. First, since a slow-down a few years ago, the investment market has been performing quite well.  2. Second, we have assembled a high-performance Investment Committee and have secured the services of leading professional managers and advisors.  3. Finally, and most importantly, we have reached this important milestone because of the tremendous generosity of our community. We’ve had thousands of donors over 50 years, and many, many thousands of gifts of all sizes – not to mention the very successful Endowment Book of Life planned giving program.

Your Jewish Foundation has attracted people who care. People who act. It’s important that we stop once in a while as a community and take note of our accomplishments. It’s important that we congratulate ourselves occasionally – not simply to celebrate, but to motivate ourselves to do even better, and to inspire the next generation of donors, volunteers, and community leaders. People who will embrace the essential Jewish value of tikkun olam – the repair and improvement of the world."


She also noted that in 2014 the Foundation is celebrating its 50th anniversary:

"For half a century, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba has been contributing to the success of organizations in the Jewish community. We’ve been contributing to organizations that help Manitobans of all backgrounds. And we’ve been improving lives through special grants and awards, and through a robust scholarship program. All in all, since 1964, your Jewish Foundation of Manitoba has distributed approximately 50 million dollars. And that number will now increase faster than ever as the Foundation continues to grow."

Cowan  congratulated the Women’s Endowment Fund Committee chaired by Corky Rosenfield and thank them for their hard work, and  spoke of  the upcoming Jewish Foundation Gala on  October 27 at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg, where the community will gather and will celebrate. 


As Cowan said, "Our gala will be a tribute to our community’s history and spirit. Our anniversary is generously sponsored by RBC Wealth Management Dominion Securities / Jon Holeman and Associates Private Wealth Management.  We hope that you will be able to join us. You can purchase tickets through the Jewish Foundation office. As our advertising for the event says, it will be the celebration of a half century. As Wendy from the Alzheimer Society reminded us earlier, the work the Women’s Endowment Fund does makes a real difference in people’s lives.  Without donors, sponsors, and volunteers – none of this happens. Every success enjoyed by the Foundation – and indeed by any not-for-profit organization – is powered by generosity, good will, and action."



Corky Rosenfield, Chair of the Women's Endowment Commitee of the JFM noted the success of the Woen's Endowment Fund, established in 1994, has distributed since its inception funds about $394,000 to 73 Manitoba organizations.



At the luncheon, the Jewish Foundation paid tribute to three philanthropic women who have made a difference and who have set an example for us all.


As Cowan said, "We honour the memory of Myrna Levin and we recognize the enthusiastic support of sisters Linda Finkleman and Pamela Boal." 


As President of the Jewish Foundation Joe Wilder said of Myrna Levin, z"l:

"When Myrna Levin passed away just a few weeks ago, our community lost a leader. Myrna was not only a philanthropist; she was a visionary – a passionate supporter of the Foundation and the community. With remarkable generosity and a keen understanding on the importance of the Foundation in building our community’s future, Myrna always embraced our initiatives with joy and enthusiasm. 

She was one of the first participants in the Endowment Book of Life planned giving program – I encourage you to go to our website and read her story.  She was a Founder of the Women’s Endowment Fund and stepped forward again last year to become a Builder. In 2009, she became one of the first supporters of the FundMatch Initiative which has inspired organizations to build their endowment funds. She and her beloved husband, the late Harry Levin, opened an undesignated fund in 1980. The balance today exceeds one million dollars. As an undesignated fund, its income will address the needs of the day in perpetuity. 


Myrna did not only give. She rolled up her sleeves and worked! She chaired the volunteer committee for the Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebrations, she was a former Board member, and served as a member of the Board of Governors until her passing. We will miss Myrna Levin; she was an inspiration and a leading light."
Wilder called upon three of Myrna Levin’s children – Julie and Michael, from Toronto, and Daniel from Winnipeg to accept a certificate in Myrna Levin’s memory.  
Wilder then spoke about the next honourees, sisters Linda Finkleman and Pamela Boal. 
"Linda and Pamela epitomize what the Women’s Endowment Fund and indeed the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba are all about – honouring the past while building for the future. When Linda and Pamela’s mother Bernice Brownstone, of blessed memory, passed away in 2000, the sisters chose to honour her by establishing the Bernice Brownstone Remembrance Fund of the Women’s Endowment. The sisters contribute frequently to the Fund, marking sorrows and simchas generously. 

Linda and Pamela, who contribute to many worthy organizations and causes, have made the Foundation’s Women’s Endowment Fund their charity of choice.  With every philanthropic act, they set an example for all of us and celebrate their mother’s life. Bernice Brownstone was an intelligent, generous, and modest woman with a wonderful sense of humour. She faced lifelong adversity with dignity, courage and strength.  The quintessential balebosteh, she embraced life’s joys with unbridled energy and enthusiasm. Bernice Brownstone was a woman of tremendous character – passionate about tzedakah, yiddishkeit, and profoundly devoted to family. What better way is there to pay permanent tribute to a beloved parent than by establishing an endowment fund that perpetuates the values that were so important to them? Linda and Pamela, thank you for your example; and thank you for choosing the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba. And Pamela, thank you for joining us today from your home in Great Neck, New York. I invite you both to please come forward to accept this certificate of appreciation."    
Wilder completed his remarks by saying "Thank you all for joining us today. I hope to see all of you at our 50th Gala Anniversary Event on Monday - October 27."


The keynote speaker for the luncheon was Ida Albo, co-owner of the Fort Garry Hotel Spa and Conference Centre and Yoga Public, who spoke on the topic "Mothers, Daughters, Sisters and Friends-A Story of Entrepreneurship, Philanthropy and Community Service."  
The Winnipeg Jewish Review will cover Albo's talk in a separate future article.  

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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