The Community Foundation of Portage and District Inc. owes its existence to the Thomas Sill Foundation’s commitment to rural philanthropy and to the dedication of a few Portage citizens who foresaw the value of a community foundation for all within Portage la Prairie and District.
In 1993 the Thomas Sill Foundation (TSF) announced the assignment of $1 million to help create ten new community foundations in rural and northern Manitoba. TSF made a pledge of $100,000 payable over four years, if a further $200,000 was raised in the community. Portage was selected to be one of the first to take on the challenge.
An informational meeting was held on April 19, 1994. A steering committee was formed with representatives from business, arts, service organizations, education and other groups in the community. Over the next eight weeks, a great deal of hard work brought the foundation into existence.
On June 2, 1994, the Community Foundation of Portage and District Inc. was incorporated and the Nominating Committee was struck. The committee met to select the first Board of Directors and from there an application was made for charitable registration status.
The Founders Club was established and by December 31, 1995, there were 162 founding members who generated $215,000. The challenge was met in fourteen months and the TSF awarded CFPD $100,000 to add to CFPD’s permanent Endowment Fund.
CFPD’s Endowment Fund steadily grew over the years thanks to our many generous donors. Through two community match challenges, sponsored by an anonymous donor, CFPD raised $225,000 for the endowment fund and a matching amount was granted to charitable organizations.
In year ten, after a generous bequest of $240,000 from Violet Graham Breakey, CFPD realized its first million. Four years later, in 2008, the Portage la Mutual Insurance Company added another $10,000 to its named fund and brought the permanent Endowment Fund over the $2 million mark.
Much has happened since that time: we held the CFPD's 20th Anniversary Celebration in June 2014 and have already begun the initial plans for the 25th Anniversary.