Skip to main content

The Winnipeg Foundation: Attacking the root causes of poverty with low-flush toilets

You've spent $3 million on an innovative project that lasted five years from start to finish.

You've achieved next to nothing.

But now the funder wants to know what you've accomplished with the time and money. So what do you do?

That's right. You BLUFF.

Anyone reading about the Centennial Neighbourhood Project in the newspaper (Neighbourhood investment pays dividends, Winnipeg Free Press, Dec. 17, 2008) was left thinking "That's nice."

Anyone who knew anything about the Centennial Neighbourhood Project was left sputtering "What the hell?"

It was obvious from the get-go that the reporter knew nothing about the project. (Note to newspaper reporters: Google is your friend.)

He regurgitated what he was fed without realizing what a sorry pack of excuses he was handed.

The Winnipeg Foundation announced the Centennial Neighbourhood Project (CNP from now on) in 2003. The Foundation said it, in concert with the Moffat Family Fund (a donor-advised fund at The Winnipeg Foundation), would spend $500,000 a year to "address the root causes of poverty through a neighbourhood renewal project..."

The focus of CNP would be Dufferin School.

The CNP "is based on the premise that 'education is the ticket out of poverty'," said the Foundation.

"The aim of the Centennial Neighbourhood Project is to demonstrate that with appropriate school and community supports, the prospects of students in one of Winnipeg's least advantaged neighbourhoods can be significantly improved," The Winnipeg Foundation declared.

Are you paying attention? Did you highlight the central theme of the CNP?

Root causes of poverty.
Education.
Dufferin School.

Instead we were told the project "helped build the foundations needed for (the neighbourhood's) continued comeback." Huh?

Rick Frost, CEO of the Winnipeg Foundation, said the project "made a difference in the neighbourhood."

Rick Lussier, the Foundation's director of community grants, said "There is more of a sense of hope in the neighbourhood now."

Could they be any more lukewarm in their praise for the project?

It took a while, but we finally found the bottom line of the 5 year, $3 million project.

"Literacy levels of grade one to six students at Dufferin School have improved substantially, with the majority at or above the literacy level for their grade."

That sounds pretty good. Why didn't the Foundation trumpet this success?

Was it because someone would then ask "improved from what?"

What was the level of literacy at Dufferin School five years ago? How substantial was the improvement?

You've now got the kids at Dufferin School reading at the level they're supposed to be at.

Is this an indictment of the school board for failing the students all those years? What element of the CNP can you point to as the springboard for improving literacy? What part did the Dufferin School Literacy Project, started in 1999 by teachers at the school, play?

Nursery teacher Kim Hewlett learned that Starbucks Coffee Shop, based in Seattle, donated money to schools promoting family literacy in inner city neighbourhoods.

Eight Starbucks employees in Winnipeg agreed to volunteer at Dufferin School to read to kindergarten and nursery students. An application for funding was made to Starbucks Seattle. Was the program a go?

The Winnipeg Foundation trotted out a lot of "highlights" of the project for the Winnipeg Free Press. But none of them could reasonably be seen as addressing the basic premise of the project--improving the prospects of students at Dufferin School.

* Creation of a police advisory board.

Double huh. What nonsense is this? A useless police advisory board that has done nothing in its one year of existence helped improve education in Dufferin School?

* Vacant lots have dropped from 30 to 18.

That's because a dozen houses were built with funding from the Winnipeg Housing and Homelessness Initiative (WHHI), a partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg. Those homes would have gone there whether the CNP existed or not. Any claim the housing was part of the CNP is bogus.

* 120 homes have been retrofitted for energy efficiency.

So Global Warming is a root cause of poverty in the Centennial ward of Winnipeg? Installing high-efficiency toilets and compact fluorescent light bulbs improved literacy levels of local school children? Who knew?

Maybe they meant that, as the government news release put it:

"It is estimated though that, on average, (can you fit in more weasel words?... ed.) each home will see a reduction in their energy bills of $300 each and every year. It is also estimated that each family will see their water bills reduced by over $200 per year for a total cost savings of over $500 per family."

That works out to an estimated, on average, $1.36 in savings per day. Or maybe 25 cents per person per household.

And that's assuming they got the retrofitting for free. If they were forced to sign up for Manitoba Hydro's Power Smart programs, they'll be using their "savings" to pay Hydro for all that efficiency.

There's nothing like putting poor people deeper in debt to address the root causes of poverty, eh.

So what was $3 million spent on?

- Two groups of local residents have been trained as teacher assistants.

- An Aboriginal Head Start early childhood development program was established.

- An Aboriginal Elder was put on staff at Dufferin School.

Is his salary paid by CNP? Did CNP pay for training the TA's? Is it picking up the tab for the head start program?

The Winnipeg Foundation doesn't say, blurring the alleged achievements of the five year project.

They tried to take credit for the projects of others (housing); they lauded useless programs that had no relevance to their goal (low-flush toilets/improved literacy, what's your beef?); and they've dodged the central questions: did the project significantly improve the prospects of students attending Dufferin School? Yes/how? No/why?

And why should you care?

Because the director of the Centennial Neighbourhood Project was Tom Simms, one of the activists behind the Winnipeg Citizen's Coalition, the hard-left, union dominated group that wants to take control of city council in the next civic election.

Simms was nominated to be co-chair of the WCC but declined at their inaugural meeting in June.

The CNP is a perfect model of the WCC's plans for Winnipeg.

That's why you should care.

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on Bebo.com, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another f

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police