Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 21, 2013

Manitoba Government, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation Launch Million-dollar Early Childhood Development (ECD) Innovation Fund

Community-led Projects will help Manitoba Kids Reach their Full Potential: Premier Selinger

The Government of Manitoba and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation are working together to establish a million-dollar Early Childhood Development Innovation Fund, the first of its kind in Canada, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.

In a partnership with United Way of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council and the business community, the fund is being seeded by a $500,000 investment from the Montreal-based McConnell Foundation, with matching funds from the Government of Manitoba.

“Research is clear that early investments for kids are life-changing, and this fund will support community-led projects that have the potential to dramatically improve ECD outcomes,” said Premier Selinger.  “Business and community leaders have asked us for a way to all work together to support innovative ECD projects and this fund is one way to do that.”

The premier noted that initial funds are earmarked for the Winnipeg Boldness Project, which will focus on opportunities for low-income children and families in the Point Douglas community.

“Manitoba’s commitment to social innovation and getting it right for the next generation of children has implications for all of Canada,” said Stephen Huddart, McConnell’s president and CEO.  “We are proud to support the innovation fund and the Point Douglas community, and we look forward to working with government, business and community partners on designing, implementing and evaluating a comprehensive and transformative approach to this complex challenge.”

“Innovative, high-quality early childhood programs are an essential building block, contributing to a well-educated workforce and a prosperous economy,” said Dave Angus, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.  “Employers and business leaders have an important role to play in helping kids get a better start by working in partnership with government and community leaders to support and advocate for better early opportunities.”

The premier made today’s announcement at the Early Childhood Development Summit, a two-day gathering of early childhood development advocates and experts, along with business and philanthropic leaders.  The event was co-hosted by the province, United Way and the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council.  The premier thanked the McConnell Foundation for catalyzing the ECD Innovation Fund with its generous donation.  The fund will be hosted by the United Way of Winnipeg and donations to the fund from the public and the private sector are welcome. 

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