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Establishing an Award is as easy as answering five key questions

Tue. Oct. 20, 2020

Interested in making a difference, supporting students or research, honouring a loved one or a mentor and leaving a lasting legacy by creating an award at The University of Winnipeg or The Collegiate? We’re here to make the process as easy and clear as possible.

Working with donors to establish a new fund is one of the most inspiring and rewarding activities we experience as Foundation staff. Helping you identify the specific criteria your award will support within the area you feel closest to is one of our top priorities. As we prepare the documents for your review, there are five key considerations you need to think about: The name, type (scholarship, bursary, prize), value, direction, and how you choose to finance your fund are essential in the creation and function of any award offered here. We can help you navigate these decisions and advise you on the best course of action for your new fund.

First, the Name: The name of your fund becomes your legacy. You can name an award after yourself, a family member, mentor or a friend. It also helps those receiving funds recognize where support is coming from, ensuring that you or someone you care about is honoured and remembered.

Second, the Type: There are four different types of awards students can receive. Scholarships and prizes are based on merit and are primarily given to students during their enrollment or at convocation in recognition of their academic success. Bursaries are designed to help provide for students in need of financial support. Awards are a combination of both former types and are based on both financial need and merit. Each of these awards can be tailored to fit a specific point along a student’s academic journey, with entrance awards being provided to students entering the university for the first time, in-course awards being provided to students with an established GPA who are currently enrolled, and convocation awards being handed out to students in their final year.

 Working within the University’s guidelines, the terms you set can help identify certain people as priority recipients for your award—such as indigenous students, single parents, or students with disabilities. Other criteria important for the selection process include:

Third, the Value: The value of your award can be a set amount or based on a portion of the income earned on your endowment. For reference, an endowment of $10,000 will produce an award of approximately $425.00—whereas an endowment of $25,000 will produce an award closer to $1275.00.  

Fourth, the Direction: Choosing a direction gives you the freedom to get specific with your funding. Both the University and The Collegiate have a wide range of options when it comes to direction, including year of study and other course-related options based on student enrollment. Donors often direct their award towards the department or faculty they graduated from, or an area they are particularly passionate about.

Fifth, the Financing: The last item you need to think about is how you’d like to finance your award. Endowed and immediate use are the two main methods donors choose from when creating a new award. Endowed donations are invested by the Foundation such that a portion of the interest produces the award amount annually and in perpetuity. Once an endowment has reached its goal it must sit for one full fiscal year before it is awarded. In many cases donors elect to provide current funds that allow your award to go to work immediately. Immediate use funding can be made as a one-time donation or an annual gift equal to the award value committed as a pledge over 5-10 years.

After terms have been approved by University Senate, and the fund has fully matured, the award will enter the adjudication process. The Awards and Financial Aid Department is responsible for the selection of award recipients, taking into consideration your terms and wishes and qualified candidates within the student body. If the award is departmental, the selection process will include greater faculty input.

Donors who choose to stay informed on the status of their award receive a letter naming the recipient and in many cases, a note of appreciation written by the student. Those with endowed funds also receive an Annual Endowment Fund Report which gives donors an in-depth look at their fund’s progress as it relates to the Foundation’s overall investments. In addition to this, donors with funds that produce an award of $1000 or more are invited to our Annual Awards Night of Excellence—a chance for donors and award recipients to meet, mingle and celebrate their success. Charitable tax receipts and yearly thank you letters are also provided by the Foundation to all award donors.

Making sure we steward those who give generously is a big part of our commitment as an organization and our team. Without you, much of the work we do would not be possible!

Should you have any questions about the process, feel free to check out our how-to guide here (https://www.uwinnipeg.ca/foundation/docs/setting-up-an-award-at-uwinnipeg.pdf) or contact our Individual Giving Manager Cindy Doyle at c.doyle@uwinnipeg.ca. Those planning to establish a fund with a gift in excess of $25,000 can contact Leadership Giving Manager Rayna Rieger at r.rieger@uwinnipeg.ca.