The incredible support from our community has always been essential to the success of MTYP providing arts programming to youth and families across Manitoba. Whether in a pandemic or not, what MTYP can offer will always be strengthened by individuals, businesses and foundations who understand the benefits of connecting youth with theatre.

Johnston Group has been one of these generous and loyal supporters from the business community. Johnston Group is well known in the charitable sector because they support over 90 organizations annually and they were recognized for their contributions with a Manitoba Philanthropy Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2019.

We asked Dave Angus, President of Johnston Group, to share more about the philanthropic vision of the organization and why MTYP is one of the  organizations they support annually.

Can you tell us more about the philosophy behind community giving at Johnston Group? Johnston Group’s philosophy of giving comes from our Founder and CEO David Johnston. It all starts with a passion for our community and a view that we carry a responsibility as a company to support it. We also believe that our giving should cover a broad scope of needs as we believe our community thrives best when all aspects are successful. Our community support is something that is shared and contributed to by all staff and is a real source of pride.

Johnston Group has supported MTYP for many years. Why?Johnston Group is very committed to the arts community and clearly sees how it enriches our lives and our community. We are very proud to live in a City that supports the arts community and MTYP is a great example of how theatre can make a difference in the lives of our children and youth.  So many families in our community have benefited from the wonderful programming provided by MTYP including families here at Johnston Group. We are very proud to support MTYP.

Are there ways Johnston Group is addressing inclusion and diversity through their community giving? We are very committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion as an organization and we recognize there is a lot of work to do both inside and outside Johnston Group. As an employer it is our highest priority. We know that through our current giving program we support organizations and programs that serve diverse communities but we want to learn more about the work directly related to DE&I. We will be looking to enhance our giving program to support initiatives that make a difference in this area of priority.

Besides direct financial support from the business, how else does Johnston Group support the community? How are employees involved in making a difference to the community? 

Johnston Group staff is very active in volunteer efforts in support of the organizations to which we contribute.

Donating money is important but to have staff engagement in the work brings a deeper meaning to the gift. The other important role we can play is in telling the story of the organization we support and amplify the message that defines the difference they are making in our community.

How has the pandemic impacted the charitable giving by Johnston Group? Johnston Group, like most organizations, has been impacted by the pandemic. We made a commitment, however, that to the best of our ability we will not let it impact our community giving and we have been able to sustain our contribution level. We know this is not the time to pull back since the needs within our community have only grown through COVID. The vaccine will hopefully stop the virus but the legacy of the pandemic will be with us for years and it is most felt at the doorstep of our community organizations who need to support those in need.

Other businesses share your values on community and employee engagement/health. Why should they also consider supporting MTYP? There are a number of organizations that have a significant impact on the next generation of Winnipeggers. MTYP is certainly one of those organizations. It provides a platform for creativity and imagination through theatre and performance that is a source of pride for our community. Theatre can be a very powerful tool to engage and inspire, to educate and inform,  and to empower and equip youth in our community to effect positive change. Johnston Group is proud to support such an important arts and culture venue in our City.