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Inflation putting a pinch on Giving Tuesday in Manitoba

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Giving Tuesday is normally a time when Manitoba's charitable organizations see a spike in donations.

This year, however, with inflation putting a pinch on just about everybody's pocketbook, some non-profits are seeing new highs - and new lows - in the size and frequency of contributions.

Mary Beth Taylor, VP of community generosity with the Winnipeg Foundation, says generosity is in Manitoba's DNA.

Taylor's claim isn't all that far-fetched; Manitoba ranks as the top province for the highest percentage of tax filers that donate to a charity among provinces, at a little over 20 per cent, according to the Fraser Institute's annual Generosity Index.

"I love Giving Tuesday because it mobilized generosity across the country and really gives the charities an opportunity to celebrate their donors and highlight some projects," said Taylor, adding there are some people having a harder time donating than in previous years.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for us to be out in the community to remind folks how important giving is today," said Jason Granger with United Way.

Granger notes that Giving Tuesday is especially important for charities this year given the rising cost of living.

Over at St. Amant, staff are seeing some Manitobans pitch in a bit more where others can't.

"People who've had a little bit of an easier time, that were able to give a little bit more to maybe help compensate with those who did have to reduce some of their donations," said Juliette Mucha, executive director at St. Amant.

At the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the facility is in desperate need of a new freight elevator to replace the existing one, which dates back to the 1970s.

"It's like a small studio apartment but it allows us to move things throughout the building to every level," said WAG CEO Stephen Borys.

But the elevator's many years of service finally caught up to it. Borys says repairing the elevator is a non-starter since the building's original infrastructure is too outdated.

"The full cost to replace the freight elevator and the two passenger elevators in the WAG building is $1 million," said Borys.

Borys and staff at the WAG are hopeful Giving Tuesday will kick-start fundraising to help cover the costs of the new elevators.

"We have stairs but many people can't use stairs. Kids with parents, with families. Any sort of mobility issue," he said. 

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