Philanthropist donates $10 million to underprivileged Winnipeg college students

A big donation aims to help disadvantaged students in Winnipeg’s inner city a better opportunity to achieve their educational goals.

This week, homegrown philanthropist, Walter Schroeder, donated $10 million that will be divided between St. John’s High School, Daniel McIntyre High School, and Sisler High School, and used to run other programs, Schroeder said.

“We are going to change the academic path for underprivileged youth,” he said.

Schroeder said the money will be used for several different groups of students: For those in grades one through six, a portion of the donation will be used to develop and run an after-school reading, writing, and arithmetic class.

“There are many immigrants, refugees, and Indigenous youth who are calling for more help, and by supplying after-hours reading, writing, and arithmetic learning sessions, this will allow them to grow as students,” said Schroeder.

He said the next group of students that will be impacted by the donation will be in grades seven and eight. A $250 scholarship will be given to 60 students who are thriving in the classroom, three times a year, to encourage them to continue pursuing academia.

The third stage will be for grades 9 through 12, and this is where the principal becomes a key distributor of the funds. The administrator will dispense the money accordingly for students in need of support. The donation will be used to supply 21 graduating students who are achieving a 90 per cent overall grade with a scholarship to pursue a post-secondary education.

‘Families are crying, this is a game changer’: St. John’s High School principal

Since receiving the news that St. John’s High School will receive the largest portion of the ten million dollars, principal Doug Taylor says Schroeder’s impact has stretched across the school and is supplying hope.

“Our mission statement here at St. John’s is hope and optimism for our students, and Walter has made this a reality for everyone,” said Taylor.

Taylor recalls a special moment when Schroeder was recently touring the school, he played the song, ‘The Living Years’ by Mike & The Mechanics, which is a song about paying it forward during your living years.

Refugee family inspires Schroeder to give

When Schroeder sold his global credit rating agency DBRS in 2015 he received a large fortune which he says, was an opportunity to make a difference for the less fortunate.

Schroeder tells CTV News he was inspired to give back to his hometown because of a story he once heard of a refugee family and a man who changed their lives.

“In 1955, a family escaped from East Germany and fled to Winnipeg with nothing to their names. The family was struggling to live, which resulted in the children to drop out of Daniel McIntyre High School and help pay the bills. When Dr. Ewart Morgan, the principal of Daniel Mcintyre, caught word of the family’s financial struggles, he stopped by their home and gave them $150 so the children could continue their education”.

The Winnipeg School Division said, once the details of Schroeder’s $10 million pledge are completed, it will be the largest donation ever given to the Winnipeg School Division Children’s Heritage Fund.

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