Marjorie B. Blankstein
C.M., O.M.; B.A.(Man.); M.S.W.(Minnesota)
Dr. Max and Rose Rady taught their children to live by two principles: kindness and generosity. Their daughter Marjorie Blankstein embodies these values and displays them with intelligence and grace. Her devotion to her native city of Winnipeg has resulted in many extraordinary contributions to its welfare and citizens.
She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a BA in 1950 and then earned her Master of Social Work degree in 1952 from the University of Minnesota. After her graduation, she married architect Morley Blankstein and devoted her life to her nine children (five by birth and four by marriage), seven grandchildren, and volunteerism.
In the 1960s, as President of the Winnipeg Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, and together with the Junior League, she was instrumental in sponsoring a nursery school for Indigenous children. She became the President of the National Council of Jewish Women in 1977. As a member of the Manitoba Study Committee for Children with Emotional and Learning Disorders, she helped produce a report that advocated for all children to be integrated in regular classrooms instead of being segregated. Later, as chair of the Jewish Child and Family Service Child Care Committee, she was instrumental in establishing a group home for boys. Mrs. Blankstein has continued to advocate for Manitoba’s young people throughout her career as a volunteer and has been instrumental in establishing many services, including a youth hostel and Klinic, in the 1970s.
She has shared her wisdom and passion with over 30 different community organizations, including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, St. Boniface Hospital, the Winnipeg Library Foundation, the Legal Education and Action Fund, Rady Jewish Community Centre, Age & Opportunity Centre, Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, and she was a founding member of the Women’s Health Research Foundation. She is a Board Member Emerita of the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice. She served on the Board of the United Way, and chaired the 1994 Campaign. She chaired the Capital Campaign for the Asper Jewish Community Campus.
Mrs. Blankstein has received numerous honours for her exceptional service. In 1982 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, the Order of Manitoba in 2010, and she has received the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and 125th Anniversary of Confederation Commemorative medals. She was the first recipient of the Sol Kanee Distinguished Community Service Medal from the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council. She has been recognized as the YM/YWCA Woman of the Year (Community Service category) in 1978, Volunteer of the Year (by the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Manitoba) in 2000, and received a Distinguished Service Award from the University of Manitoba in 2003. Most recently, in May of this year, the Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev honoured her and her husband Morley.
Marjorie Blankstein is a philanthropic leader and cultural nurturer. She is the hallmark of a selfless citizen. She inspires and she amazes. The University of Manitoba is proud to award an Honorary Doctor of Laws to one of its own, a woman for others.