Our History

The vision and passion of two individuals have had a major role in shaping Main Street Project: John Rodgers and Clay Lewis. To this day their commitment to community inspires our team and impacts those who use our services.

John Rodgers

John Rodgers served as the Executive Director of Main Street Project for 23 years.

In 1972, Rodgers started what he thought would be a temporary job at Main Street Project. Within three years he was running the facility and would continue to until passing away in 1998. John’s efforts at Main Street Project and in the community at large impacted everyone involved in our organization.

John has been called ‘Winnipeg’s Mother Theresa.’ He was a man who clearly found his calling supporting our city’s most disadvantaged and we wouldn't be where we are today without him.

Clay Lewis

Clay Lewis was one of MSP’s co-founders and took on many different roles during his career.

In the early '60s Clay became the first social worker employed by Meals on Wheels and worked in multiple health organizations until Main Street Project was born in 1972.

Clay was always a familiar face at Main Street Project, known for his tireless efforts to support Winnipeg’s inner city. Outside of his ongoing dedication to Main Street Project Clay has founded and served many Winnipeg organizations, including:

  • Community Income Tax Services - Providing low-income people with free or low cost tax preparation
  • Jack’s Hotel - Opened in 1977 to provide community seniors with food, shelter and independence. The hotel is now known as Neeginan
  • Pathways - Provided two safe homes for core area street youth in Winnipeg from 1977 to 1995
  • Addictions Recovery Inc. - Opened in 1979 as a halfway houses for recovering addicts
  • Non-Potable Alcohol and Inhalant Abuse Committee - Educating and legislating around the misuse of these potentially harmful substances

Without John and Clay Main Street Project wouldn't be what it is today. We are building on the foundation that they have laid to continue working with our community to improve the lives of Winnipeg's most vulnerable citizens.