The McConnell Foundation dedicates itself to three focus areas to guide its work, including reconciliation. Learn more in our Overview section.
Thanks to the courage of Indian residential school survivors, the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the growing efforts of many individuals and organizations, more people than ever before are reflecting on what Canada will look like when reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples becomes a reality and are taking concrete action to make this vision a reality.
In the McConnell Foundation’s work on reconciliation, we put a high value on how we engage with existing and potential partners. We aim to co-create a respectful path to build relationships, whether the outcome is funding or not. We know that this journey is as much an internal as an external one, and that the work is personal, organizational and systemic.
Scope · We wish to contribute to advance a reconciliation economy where wealth and resources are equitably shared and sustainably stewarded for this generation and those yet to come, in relationship with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
Our guiding principles are:
- Recognizing the knowledge-base and experience to support new ideas and problem-solve, including Western and Indigenous knowledge.
- Recognizing that trauma underlines and informs many Indigenous communities, and ensuring that projects are rooted in healing and reconciliation.
- Ensuring that Indigenous cultures and values inform all aspects of an initiative or project.
- Providing the necessary resources and capacity to enable and support Indigenous innovators.
Within the broad aim of creating a reconciliation economy, we prioritize three specific strategies.
Reflecting on reconciliation
As one of the signatories of the philanthropic sector’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the McConnell Foundation believes that this can be achieved, in part, by the transition to a reconciliation economy. In a reconciliation economy, wealth and resources are equitably shared and sustainably managed.
We will know we have reached a reconciliation economy when there is no longer a socio-economic gap between the wellbeing of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Our understanding of ’wealth’ is broad, grounded in the understanding that the ability to engage in the market economy and access jobs depends on supportive environments that include access to education, housing, land, culture, family and, above all, respect.
The challenges we need to address which will enable this transition are large and complex and cannot be solved by one approach or one sector alone. If we are to address the existing inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, then we will need to engage with all disciplines: business, philanthropy, government and social organizations collaborating to co-create long-term solutions in complimentary ways.
Within the broad aim of creating a reconciliation economy, we prioritize three specific strategies:
Collaborative funding models promote diversity by bringing a variety of partners to the table. Through shared administration, they allow for a more efficient use of resources. Partners are able to leverage financial resources, human capital, networks, and each others’ strengths. When done right, collaborative funding models are low risk and high reward.
With the close of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015, a growing number of individuals and organizations have since been looking to work with Indigenous communities and accelerate reconciliation. Collaborative funding models can channel positive intentions in a constructive way, by enabling a variety of stakeholders to coordinate resources to solve complex challenges, tackling persistent social challenges in Indigenous communities, such as safe housing, clean drinking water, and access to education.
The housing, food security, education, employment and health care systems that were created for Indigenous peoples in Canada are broken. To fix them, we will need to test different ways to solve problems by building on each others’ strengths.
Innovative platforms for change are often composed of a group of individuals with different backgrounds and interests. Members come together to develop a common vision and then find ways to achieve their goals, individually and/or collectively.
Innovative platforms for change also have the ability to tackle challenges and opportunities, from the community level to the national level. Ideally, they influence change at a systemic level.
Solutions finance is an integrated approach to deploying financial capital and adapting financial models to catalyze, sustain and scale systems transformation. Solutions finance approaches include responsible investing, funding, impact investing and financial innovation.
We seek to partner with organizations that are using innovative financial solutions to increase their impact.
The barriers to creating a reconciliation economy require us to go beyond funding and convening. We must deploy our financial resources in strategic and innovative ways to create lasting systemic change.