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 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. 

 

Approach

 

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.

Strategies 

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:

We seek to partner with organizations that are establishing collaborative funding models, prioritizing Indigenous-led philanthropy.

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.

 

Criteria questions for Collaborative Funding Models

  • How does this work advance the reduction of the socioeconomic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and relate to the reconciliation economy, where wealth and resources are equitably shared and sustainably managed?
  • How does your project contribute to creating collaborative funding models? 
  • Please describe the Indigenous engagement and leadership in your own organization. Could you describe any relationships you have with Indigenous organizations or leaders?

 

We seek to partner with organizations that are engaging with innovative platforms for change. Innovative platforms for change unite a variety of stakeholders to test new ways to solve problems. 

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.

 

Criteria questions for Innovative Platforms for Change 

  • How does this work advance the reduction of the socioeconomic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and relate to the reconciliation economy, where wealth and resources are equitably shared and sustainably managed?
  • How does your project contribute towards creating innovative platforms for change?
  • Please describe the Indigenous engagement and leadership in your own organization. Could you describe any relationships you have with Indigenous organizations or leaders?

The McConnell Foundation is resolved to increase its impact by addressing complex financial mechanisms through innovative financial solutions.

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.

Criteria questions for Innovative Financial Solutions

  • How does this work advance the reduction of the socioeconomic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and relate to the reconciliation economy, where wealth and resources are equitably shared and sustainably managed?
  • How does your project contribute to creating or accelerating innovative financial solutions for lasting systemic change?
  • Please describe the Indigenous engagement and leadership in your own organization. Could you describe any relationships you have with Indigenous organizations or leaders?

Recent Funding & Investments

Centre for First Nations Governance

With a grant from the Foundation, CFNG will further develop its road map to First Nations self-government so that communities can begin work on their own; provide more intensive support [...]

$ 673,500

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First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (Caring Society) 

The funding for this project will further advance the work: to ensure equity for First Nations children and families; to support education and public engagement for reconciliation; and, to evaluate [...]

$ 450,000

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Northern Manitoba Food, Culture & Community Collaborative

The Northern Manitoba Food, Culture and Community Collaborative (NMFCCC) will use the funds to further develop projects and share approaches, including social enterprise, that focus on improving food security and [...]

$ 500,000

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Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE)

Funding will be for two different projects co-led by SHARE: (1) SHARE and Climate Engagement Canada will create an initiative to support the transition to net zero in the financial [...]

$ 600,000

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Turtle Island Institute

Funds will be used to train Indigenous facilitators designers and evaluators to deliver Indigenous social innovation methodologies to Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations across Canada.

$ 1,500,000

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Wahkohtowin Development General Partnership Inc. (Wahkohtowin)

Funds from the Foundation will support the scaling development of a Guardian Program through a partnership with the Outland Youth Employment Program, reaching youth in the Northeast Superior Region.

$ 150,000

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Winnipeg Boldness

A grant from the Foundation will support Winnipeg Boldness as it moves from prototyping to documenting completed Proofs of Possibilities (POPs) in the areas of health and wellness, baby baskets, [...]

$ 375,000

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