Reports and Publications

Aboriginal Philanthropy in Canada: A Foundation for Understanding

This is a research-based discussion paper that we hope will provide an overview of data, stories, perceptions, grant-making models and new opportunities and ways of thinking related to Aboriginal-focused philanthropy.  This paper is intended as a means to share information and enhance our collective knowledge on Indigenous philanthropy in Canada. Additionally, it provides context for strengthening relationships between foundations and Canada’s First Peoples. The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada encourages readers to ask themselves:  What does this information mean to me?  How is it relevant to me?  How is it relevant to my organization, my community, my workplace, my city?  Does it raise other questions that I you would like to see answered?

The information in  Aboriginal Philanthropy in Canada: A Foundation for Understanding, as well as the process of developing the document have built the Circle’s knowledge about, and understanding of the realities, strengths and significance of Aboriginal people in Canada and course the significant role philanthropy can play in the quality of life of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.  They have reinforced how important it is to increase the involvement of Aboriginal people throughout the industry and to expand opportunities for Aboriginal people to deliver and receive culturally appropriate services that are funded within an Aboriginal focused granting models.

You can scroll through the report below,

First Nations as Qualified DoneesFoundations are often looking for ways to support activities of aboriginal peoples and their communities, but are often unsure of whether they are legally permitted to make grants to First Nations and certain other aboriginal organizations. This document summarizes the current position of the Canada Revenue Agency regarding its interpretation of First Nations as qualified donees for grants from foundations and highlights other possibilities to consider to provide that support. Please note that this primer does not directly address the qualified donee status of Inuit or Métis organizations. Developed by Susan Manwaring, Miller Thompson LLP.

Caring Across Boundaries
Caring Across the Boundaries is an interactive workshop that facilitates collaboration between First Nations child and family services agencies and the voluntary sector. The program was developed based on research which found that First Nations children and youth on reserve have almost no access to the broad range of prevention and quality of life services provided by the voluntary sector. 

Addressing our Toughest Challenges: A Social Justice Discussion Guide for Community Foundations
Touches on Aboriginal issues, among many others, in making the case for philanthropies addressing root causes to social issues, rather than just the symptoms. Community Foundations Canada. Developed by Nancy Johnston and Betsy Martin, November, 2006.

Arm in Arm: Engaged Grantmaking in Local Communities.
This report focuses on challenges and strategies for grantmakers whose mission requires them to make grants over many years in communities that have a limited number of individuals with the experience and skill required to lead those organizations. The findings summarized here are based on interviews with approximately 30 individuals working in a range of settings, including grantmaking to First Nations, Native American and Aboriginal Peoples; grantmaking in rural areas; and grantmaking in developing countries. Weiser, John and West, Ellen E., for the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

Challenges in Indigenous Philanthropy: Reporting Australian grantmakers’ Perspectives
This article explores views of Australian grantmakers and philanthropists who give to Indigenous causes. It reports on a study undertaken as part of the Giving Australia research to discover if and how giving to Indigenous causes differs from philanthropy to other areas. This paper builds on the scant literature, looking at key issues, funding needs, and recommendations for fostering Indigenous development. Indigenous groups are challenged in understanding how foundations work and, conversely, foundations do not always appreciate the need to support traditional cultures. The study found that small grants can play a key role, as could enticing new grantmakers, co-funding, engaging Indigenous representatives in the decision making process, and dispelling misconceptions. Scaife, Wendy, in the Australian Journal of Social Issues. 2006.

Combining the Traditional and the Modern – Alliance Magazine interview with Geoff Scott
Much discussion of indigenous philanthropy centres on building on the traditions of indigenous peoples. As Geoff Scott, Chief Executive of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (ALC), sees it, it is the dynamism of the Aboriginal people of Australia that has allowed them to survive and to maintain their traditions. Now the ALC is helping to turn that dynamism to the longer-term purpose of promoting a better life for Aboriginal communities and their successor generations. This involves developing new structures and new ways of making decisions, which combine elements of the traditional with those of the modern.

Conversations about Possibilities – Themes and reflections from the International Philanthropy Collaboration
A conversation between nine foundation leaders from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Discusses the importance of a more concerted effort to understand indigenous worldviews and support indigenous priorities. Addis, Rosemary and Catherine Brown; R.E. Ross Trust, Melbourne, Australia: 2008.

The Hundested Recommendations for Donor Best Practices
These “best practice” recommendations emerged from a Roundtable & Workshop where representatives of multilateral, bilateral and private donors exchanged insights and experiences with indigenous participants from Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Arctic. These are premised on the notion that philanthropies demonstrate leadership by support­ing policies that create political space and enabling conditions for Indigenous Peoples to exercise full benefits of citizenship and participate in civil society and decision-making at all levels. Convention on Biological Diversity: Hundested, Den­mark, 2001.

Large Foundations’ Grantmaking to Native America
Presents key findings from a study of large foundations’ giving to Native American causes and concerns. It addresses the real dollar value of grantmaking from 1989-2002, top donors and top recipients, and the general purposes to which grants are targeted. The pamphlet concludes with a discussion of what the data imply (and in particular, what actions they ought to motivate) for foundations, Native-serving nonprofits, and tribal governments. Hicks, Sarah and Miriam Jorgensen. . Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Cambridge, MA: 2005. 

Native Gathering: A Meeting with Native American Elders, Activists, Select Funders and Scholars
Reports on a gathering hosted by the Marguerite Casey Foundation at the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona. This report identifies opportunities and the potential impact on foundations, grant-makers and individual philanthropists as they support Native American community building efforts. Delgado, Louis T. (prepared by). Philanthropy & Non-Profit Sector Program, University of Chicago, 2004.

Opening doors for Aboriginal students – New national database enhances access to University
Today Canada’s universities launched a new online tool to provide Aboriginal students with better access to information on programs and services on campuses across Canada. The comprehensive, searchable database of resources designed to meet the needs of Aboriginal students was developed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.


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