COMMITMENT TO INDIGENEITY
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Toronto has been a gathering place for Indigenous people since time immemorial. Today:
- Toronto is home to upwards of 70,000 Indigenous people from across Turtle Island.
- Close to 90%, or 63,000 people, live at or below the poverty line.
- Indigenous people in Toronto are among the most marginalized and vulnerable people in the city, facing disproportionately high levels of unemployment, food insecurity, and chronic physical and mental health conditions.
This is the legacy of colonial trauma, systemic anti-Indigenous racism, and ongoing injustices.
And yet even in the face of these stark realities, Indigenous communities in Toronto remain strong, vibrant, and resilient. But they need support to address and overcome systemic inequalities. The fact is that only 3% of online charitable donations in Canada go to charities serving Indigenous peoples* – and that must change.
To do our part, we’ve:
- developed relationships with local and nationally focused Indigenous organizations
- formalized our commitment by signing the Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action
- supported 23 Indigenous-led and serving organizations for a total of $1.1M (fiscal year 2021) together with our fundholders
- supported the launch of the Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund and participate in its learning platform
- hosted an annual and now public annual event on Reconciliation
- joined the Tkaronto Indigenous Prosperity Table hosted by the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council
- strived to seek out opportunities to listen and learn from Indigenous leaders
Indigenous leaders and communities have the ideas on how to help their communities thrive. Increasingly we’re inviting Indigenous leaders to share their perspectives during our donor education events, when preparing research reports and on our communications platforms. Below you can read and listen to what they have shared with us.
What We've Learned from Indigenous Leaders
Each spring we're hosting conversations with Indigenous leaders as we try to move from reconciliation to reciprocity.
In 2021 Lindsay Kretschmer, then executive director, Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC), met with Sylvia Maracle, former executive director, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, and Kenn Richard, founder and former executive director, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto and current director, Indigenous Spirit Fund. Click on the image above to watch the webinar.
In 2020, Lindsay Kretschmer, former executive director, Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC), hosted a candid conversation with leaders of four member agencies to learn about the unique needs of the local Indigenous community during the pandemic, ideas on what support the community needs and how their resilience is shining through. Watch the webinar.
Throughout the pandemic, we connected with several leaders on how they are serving the specific needs of the Indigenous community. Here are some of those stories.
Anishnawbe Health Toronto started operating a mobile health unit out of a RV to support all the people living in encampments. But they don’t turn anyone away. Read our interview with Harvey Manning, Director of Programs & Services.
Community and culture are an important part of pregnancy and birth for many people, but especially for the Indigenous community. Hear how Seventh Generations Midwives Toronto, a group of midwives who offer primary reproductive and pregnancy care to families in Toronto with a focus on Indigenous families, is continuing to provide perinatal support. Read more
The Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts (ANDPVA) identifies, promotes, and creates opportunities for Indigenous artists to preserve traditional knowledge and advance cultural identities in order to help the community heal from the trauma of colonization. Executive director Millie Knapp and her team have had to pivot during COVID. Read more
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