Supporting Indigenous Youth to lead systemic change

The Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation and Mastercard Foundation
have formed a partnership to empower Indigenous youth!

The Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation is an innovative, Indigenous-led registered charity dedicated to improving lives by connecting the Indigenous people and communities of Atlantic Canada with Canada’s philanthropic sector.

In a five-year partnership with Mastercard Foundation, we have created the Ulnooweg EleV Team, a group of young people whose goal is to help our youth break down barriers that have been placed in their way as a result of colonialism and historical actions and inactions.


The EleV youth initiative relies on engagement to develop youth-led programming and partnerships that will lead to developing leadership skills, language and cultural resurgence, educational, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities. EleV supports Indigenous youth in their pathways through education and on to meaningful work and livelihoods reflecting their values, traditions, and aspirations.

Since September 2020, this team has helped us to provide over $6M in grants via nearly 135 incredible initiatives to directly benefit Indigenous youth throughout the entire Atlantic region.

At the end of the day, we strive to push the needle of systems change to lead to long lasting changes that will impact the future for generations to come.


The name EleV (‘e-la-VEE) is used across all Mastercard Foundation EleV Partnerships and was selected in consultation with partner Indigenous communities and youth. “EleV” is a play on the word “elevate” in English and “élevé” (student) in french.

The “V” evokes a flock of birds flying a long distance, wherein each member takes a turn in the tiring lead position – a lesson from nature on the power of collaborative leadership in support of community.

ta’n telo’ltimk : a way of life

dawn dell-ohl-dimk


Cultivating access to opportunity and the capacity to thrive by amplifying the leadership of Indigenous Youth who are on the journey of breaking down systemic barriers.


To engage with the Indigenous youth in Atlantic Canada to develop youth-led programming with the goal of magnifying leadership skills while supporting meaningful opportunities in education, language and cultural resurgence, employment and entrepreneurship while striving for growth and change towards a good life.


We believe that focusing our efforts on the following four areas will help to create the environment in which our Indigenous youth will thrive as they define for themselves what it means to live a good life.

Leadership - Harnessing the potential of youth leaders

Support youth leadership through training, informal learning, networking, and mentorship opportunities

Culture - Promoting opportunities to access culture & language

Enhance cultural, language, identity, and wellness program access and offerings including integrating these facets into educational and supportive programming

Education - building meaningful educational pathways

Promote educational pathways that are accessible, culturally appropriate, and aligned to their Indigenous youth realities, aspirations, and the needs of the communities

Employment - Supporting the transition to employment and entrepreneurship

Build opportunities and networks for youth to secure meaningful and dignified work, in employment or entrepreneurship.


The Ulnooweg EleV youth engagement officers and team work to connect with their communities, identify gaps, and create initiatives which serve to break down systemic barriers experienced by Indigenous youth in  The Atlantic region.

These initiatives are built together with youth, partners, and stakeholders to address systemic issues and gaps related to our Four Pillars.

We believe that our shared accomplishments are the seeds towards real systems change, and we encourage youth and partners to pursue projects that create “big picture” impacts outside of their own boundaries, contributing to impactful, long-lasting systemic change.

In creating relationships, the youth engagement officers mentor and guide applicants in identifying gaps and needs, developing ideas, and bringing these ideas to the program creation phase. Throughout each initiative, the Youth Engagement Officers provide support to bring the youth’s ideas to reality, examine all avenues to ensure success, and bring in additional partners and allies as often as possible. Our goal is to maximize the likelihood of success of each project in breaking down systemic barriers.

Taking Flight Together

EleV supports Indigenous youth in their pathways through education and on to meaningful work and livelihoods reflecting their values, traditions, and aspirations.

Read more about EleV…

Grants & Scholarships

One way our team can provide support to community is by working directly with Indigenous youth, organizations, and communities to pinpoint gaps and create a project specific to meeting the needs of that specific group.

Examples of Ulnooweg EleV initiatives include:

  • Providing support for a youth/Elder mock Caribou hunt
  • Connecting digital-age youth with Mother Earth and traditional culture via Two-eyed Seeing
  • Developing a community economic development opportunity via mentorship & entrepreneurship
  • Open Grants: The Youth Engagement Officers spend time in their communities and often identify needs consistent with our EleV focus and pillars. Rather than develop a grant targeted at a specific group, we sometimes determine that the best way to create the most impact is to provide an open call for applications. Youth engagement drives these open grants and the team works together to develop the parameters for a fund that will address the need. For example, we created an open grant inviting Indigenous youth groups to submit their dream projects by creating a sustainable, impactful program to create long lasting positive effects and opportunities for youth. The program had two streams – school groups and Youth or Friendship Centre groups. This initiative was engaging and not only allowed us to assist these groups in implementing their dream project but gave us more insight into the needs and gaps that are important to youth in our region.
  • Scholarships & Bursaries: Scholarships and bursaries are another manner in which to strengthen
    educational pathways and support our third pillar. EleV creates specific initiatives to address the educational needs of our youth as they arise.

Explore Ulnooweg EleV Programs Across the Atlantic Region

Explore this map to discover the various EleV programs that support Indigenous youth in their educational journeys and meaningful work. These programs reflect Indigenous values, traditions, and aspirations, and we are proud to highlight some of them below.

Note: Each program on the map represents a collaborative effort to make a difference in the lives of Indigenous youth. Click on the program markers to learn more about these initiatives and their impact.

The Team

Our EleV team is spread across the Atlantic region and each member brings with them a wealth of experience and insights that collectively create a vibrant and cohesive team. The team works together with youth, partners, and community to identify needs, gaps, and barriers, and then co-creates innovative programming that will lead to long-lasting impactful change that improves lives in community.

Please reach out to your local Youth Engagement Officer to learn more about our grant-making process and how you can create youth-led programming in your region!


Rosalie LaBillois

Youth Engagement Officer New Brunswick

Rosalie LaBillois is an emerging leader from Eel River Bar First Nation, New Brunswick. She is currently a full-time BACS student at Cape Breton University!  Aside from her studies, Rosalie is serving her 2nd term as Co-Chair of the Assembly of First Nations National Youth Council. Her goals include creating inclusive spaces, building good relations, and amplifying youth voices.

Jasmine Seeley

Jasmine Seeley

Partnership and Outreach Coordinator

Jasmine Seeley is an Anishnaabe woman and a member of Hiawatha First Nation located in Southern Ontario, recently having moved to Quispamsis NB. She has spent majority of her professional career working with Indigenous youth from across Turtle Island, supporting them in discovering their strengths and becoming leaders in their community.


Brandon Mitchell B.I.S., M.Ed.

Learning Facilitator

Brandon Mitchell is Mi’gmaq from Listuguj First Nations in Quebec and currently resides in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Research and development of learning plans, and strategies as well as facilitating workshops for the EleV initiative.


Barb Sylvester

Culture and Language Coordinator

Barbara Sylvester, a Mi’kmaw l’nu, hails from Unama’ki. Barbara holds a Bachelor of Business degree,  having spent most of her career in building an extensive knowledge base of the business and financial ecosystems of the Atlantic region. But her real passion is in the reverance of the Mi’kmaw language and culture – including her own personal daily journey to become an avid speaker – along with mentoring youth to become motivated learners too.


Monika Rumbolt

Youth Engagement Officer Labrador

Monika (Dee-Jay) Rumbolt is an Inuk visual artist from the south coast of Labrador. Growing up, she had the privilege to be taught many traditional practices from her people, and incorporates land based knowledge and practices into both her work and art. As the Youth Coordinating officer for Labrador, she’s looking forward to working with the Indigenous governments and their youth.


Billie Julian

Youth Engagement Officer Central Maritime

Billie Julian is a member of Millbrook First Nation in Nova Scotia, and has great passion for his community.

Billie is studying a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Policy & Governance. He is a representative on the Assembly of First Nations National Youth Council and President of the newly founded Indigenous Players Lacrosse Association (IPLA). He hopes that this partnership with EleV will help break down barriers and develop youth led programming.


Alex Antle

Youth Engagement Officer Newfoundland

Alex Antle is the youth engagement officer for Newfoundland. She is a member of Qalipu First Nation and an active community member in her home territory. Alex holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Memorial University, she is also an entrepreneur, and an artist.


Brennan Googoo

Youth Engagement Officer Nova Scotia

Brennan is Mi’kmaq from Millbrook First Nation, Nova Scotia. He is currently working with Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation as Youth Engagement Officer for Nova Scotia. Prior to this Brennan gained most of his experience working as a facilitator with Three Things Consulting, based out of Kingston, Ontario, now co-hosting their weekly talk show over Facebook Live. Brennan spends his free time rewatching old movies, playing video games, lacrosse, playing fetch with his dog, and training jiu-jitsu.