DAY ONE: The Foundation

A Day of Learning and Insight

The first day will set the stage for an enriching learning experience. An educational workshop will provide an overview of philanthropy in Canada by charity lawyer Richard Bridge. We’ll explore topics such as:

  • Canada’s charitable sector
  • Philanthropy and Indigenous communities
  • Qualified donee status
  • Charities working with non-charities
  • Registered charities & non-profit organizations
  • Incorporation
  • Registering and maintaining a charity
  • Tax receipts
  • Governance highlights
  • Advocacy & business activity by charities

These sessions are designed to cater to your unique needs and foster a better understanding of the philanthropic landscape. Our day will culminate in an engaging Evening Reception featuring a Keynote Speaker who will offer insights into the dynamics of collaborative partnerships and the intersections of community and philanthropic endeavours.

DAY TWO: The Exchange

A Day of Dialogue and Discovery

On the second day, there will be a full slate of panels and guest speakers. In guided talking circles, participants will have the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations and discussions. A thoughtful schedule of breaks and meals throughout the day will provide attendees with opportunities to network and interact.

Our journey will explore topics based on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, including:

  • Language,
  • Youth,
  • Education, and
  • Arts & Culture.

In the evening, we will host a celebratory dinner to further foster community. After an engaging and educational day, the day will conclude with captivating performances from local Indigenous artists.

DAY THREE: The Synthesis

A Day of Reflection and Conclusions

On this final day, we will host an immersive session that will consolidate the learnings from the previous days. Influential leaders from the field of Indigenous Philanthropy will engage in a lively discussion on:

“How do we strengthen connections between the philanthropic world and the Indigenous world?”

For this event, we hope to foster an environment where everyone can engage, question, and share their perspectives actively. Our goal is to equip participants with a wealth of practical knowledge that can be applied both professionally and personally as a result of this important discussion.




As we embark on this enlightening journey into the heart of philanthropy, we are truly honored to have Wariko Waita open our gathering. Her illustrious career, spanning continents and sectors, speaks volumes of her dedication and insights. Wariko’s presence promises to set the tone for our event, instilling a sense of unity, purpose, and inspiration. Join us in embracing the momentum she brings, as we together chart a course for meaningful discussions and transformative action in the world of philanthropy.

Keynote Speaker:

Ms. Wariko Waita

Senior Director, Corporate Communications at the Mastercard Foundation

Wariko Waita is the Senior Director, Corporate Communications at the Mastercard Foundation and is based in Toronto. She previously worked as the Director of Program Communications at the Foundation based in Nairobi. Wariko co-founded Impact Pathways Solutions and has worked with organizations such as UNDP, Kenya Red Cross Society, Johns Hopkins University, Amnesty International, and the Global Fund. She has held the positions of Director of External Relations and Resource Mobilization for the Kenya Red Cross Society and Director of Development and Partnerships at Future Generations University in New York. She served in similar roles at the Global Fairness Initiative in Washington D.C. and at Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza, Tanzania. Her work in development and philanthropy was honed at World Neighbors where she worked both as the Kenya Country Director and later in the USA as part of the regional management team. She is a Chevening scholar and holds an MBA, Finance from Leeds University UK and a BSc, Biology from Concordia University in Canada. She is a beekeeper and an organic farming enthusiast.

Educational Workshop


On the first day of our enriching journey into philanthropy, we are privileged to have the esteemed Richard Bridge steer the ship. With over 25 years dedicated to charity and non-profit law, Richard’s unparalleled expertise promises an insightful dive into the very heart of Canadian philanthropy. From his commendable work with Indigenous communities in Atlantic Canada to his international engagements, Richard’s diverse experiences bring a rich, global perspective to our table.

Workshop Leader:

Richard Bridge

Ulnooweg Development Group

Richard Bridge is a lawyer based in Nova Scotia’s South Shore. His primary area of practice for over 25 years has been charity and non-profit law. His clients are a wide range of charitable organizations, foundations, non-profit organizations and philanthropists across Canada. In recent years Richard has been working increasingly with Indigenous communities in Atlantic Canada to build new relationships with the philanthropic sector.
In September 2018 Richard joined the non-profit organization Ulnooweg Development Group in a full-time capacity as Strategic and Legal Counsel. He also serves the Ulnooweg Education Centre and the Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation, two new and innovative charities. Richard has worked internationally, including projects in China. He has also created courses and taught in these areas at the University of Victoria Law School and BCIT and has given countless public workshops and training sessions in every province in Canada. He has also published a variety of articles in these fields. Richard is a graduate of the University of Victoria – B.A. in 1986, and LL.B. in 1990. He was called the BC bar in 1991 and the Nova Scotia bar in 2006.

Session 1: Language 

Title: The Urgency of Funding Indigenous People’s Language Revitalization

Latuwewakon – Language


Article 13 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that Indigenous peoples have the right to recover, use, and pass on to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, writing systems, and literature. Despite this, many Indigenous languages have been, or are on the brink of, extinction. Alarmingly, every two weeks witnesses the death of an Indigenous language. These languages represent intricate knowledge systems, shaping the identity, the culture, and the very essence of Indigenous people and communities. When Indigenous languages are under threat, so too are Indigenous peoples themselves. While initiatives exist to help address this crisis, they fall short of the need. In this session we will delve into the immediacy of this crisis and explore how philanthropy can make a meaningful contribution.


Barb Sylvester, Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation


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.

Lisa Perley Dutcher

Kehkimin Wolastoqey language immersion school

Lisa Perley-Dutcher, a Wolastoqi/Maliseet woman from Neqotkuk/Tobique First Nation. She is a mother of four sons (Shane, Andrew, Jonathan, and Jeremy) and grandmother to five grandchildren. Lisa’s professional work includes working as a registered nurse for 30 years. Her career goals have been focused on contributing to improved health outcomes for Indigenous peoples both locally and nationally. Once she retired as a nurse, her focus shifted to language revitalization. She completed the two-year Wolastoqey Language Intensive Program at STU. Following graduation from the language program Lisa and a small group of committed Wolatoqewiyik established Kehkimin Inc., the first Wolastoqey Immersion Land-Based School in Wolastoqey territory, and she is currently the Director.

Rosalie Labillois

Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation

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 and Youth Engagement Officer with the EleV Team at UICF. 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. In 2022 she travelled with a delegation of 29 other Elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors and youth to meet Pope Francis to seek a formal apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in running residential schools.

Emily Cabrera

First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation

Emily Marcela Cabrera (she/they) is the Lead, Partnership Development with First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation, an organization dedicated to uplifting the work of Indigenous communities who are doing work to revitalize their arts, language, and cultural heritage. Emily’s work involves connecting with funders and partners to share stories, and build relationships to create a sustainable funding resource for generations to come.

Emily has worked many years in fundraising, but all in settler-led, traditional philanthropic spaces. The opportunity to forge a new path within an Indigenous-led space, centering community and relationships, is something she didn’t know was possible and it’s encouraging to see a growing platform for Indigenous-led philanthropy.

Emily is of mixed Indigenous and european ancestry. She is a proud, reconnecting member of the Ojibway of Fort William First Nation located in Thunder Bay, Ontario where her mother’s family comes from, and also holds Scottish and Irish heritage on this side. Her father’s family is from Anahuac (Mexico) and reside throughout the states of Jalisco and Nayarit. Today, Emily lives as a guest on the lands of the Lək̓ʷəŋən People alongside her teenager and two small parakeets.

Session 2: Youth 

Title: How Can Philanthropy Best Engage With and Support Indigenous Youth?

Wasisuwiw – she/he is young, is a child

Indigenous youth represent the fastest-growing segment of Canada’s population. Many possess a deep-rooted understanding of their culture and identity and bring with them not only an intimate understanding of the barriers that Indigenous youth face, but also progressive ideas regarding how to break down these barriers. To usher in genuine, lasting change, it is imperative to listen to and empower these young leaders.

This session aims to spotlight strategies and approaches where philanthropy can effectively support and engage with our future leaders and change-makers of tomorrow. Attendees will gain insights into the challenges youth face, their visions for change, and how philanthropic initiatives can create lasting positive impacts. This engaging session promises candid discussions, enlightening perspectives, and a roadmap for philanthropic endeavors that genuinely resonate with the aspirations of Indigenous youth.


Brennan Googoo, Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation


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.

Amanda Bernard

Laidlaw Foundation

Amanda Bernard is a member of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, Director of Indigenous Programs at the Laidlaw Foundation and is an Honours Bachelor of Business graduate from the University of Guelph Humber. Her active engagement extends to board roles with the Philanthropy Canada Foundation (PFC) and Advisory Committee with the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF). Amanda is deeply committed to supporting Indigenous youth by facilitating their engagement with their ancestral land, language, culture, and peers through diverse projects. While residing in Tkaronto, ON, her roots remain in Ottawa, ON where she was born and within Edmundston, NB, where most of her family resides.

Ron Gamblin

4Rs Youth Movement

Ronald Gamblin is an Anishinaabe-Inninew-Métis young person born and raised in Winnipeg, Treaty 1 territory. Ronald has an extensive history of involvement in youth programming, community organizing, and advocacy. To speak to some of his experience, Ron has helped run a grassroots Indigenous youth collective in Winnipeg planning different initiatives providing low barrier resources, he was the Manitoba representative for the Assembly of First Nations Youth Council, and he has supported in the development of multiple reconciliation-based youth programs for different non-profits (as both an employee and an outside consultant). For the past five years Ron has been acting as the National Learning Community coordinator for the 4Rs Youth Movement. In this role Ron runs a yearlong learning and granting program for Indigenous
youth and allies to learn new strategies to community organizing all while working with the 4Rs staff team to implement a community project utilizing 10k worth of funds.

Jasmine Seeley

Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation

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. She is currently the Partnership and Outreach Coordinator for UICF’s EleV Team across the Atlantic provinces.

Session 3: Education

Title: Closing the Education Gap: Barriers and Breakthroughs for Indigenous Youth

Kehkiketuwakon – Education


Indigenous youth face systemic educational barriers, with their outcomes often lagging behind their non-Indigenous peers. Rooted primarily in the aftermath of colonialism, many factors contribute to this discrepancy, including socio-economic marginalization, inadequate funding, lack of access to educational facilities in community, curricula that does not reflect ways of knowing and lived experience, and the impact of intergenerational trauma. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has earmarked education in 11 Calls to Action, emphasizing its vital importance.

This session offers a deep dive into the multifaceted challenges Indigenous youth confront in their educational pursuits. More importantly, it highlights the robust, collaborative endeavors by philanthropic entities and educational institutions to eradicate these barriers. Join us in this enlightening session, as we journey through stories of determination, challenges, and the incredible collaborative efforts reshaping the educational landscape for Indigenous learners.


Erica McCloskey, Mastercard Foundation


Erica McCloskey is a member of Kebaowek First Nation with mixed settler ancestry and lives in Toronto in territories covered by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant. Erica spends her days fostering connections and partnerships that drive positive change. She is passionate about transforming systems to be in better service of Indigenous young people. Currently she is a program partner at the Mastercard Foundation.

Jesse Simon

Martin Family Initiative

Jesse John Simon, BA, B.ED, M.Ed, is the son of the late William John Simon and Sarah (Francis) Simon from Elsipogtog First Nation. Jesse started his career as a Guidance Counsellor at the Elsipogtog School and Eleanor Graham Middle School in Rexton before becoming Chief of Elsipogtog in 2008. In 2013, he became Principal for Elsipogtog School before working for the former National Chief Phil Fontaine from 2014-2016.

For a number of years, he was the Executive Director of Mawiw Tribal Council Inc, and then for Mi’gmawe’l Taplut’aaqn Inc (MTI), representing the largest First Nations in New Brunswick, as well as for the 8 Mi’gmaq bands respectively.

Jesse then returned to the Education field as a teacher for 2 years before becoming the Education Director for Bilijk (Kingsclear First Nation) from 2021-2023. He is currently the Director of Education for the Martin Family Initiative. Jesse is a fluent speaker in Mi’kmaq and has been teaching the language as a course at the University of New Brunswick since 2021.

Michael McLean

OSO Planning and Design

Michael MacLean is the co-founder of OSO planning + design, an interdisciplinary artist, and a participatory designer based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. OSO is a community-based design studio that uses an open and participatory approach to planning and design. OSO’s work includes projects ranging from comprehensive community planning and policy to public art installation and hands-on design-build. Their interdisciplinary approach and broad community participation ensure that the projects reflect the ideas, values, and dreams of the people they partner with while creating tangible action on the ground.

Michael’s experience weaves together a strong foundation of community participation, a background in youth support work, and research on design-build processes. This unique perspective and experience help to create opportunities to build capacity within communities while establishing new tools and methods for education and participation.

Michael holds a Master’s of Environmental Design Studies (Design-Build) from Dalhousie University (2019) and a BFA in Design from Concordia University (2017). His work has been recognized in exhibitions, design competitions, and publications.

Alexandra Antle

Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation

Alex Antle is the youth engagement officer for the island of 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 and is currently working on a Masters in Business Administration concentrating in Social Enterprise Leadership. Alex is a multidisciplinary artist and is passionate about entrepreneurship as a pathway to self-reliance and community prosperity.

Session 4: Arts

Title: Bridging Worlds Through Art: Indigenous Artistry as Catalysts for Change

Skicinuwi-wehkewakonol – Indigenous Arts/Crafts


Indigenous artistic expression through dance, visual arts, storytelling, or other means, is deeply intertwined with culture, language, and identity. It is not merely for internal reflection; it serves as a bridge towards understanding between people and communities. Every piece of art is a personal journey, echoing truths that need a voice and stories that demand to be shared. The power of art can influence social change and mobilize action toward a prosperous future.

The journey of reconciliation is long and multifaceted, and art plays a vital role. Through art, stories of heritage, resilience, perseverance, and hope emerge, catalyzing change and fostering deeper understanding. Join us in this enlightening session as we journey through the canvas of Indigenous artistry, appreciating its depth, beauty, and transformative power.


Odile Joannette, Canada Council for the Arts


Odile Joannette, an Innu from Pessamit, has been a staunch advocate for Indigenous arts and culture throughout her career. Formerly the general director of Wapikoni, an Indigenous-focused artistic organization, she now leads the Create, Know and Share: First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Arts and Cultures program at the Canada Council for the Arts. Joannette’s legacy includes enhancing visibility and excellence for Indigenous artists and co-founding the NETWORK of the indigenous community in Montreal. Her dedication to her community’s richness and diversity is evident in every role she undertakes.

Susan Chalmers-Gauvin

Atlantic Ballet Company

Ms. Chalmers-Gauvin co-founded Atlantic Ballet Atlantique Canada with Artistic Director Igor Dobrovolskiy in 2001, with a vision to establish an internationally ranked professional ballet company of high artistic standard that would serve and represent the Atlantic region across Canada and around the world. She was Chair of the Board of Directors from 2001 to 2006. In 2006 she assumed the position of CEO. A key goal within this mandate was to contribute to the cultural and social quality of life of Atlantic Canada and beyond through artistic, educational and community outreach programs. The CEO is a leadership position providing inspiration and vision to ensure the long-term growth and sustainability of Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada.

Monika Rumbolt

Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation

Monika 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, works with Indigenous governments and their youth.

Lauren Alcorn

One Drop Foundation

Lauren Alcorn is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at One Drop. With over 15 years of experience working in the WASH sector, she is responsible for fostering partnerships with sector and business/industry actors working to accelerate the progress of SDG6. Lauren is spokesperson for the organization’s WASH in Health Care Facility initiatives, and she is a proponent of indigenous rights, gender equality and inclusion. Lauren has an MSSc in Development and International Relations from Aalborg University, Denmark and a BA from Dalhousie University.

Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier)


Natalie Sappier is a prominent Wabanaki Wolastoqiyik artist hailing from Tobique First Nation. A multifaceted creative force, Natalie has a deep affinity for weaving Indigenous narratives through dance, music, and visual arts. Her works resonate deeply with audiences, encapsulating the richness of her Wolastoqiyik heritage and Indigenous tales. As an advocate for the arts, Natalie’s passion and dedication shine through every piece, bringing forth a unique blend of tradition and innovation to contemporary stages.

Closing Session: Strengthening Ties

Title: Nurturing Synergies: Fostering Deep Connections Between Philanthropy and Indigenous Communities

Nisoluhkatomon – collaborates on it


Canada’s philanthropic realm faces a stark imbalance. Indigenous communities, forming approximately 5% of the population, are critically underrepresented in charitable giving. This disparity is even more pronounced when considering the unique challenges faced by Indigenous people which are deeply rooted in Canada’s historical context.

Driven by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, there is an urgent call for the philanthropic sector to play a transformative role.

The question remains: How do we construct sustainable relationships and connections between the philanthropic and Indigenous worlds, fostering genuine partnerships and maximizing impact?

Join us in this critical dialogue as we reimagine philanthropy, striving for a landscape where Indigenous communities are not just beneficiaries, but equal partners, shaping the narrative and sharing their wisdom.


Jessica Bolduc, 4Rs Youth Movement


Jess Bolduc is a community member of Batchewana First Nation and lives, works and plays in Baawating (Sault Ste. Marie), the traditional territory of her Ojibway ancestors. Jess comes from a mixed family of Anishinaabe, French & Irish people who love the outdoors, music, dancing, plants and animals and is an auntie to many niblings. As the Executive Director of the 4Rs Youth Movement, she has travelled across Turtle Island and internationally, in order to learn about the conditions that might be necessary for communities to shift and transform complex systems through dialogue and strategic action. The work of 4Rs is about centering the needs and role Indigenous young people play in moving forward reconciliation between individuals, communities & systems in Canada. Through her experiences with 4Rs, she has built up a community of mentors throughout inclusion, racial justice, social innovation and facilitation networks. As a volunteer, Jess is the co-chair of the newly formed Algoma Community Foundation, lead faculty for the Circle on Philanthrophy’s Indigenous Abundance Accelerator program, and an advisor on strategy & governance for FLIP – the Foundation for Leadership, Imagination and Place. When she is home Jess can most often be found stacking wood (or sitting on wood piles), tending to her garden, hanging with her cat Olive, harvesting from the land with her friends and relatives.

Chris Googoo

Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation

Christopher Googoo is a proud member of the We’koqma’q First Nation, living in Millbrook on the unceded territory of Mi’kma’ki, with his wife and three children. He is the Chief Operating Officer of Ulnooweg and the Executive Director of The Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation— working to strengthen the relationship between Canada’s philanthropic sector and Indigenous communities.

Started in 2000, he has been with the organization for over 23 years as the most senior person at Ulnooweg. His most recent works have been involved in the creation and implementation of the new national Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund, implementation of Ulnooweg Education Centre’s STEAM based education under the Science and Innovation program and the recent acquisition of 200 acres of old growth forest land Asitu’lisk (formerly Windhorse Farm), focused on creating a space for healing and education.

He is currently a Board member of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Centre for Local Prosperity, the Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia, and Chair of Impact Organizations of Nova Scotia. Chris holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from St. Francis Xavier University. He has served on other boards including most recently InnovaCorp, the National Aboriginal Capital Corporation Association and the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce.

Kris Archie

The Circle

Kris Archie is a Secwepemc and Seme7 woman from Ts’qescen, a mother, an aunty and an engaged community member. She is also the Chief Executive Officer for The Circle on Philanthropy (The Circle). Kris is a long time practitioner of hosting conversations that matter and currently works to transform philanthropy and contribute lasting systemic change by creating spaces for shared learning and centering Indigenous wisdom. Her biggest joy is working alongside a creative and engaged group of humans surrounding The Circle, from the staff team to Governing Circle directors and members. She has worked to create a workplace and a member network who truly think and do their work differently – and do that good work together for the purpose of redistributing wealth.

She is a PLACES Fellow Alum of 2016 with The Funders Network, a board member with Environment Funders Canada and a Dialogue Fellow with Simon Fraser University focused on Indigenous ways of knowing and Philanthropy. She loves live music, her puppy Pepper and swimming at any pésellkwe in Secwepemc territories.

Chris Lee

Inspirit Foundation

Chris Lee serves as the Director of Programming at Inspirit Foundation — a national philanthropic organization committed to advancing pluralism in Canada — where he leads Inspirit’s grantmaking programs, evaluation and learning strategies, and social impact initiatives. Leveraging an array of financial tools, he works in partnership with communities and organizations to support justice, inclusion, and equity across multiple sectors, including arts, media, and screen-based industries, post-secondary education, finance, and government.

Brian Jackson

McConnell Foundation

Brian Jackson is an esteemed figure within Canada’s philanthropic sector, embodying the rich heritage and values of the Anishinaabe community. Currently serving as the Program Director for the McConnell Foundation, Brian has been instrumental in sculpting the foundation’s direction and initiatives for over three years. Located in Gatineau, Quebec, the McConnell Foundation is renowned for its significant impact in the Canadian philanthropic realm. Brian is a key influencer and changemaker in the sphere of philanthropy and community development.


Location & Date:
Fredericton Convention Centre, Fredericton, New Brunswick
Oct 17 – 19, 2023

Join us for this groundbreaking event.


Please send an email request to [email protected] if you wish to attend.

Contact Us:

For more information or questions, please contact us at [email protected]