The Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation is a new registered charity that will help strengthen the relationships between Canada’s philanthropic sector and the First Nations communities of Atlantic Canada.

Canada’s philanthropic sector – registered charities and individual and corporate donors – plays a critical role in the success and vitality of the country. The sector is involved in essential and innovative work in a wide range of fields, including health, education, environmental protection, community economic development, infrastructure, and the arts.

Canada’s approximately 200 community foundations are a major part of the philanthropic sector. They manage over $5 billion in assets and generate approximately $250 million in grants each year to charitable organizations and other “qualified donees.” They also invest some of their capital to help catalyse positive community impacts.

But the connections between this vital sector and First Nations communities are not as strong as they should be. There is a need to build new relationships, understanding, co-operation and infrastructure for the sector and the communities to work together more constructively.

The new Foundation will work to fill this gap and to pursue the enormous opportunities for impact donations, grants and investments. It is a federally incorporated registered charity, its members and directors are chiefs and leaders from the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet communities of the Atlantic region, and it is supported by experienced professional advisors.

The formal purposes of the new Foundation are:

  • To receive and maintain a fund or funds and to apply all or part of the principal and income therefrom, from time to time, to qualified donees as defined in subsection 149.1(1) of the Income Tax Act (Canada); and
  • To advance education by providing publicly available scholarships and bursaries to Indigenous students to be used for post-secondary education.

Qualified donees include registered charities and some public bodies, including First Nation Bands that are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. Most Atlantic First Nations Bands are qualified donees, and new indigenous charities are being formed to address specific needs and opportunities in the region.