By: Jessica Dunkin
Welcome to the new website for the NWT On The Land Collaborative Fund. Launched on our one-year anniversary, this website is a celebration of the successful projects we supported in 2016, as well as a resource for individuals and organizations in need of support for land-based programs. Visit the Background and Approach pages to learn more about the history and administration of the Collaborative. The Partners page is the place to meet the people and organizations that make this Collaborative possible. Stop by the Stories pages to see the kinds of programs and initiatives that received grants in our inaugural year. Interested in applying for funding? The Grant Process & Cycle page explains how to do that and links to the application. The application can also be found on the home page and in the menu bar.
Established officially in Fall 2015, the NWT On The Land Collaborative Fund brings together the resources and expertise of a diverse group of funders and community partners, including the Government of the Northwest Territories, Tides Canada, Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation, the NWT Recreation and Parks Association, TNC Canada, the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, Diavik Diamond Mine, and Indigenous governments from across the territory, to support land-based programs in the NWT.
The Collaborative, which grew out of a recognizable need for a more accessible and streamlined funding program for on the land activities, is modelled on other successful collaboratives, including the Northern Manitoba Food, Culture, and Community Collaborative and the Alaska Native Fund. Collaboratives such as these bring together government, industry, non-profits, philanthropic organizations, and community advisors to support community projects with a common goal: in these cases, food security and conservation, respectively. The NWT On The Land Collaborative Fund is committed to supporting projects that prioritize land-based education and cultural revitalization.
These types of collaboratives provide money, but they also work to link projects with other resources and information. Beyond grants, we help successful applicants access equipment, training, and program support. We do not limit our assistance to those who receive funds. To the contrary, we do our best to connect applicants with other organizations or programs that could help them achieve their goals.
In the first year, the Collaborative supported 35 projects including a language and culture immersion camp on the Horn Plateau, a nature club for children and youth in Hay River, a traditional medicine program in Teet’lit Zheh (Fort MacPherson), and a family oriented land-based treatment program in Fort Smith.
Margaret Vandell preparing dry fish at Edehzeh (Photo: Jess Dunkin)
While we are proud to have assisted so many different projects across the territory, the need is much greater. In the first round of applications, we were only able to fund 17% of the proposals received. Likewise, our $400,000 budget paled in comparison to the 10.9 million dollars requested by applicants. One of our primary goals for the coming year, then, is to grow the Collaborative Fund. This means asking existing partners to increase their support, but also approaching prospective partners to join us in enabling transformative land-based programs.
Learning trips are an important feature of the NWT On The Land Collaborative Fund. Over three days in early September, members of the Collaborative visited four grant recipients (you can learn more about that trip here). The learning trip was an opportunity to see the impact of the Collaborative on the ground, while also gathering feedback for future work. It also allowed us to demonstrate the value of this arrangement to prospective partners. Stay tuned to hear who will be joining us in the new year.
The NWT On The Land Collaborative Fund is still very new and we have much to learn about how best to support land-based programs in the NWT. We learned a lot as we made our way through the first granting cycle and this year’s application reflects those learnings. We are always looking for ways to better serve and support on the land programs. Be in touch if you have suggestions for improvements for the website or the program.