Adult Education, Environment, Housing, News

December 15, 2022

Catherine Donnelly Foundation fall 2022 grants support 33 organizations with $1.1 million in funds

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Catherine Donnelly Foundation fall 2022 grants support 33 organizations with $1.1 million in funds

December 15, 2022

Fall 2022 grants from the Catherine Donnelly Foundation support 33 organizations offering innovative solutions in adult education, the environment and housing and homelessness.

This past year Canadians experienced cost-of-living shocks and increased housing insecurity that disproportionately impacted our most vulnerable community members, alarming signs of the precarious state of our climate and fresh vulnerabilities in our democratic practice.

Despite those disturbing trends there are visible expressions of new approaches, new coalitions, and renewed energy to tackle inclusive solutions. That’s why we are especially pleased to fund nearly three dozen bold initiatives in the areas of adult education, the environment and housing and homelessness during the fourth quarter of 2022.

In that period, the Catherine Donnelly Foundation granted $1,115,181 to innovators that are fearlessly working to create a more equitable and just society. Our efforts are intended to promote joint action and networking by helping organizations work together and build on one another’s strengths to pursue radical systems change.

A particular focus of Fall granting is giving voice to communities traditionally ignored in discussions related to policy and solutions for what most troubles our society.

In Saskatchewan, the National Famers Union’s Indigenous-Led Learning Circles for Relationship Building and Decolonization in Canadian Agriculture program aims to share Indigenous People’s experiences of racism and colonialism and build shared goals, values, and visions for a decolonized and ecologically-just food system. And in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, The Enrich Project is encouraging awareness and leadership in Black communities related to climate justice through their Building Capacity for Climate Change Preparedness initiative.

Grants were issued to organizations working in Atlantic and Central Canada, the Prairies, and the West Coast. Among the organizations supported is Inspiring Communities’ Changemakers program, a Nova Scotia-based initiative delivering connections, leadership skills and funding to equity-seeking residents to create new community programs. Black Lives Matter and Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism in Toronto, meanwhile, is offering mentorship and other supports for formerly incarcerated Black people through employment and volunteer opportunities in the Earthseed Community Garden program.

And in British Columbia, the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness is building a Greater Victoria Community Data Dashboard to enhance understanding of local homelessness issues and develop effective housing strategies and policies.

The work of these many organizations is a reminder of the urgent, creative, and collaborative response to individual and community need. Together, we are building a just and sustainable future.

Find a complete list of Fall 2022 grants below.

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation closed its Fall 2022 grant round at the end of August and will undertake our next round of grant reviews in early 2023. Organizations are invited to apply for the Adult Education and Housing streams with our next deadline on February 1, 2023. The Environment stream will be closed for unsolicited applications. For granting guidelines, please visit We are committed to reducing barriers to grant applications and willingly work with organizations to accept proposals if issues arise.

Adult Education • $270,000 to nine organizations

Afrique au Féminin • Parent Agent Multiplier • Montreal, QC • $30,000

The Parents Agents Multipliers (PAM) project engages and empowers newly arrived women in Montreal’s Parc-Extension neighbourhood by reducing isolation, connecting them with a peer network and developing leadership skills to address local need, such as childcare or access to services. This is a second grant to PAM, whose community-based approach also builds bridges between coexisting cultures.

Black Lives Matter (Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism) • Earthseed Community Garden • Toronto, ON • $20,000

This partnership offers mentorship and other supports for formerly incarcerated Black people through employment and volunteer opportunities in a community garden. Participants receive counselling to re-enter society as active citizens and organizers hope they can create an enhanced model to aid in the rehabilitation of other under-served groups.

Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity • Pride in Faith and Spirituality • Ottawa, ON • $20,000

The initiative will gather racialized, queer, and/or religious storytellers from across Canada to facilitate workshops that speak to their lived experience and relationship with religion, faith, spirituality, and queerness. Through these workshops and learning sessions, 100 adult leaders will learn tools to build allyship with equity-seeking 2SLGBTQ+ people in their communities.

Community Justice Collective* (JUR-ED Foundation) • Collective Defence for Communities • Toronto, ON • $40,000

A second grant to the Collective Defence for Communities program will sustain and expand the growing tenant union movement in Ontario by using collective defense methods to fight mass evictions and increase organized tenants’ capacity to fight for affordable housing. Funding supports work with immigrant and working-class communities in the Greater Toronto Area with the hope the model will expand across Ontario.

*A $50,00 grant jointly funded through Adult Education and Housing streams

Inspiring Communities • Changemakers • Halifax, NS • $40,000

This 12-month initiative delivers connections, funding, leadership skills and empowerment to equity-seeking residents to build local capacity, including the creation of new community programming. The program is designed with one-on-one coaching and anti-oppression education to reduce barriers to participation. This second grant will be used to expand the program to additional communities.

John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights • Amplifying Food Justice Work in the Prairies • Saskatoon, SK • $35,000

This program aims to build connections between agricultural landowners and community groups to cultivate and strengthen land-sharing opportunities. A series of provincial workshops, reports and a social media campaign will create bridges with policy makers, community leaders and agencies to share vision and common understandings around food access, availability, and dignity. An educational facilitation tool to support the difficult conversations around decolonization and food will be created.

Neighbour to Neighbour Centre • Advocacy and Community Care • Hamilton, ON • $20,000

This initiative will empower low-income community members through action training and advocacy work to break down systemic oppression and advance community care networks. Participatory sessions and activities will promote self-reflection, awareness, critical dialogue, encourage leadership and build mutual aid support networks.

Sovereign Seeds (SeedChange) • Community-Partnered Indigenous Seed Keeper Education Program$30,000

This initiative fulfills the many requests Sovereign Seeds has received to develop a culturally rooted Indigenous seed education program. Integrating spiritual, cultural, and justice-based approaches to food and cultural revitalization, the program will organize a seed collective and deliver online workshops, in-person courses and develop materials on topics including seed resistance history, seed keeping, soil health, food processing and preservation, and seed songs and dances.

WISH Drop-In Centre Society • Engaging Indigenous and Black women and gender-diverse street-based sex workers in participatory learning, research, and advocacy to improve the conditions of their work and lives • Vancouver, BC • $35,000

This initiative aims to strengthen engagement and leadership of women and gender-diverse street-based sex workers at WISH Drop-In Centre Society and in their external advocacy efforts. The project will prioritize the participation of Indigenous and Black participants and those with disabilities who are disproportionately represented in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Environment Committee • $469,600 to 14 organizations

Climate Caucus Council (Whistler Institute) • Tools to help Local Governments engage with Marginalized Populations on Climate Planning • Whistler, BC • $25,000

This climate planning project will develop a toolkit for local governments that identify the best engagement practices to reduce barriers for equity-seeking populations, including Canadian case studies demonstrating the effective application of these tools. Findings will be shared with interested parties and the Council will subsequently monitor uptake and effectiveness of these engagement practices.

Climate Emergency Unit (Small Change Fund) • Advancing Climate Emergency Policy in Canada • Salt Spring Island, BC • $40,000

The Climate Emergency Unit will work for new federal programs – a Youth Climate Corps and a Just Transition Transfer – to catalyze public support for a rapid transition while engaging youth in meaningful climate work such as restoring ecosystems, enhancing community resilience, and building new climate infrastructure.

Community Forests International • Common Ground: Engagement Organizing for New Forest Relationships Phase Two • Sackville, NB $20,000

The project will mobilize citizen climate action in the Maritime region by amplifying common ground in relationships among settlers and First Nations and by providing access to the emerging conservation economy. The continuation of a program previously funded by the Foundation, Phase Two will work directly for land-based reconciliation through partnerships with Indigenous Nations, organizations, and communities.

Environmental Justice Research Alliance (Small Change Fund) • The Environmental Justice Research Alliance • Toronto, ON • $30,000

The Research Alliance aims to provide research support to communities and movements directly impacted by climate and environmental injustice. Research will be conducted by front-line communities and movements disproportionately impacted by environmental harm to centre their voices in debates on policy and action.

How We Thrive (Blomidon Naturalists Society) • How We Thrive • Halifax, NS • $33,500

Funds will support the development of web-based educational course that supports the Nova Scotia/Mi’kma’ki climate movement and amplifies its grassroots learning, connection, and action. Course content will include Indigenous leadership and worldview, the science of climate impacts, and ways to get involved.

Union Nationale des Fermiers/National Farmers Union (NFU) Indigenous-Led Learning Circles for Relationship Building and Decolonization in Canadian Agriculture • Saskatoon, SK • $28,100

Initiated by a partnership of Indigenous and non-Indigenous NFU members, the Learning Circles project will offer Indigenous-led opportunities for learning and engagement as well as the sharing of their analysis and experiences of racism and colonialism in agriculture. Ultimately the impetus is to build shared goals, values, and visions for a de-colonized and ecologically-just food system.

Neighbours United (West Kootenay Environmental Centre Society) • Expanding deep engagement for a just transition in non-urban Canada • Nelson, BC • $30,000

This project will connect with energy-transition skeptics in small, rural communities to build support for just industries and livelihoods by undertaking ‘deep canvassing’, amplifying positive solutions and building support to transition industry to low-carbon energy solutions. The Foundation previously funded Just Transition in Heavy Industry-Based Rural Towns which this program builds upon.

Pembina Institute • Renewables in Remote Communities Program • Calgary, AB • $30,000

The RiRC program works to encourage remote and Indigenous communities in their pursuit of energy sovereignty and independence by 2050 through reconciliation, energy justice and equity. The initiative will support Indigenous nations and communities to develop clean energy projects aligned with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Network for Inclusive Circular Employment (MakeWay) • The Share Reuse Repair Initiative Vancouver, BC • $30,000 

This project will engage members of under-served communities to chronicle how circular economy practices like sharing, reuse and repair show up in their lives, build shared understanding of a Just Recovery and-create a strategy brief that uses their voices and stories to advocate for change. This is The Share Reuse Repair Initiative’s second grant from the Foundation. (Salal Foundation) • Developing an Equitable and Durable Approach to Just Transition Organizing • Vancouver, BC • $40,000

Organizers will develop a strategic plan for Salal and’s Just Transition collaboration that focuses on Networking – bringing fossil fuel workers and non-renewable energy workers into the national Just Transition tent – and a Build Out – strengthening existing cross-sectoral relationships between organized labour, climate organizations, and social movements to align around Just Transition demands and build collective power towards policy change.

The ENRICH Project (MakeWay Charitable Society) • Building Capacity for Climate Change Preparedness in Black Communities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area • Toronto, ON • $48,000

This project will build capacity in Black communities around climate change preparedness through consultation and workshops that will assess awareness of the social, economic, and health impacts of climate change as well as the resources and expertise within those populations. The initiative will subsequently offer leadership skills and a network of experts to develop climate change preparedness plans.

Toronto Environmental Alliance (Social Planning Toronto) • Community action to support bold climate solutions in Toronto • Toronto, ON • $35,000

To place community voices at the centre of city decision-making in public investments for climate solutions, TEA and their partners will collaborate with local community groups to develop and implement an alternative consultation model in four Toronto communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change.

West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation • Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water • Vancouver, BC • $50,000

Funding supports the RELAW project that provides co-learning opportunities and legal support to Indigenous Nations using their own laws to address environmental challenges facing their territories, and to help secure lasting environmental and cultural sustainability. Delivered by an Indigenous-led team, RELAW contributes to transforming the legal landscape in ways that are more sustainable, democratic, and just.

Youth Climate Corps (Wildsight Society) • Youth Climate Corps expansion project • Nelson, BC • $30,000

Youth Climate Corps (YCC) provides meaningful paid work and training to young people in community-led climate action projects that take place over four to six months. Based in British Columbia, funding will build capacity and partnership building to grow YCC’s BC footprint and expand into other provinces.

Housing • $375,581 to ten organizations

Community Living Brant • Brantford and Brant County: Community Built Solutions to Housing • Brantford, ON • $25,081

Community Living Brant will engage with stakeholders to encourage discussion and collaboration on a peer-support model for housing, while identifying one housing opportunity to develop with a social enterprise approach. Ultimately, a community summit will plan for the build of at least one dwelling.

Ecotrust Canada • Implementing an Indigenous Housing and Homelands Toolkit • Vancouver, BC • $25,000

Ecotrust has developed the Toolkit to support First Nations in developing sustainable, culturally appropriate housing, particularly within the context of declared Aboriginal title lands and modern treaty lands in British Columbia. Exploring solutions that are ‘outside the box’ of the colonial Indigenous housing system, this grant will implement and expand the toolkit by working directly with First Nations partners.

Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness • Greater Victoria Community Data Dashboard • Victoria, BC • $45,000

Funding will support the creation of a dashboard designed to enhance understanding of local homelessness issues by supporting data-driven decision-making, long-term planning, and policy advocacy. Baseline information on available and planned housing and individuals currently experiencing homelessness or precariously housed will be gathered and updated monthly to understand and identify gaps in the system and develop effective housing strategies and policies.

Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North Building Futures with the Georgian Bay Métis Community • Bracebridge, ON • $25,000

To better support Indigenous families residing in their homes, HHOGN will work with the Georgian Bay Métis Community to develop an Affordable Deferred Homeownership Program – a rent-to-own arrangement. Funding will support piloting the program to four new homes and four families in Muskoka.

Homes First Society • Re-villagizing our community: Indigenous-led supports in 24-hour supportive housing • Toronto, ON • $44,000 

Homes First Society, with cultural and spiritual leadership provided by Council Fire, will work to collectively “re-village” 84 units at 222 Spadina Ave, Toronto. Residents – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike – will be supported with knowledge, skills, and wisdom to help residents heal from traumatic disruptions and cultural wounds with monthly Medicine Workshops and weekly sessions for men and youth to help end violence against women.

Jubilee Fund • Fund Rent Guarantee Program – Long Term Implementation • Winnipeg, MB • $30,000

Jubilee’s Rent Guarantee Program provides financial security on rental agreements for at-risk women securing safe housing in the for-profit housing market. Currently piloting the initiative, Jubilee hope to expand demographics to include youth-coming-out-of-care, newcomers, and previously incarcerated community members.

Logifem • The Lotus Project: designing, implementing and evaluating tools and programs to promote residential stability for women exiting shelters • Montreal, QC • $35,000

Montreal-based organizations supporting women who experience housing instability aim to shift from an emergency-only response model to a sustainable systems housing approach. Project Lotus, Phase II continues work previously funded by the Foundation.

Madhu Verma Migrant Justice Centre (KAIROS) • Migrant Justice is Housing Justice • Fredericton, NB • $50,000

The project was initiated to address problems facing those who live with both precarious immigration status and housing. Migrant Justice is Housing Justice will conduct research on the root causes of the housing crisis, collaborate with newcomer and tenant organizations to amplify those challenges and create and share housing resources for migrant workers, refugee claimants and others with precarious status.

Community Justice Collective* (JUR-ED Foundation) • Collective Defence for Communities • Toronto, ON • $10,000

A second grant to the Collective Defence for Communities program to sustain and expand the growing tenant union movement in Ontario by using collective defense methods to fight mass evictions and increase organized tenants’ capacity to fight for affordable housing. Funding supports work with immigrant and working-class communities in the Greater Toronto Area with the hope the model will expand across Ontario.

*A $50,00 grant jointly funded through Adult Education and Housing streams

Canadian Housing Renewal Association • Housing Professionals Mentorship Program • Ottawa, ON • $86,500 over 2 years

Focused on the urgent need to train and mentor the “next generation” of non-profit/social housing professionals, the Housing Professionals Mentorship Program has received funding from the Foundation since 2017. One-on-one mentorship pairings, members’ website with webinars and learning supports, as well as in-person leadership and networking events are used to nurture participants.