January 10, 2022

Fall 2021 grants support 27 organizations

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January 10, 2022


This past year has reinforced our recognition that the pandemic disproportionately impacts those already marginalized and that economic inequity and social injustice continue to worsen. Our awareness of the work of Canadian organizations working to alleviate those wrongs also offers confidence there are solutions for what ails our world.

That’s why we were particularly pleased to fund 27 initiatives in the areas of housing, the environment and adult education for social change in the final quarter of 2021. During that period, the Catherine Donnelly Foundation granted $817,783 to innovators that chose hope over despair and are boldly working to create a more equitable and just society.

Among the organizations funded is Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario to assist Black, Indigenous and other farmers of Colour through farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing and the launch of a coalition to improve land access for BIPOC farmers.

The pandemic has encouraged the Foundation to be more intentional about collaborating with Black communities and communities of Colour and in 2022 we will be making targeted capacity building grants to BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving organizations.

Prioritizing climate justice mobilizations that focus on communities and voices traditionally excluded from the work of building a new low-carbon economy led us to support the work of Environmental Youth Alliance. The Vancouver-focused Nature Stewards program will create a pathway to green jobs for youth who face barriers to working in the environmental sector, including Indigenous, racialized and low-income individuals. Discussion of western ecology and Indigenous knowledge will contribute to career development in areas including land stewardship, native plant horticulture and restoration and Indigenous food and medicine.

Also in British Columbia, Solid State Community Society’s Climate Justice in Surrey program will support young, racialized women to create a co-op with local organizations and small businesses who are building climate-friendly policies and projects.

Our ongoing support for Indigenous climate solutions includes funding for Gidimt’en Checkpoint to collaborate with finance and climate campaigns to pressure investors to divest from pipeline projects in Western Canada as well as a grant to the David Suzuki Foundation that will help create a map for boreal caribou habitat restoration that incorporates Indigenous knowledge. Ultimately, the Western and Indigenous Knowledge project could heal degraded landscapes and provide green jobs in Indigenous communities.

Helping create sustainable and affordable housing solutions for all Canadian residents and addressing the systemic causes of a lack of housing access is an important theme among recent Housing grants. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Choices for Youth received funding for rehousing and shelter diversion for young people, including those in small rural communities, while Ontario’s Catholic Crosscultural Services was aided to encourage inclusionary zoning legislation as a remedy for the lack of affordable and supportive housing for immigrants, refugees, youth, and those experiencing chronic homelessness. In British Columbia, Victoria Native Friendship Centre was funded for their efforts to build transitional housing for youth aging out of government care.

In our Adult Education funding stream, initiatives in Manitoba and Nova Scotia focus on bridging divisions in society and healing ongoing trauma. A grant to Winnipeg’s Clan Mothers Healing Village will fund strategic planning, educational programming and social enterprise development at an emerging facility founded to help women who are victims of multi-generational trauma, sexual violence, and sexual exploitation. Tatamagouche’s Reducing Racism and Divisiveness in the Maritimes initiative, meanwhile, aims to reduce racism and divisiveness through organizational restructuring and education focused on systemic oppression and transformative learning.

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 2021 grants below.

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation opened its Spring 2022 grant round at the end of December 2021, with a deadline for letters of interest of Thursday, February 3rd, 2022 at midnight. Organizations are invited to apply for the Adult Education and Housing streams. 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.


Clan Mothers Healing Village I Clan Mother Education & Training Program Development I Winnipeg, MB I $40,000
Clan Mothers Healing Village aims to provide support to women who have been victims of multi-generational trauma, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, and human trafficking. Funding will help in the development of a strategic plan, hire and train staff for educational programming and social enterprise development, and support fundraising.

Institute for Change Leaders I Empowering African LGBTIQ+ Refugees in Ontario for Transformative Change I Toronto, ON I $24,587
The project will develop capacity and leadership to help create an African LGBTIQ+ refugee movement in Ontario. Advocacy efforts will continue by using this movement to confront systemic racism and discrimination and improve economic prospects through ongoing programming.

FCJ Refugee Centre I Safety Through Solidarity I Toronto, ON I $20,000
Peer-led learning sessions will empower racialized refugee and precarious migrant women by identifying systems of oppression and strengthen individual and collective resilience. Safety Through Solidarity will also outline and develop strategies to overcome systemic exploitation.

MakeWay (The Existence Project) I Back to the Body I Victoria, BC I $25,000
Back to the Body is a workshop using art to educate and teach women with lived and living experience of homelessness how to interpret their stories and learn to use tools to better manage their lives and build community with one another. The workshop collaborates with downtown service providers to offer supports.

MakeWay (The Northern Birthwork Collective) I Indigenous Birthworker Training I Yellowknife, NWT I $50,000
Funding supports an Indigenous birthwork training and support program to build capacity in northern communities through community forums and consultation as well as forming a Knowledge Keepers/Elders Advisory Committee. The initiative will subsequently develop materials and pilot and launch the program across the NWT.

Memorial University of Newfoundland I Relationships First Restorative Justice Education I St. John’s, NL I $25,000
This project will plan and deliver a Family Violence Project, Student Residence Relational Living Project, and Decolonizing through Indigenous Consultation and Partnerships. Participants will embrace decolonizing non-Indigenous principles, practices of restorative justice and build capacity for Talking Circle pedagogy.

Tatamagouche (Atlantic Christian Training Centre) I Reducing Racism and Divisiveness in the Maritimes I Tatamagouche, NS I $30,000
This initiative aims to reduce racism, divisiveness and systemic oppression at the Tatamagouche Centre and among Its programs. Project plans include an institutional and program audit using an anti-racism/anti-oppression lens, hiring BIPOC coordinators as well as programming focused on multi-faith decolonizing.

Watercourse Theatre I Living below the Line I Kitchener, ON I $20,778
Living Below the Line is a community-engaged theatre project for Waterloo Region residents marginalized by poverty. Diverse, multigenerational individuals will collaborate with theatre artists to co-create and present a work about their life experiences. The project will culminate in seven planned community presentations.


Amnesty International – Canada I Energy Transition & Powering Change I Toronto, ON I $20,000
This campaign will generate educational materials, communications tools, videos and a comic book to highlight human rights abuses and environmental harm related to the production of rechargeable batteries. Canada-specific content will also promote sustainable energy and resource solutions that promote and safeguard human rights.

David Suzuki Foundation I Prioritizing areas for boreal caribou habitat restoration based on Western and Indigenous knowledge I Vancouver, BC I $23,000
Funding supports the development of a national priority map for boreal caribou habitat restoration that incorporates Indigenous knowledge. Project staff will host workshops with Indigenous knowledge holders and map their oral contributions. Future Restoration initiatives could offer green jobs away from extractive occupations and heal degraded landscapes.

Ecojustice Canada Society I Accelerating the Transition to a Just, Equitable, Low-Carbon Future in Canada I Toronto, ON I $50,000
Foundation support will continue to aid a youth-led climate lawsuit, efforts to secure the right to a healthy environment through CEPA reform, and a new climate finance strategy.

Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (EFAO) I Supporting Black, Indigenous and other Farmers of Colour through Farmer-to-Farmer Knowledge Sharing, Training and Land Access I Guelph, ON I $37,030
This project seeks action on suggestions provided by EFAO’s BIPOC Farmer Network by supporting Black, Indigenous and other farmers of colour through farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing and community building as well as by launching a coalition of stakeholders to address land access for BIPOC farmers.

Ecology Action Centre I Green Jobs For All I Halifax, NS I $18,750
Youth from immigrant and newcomer communities will be mobilized to engage in conversations related to green jobs. Conversations will highlight barriers and ask the needs of those youth be reflected while we build a sustainable and inclusive economy.

Environmental Youth Alliance I Nature Stewards: Creating a Green Jobs Pathway for Youth Facing Barriers to Equity I Vancouver, BC I $20,000
Provides land-based job skills training designed to build an equitable and just green economy. Funding will assist in the use of a trauma-informed approach to engage youth traditionally excluded from environmental work. Areas of focus include ‘braiding’ Western ecology with Indigenous knowledge and developing skills in land stewardship.

Salal Foundation (Gidimt’en Checkpoint) I Indigenous Climate Finance Campaign I Victoria, BC I $25,000
Funding for this initiative will build capacity for an Indigenous Climate Finance Campaign by helping launch a public campaign focused on educating current project investors, developing investment briefs for partners and allies and building a clear, strong media web presence with creative storytelling.

Simon Fraser University – Surrey Community Engagement (Solid State Community Society) I Climate Justice in Surrey, BC I Surrey, BC I $31,000
This initiative will build a new Solid State co-op of racialized young women from Surrey to design and develop initiatives and programs that support local organizations and small businesses. One major initiative will become the cohort’s signature effort.

Halton Region Conservation Foundation I Green Space: Newcomer Youth Climate Forum I Burlington, ON I $25,000
Over thirty youth from newcomer and racialized communities will participate in workshops during the school year. Participants will explore climate science and green careers and form a Youth Council to co-design programming and lead activities.

Women’s Centre of Calgary I Grassroots Women and Climate Change Initiative I Calgary, AB I $20,000
Funding for this project will bring women from diverse backgrounds together to learn about and act on issues related to climate change. Community workshops, conversations, and action groups will be organized by a volunteer group of women engaged in local environmental issues.

Environment Funders Canada – Low Carbon Funders Group | Toronto, ON | $20,000
Funding is to support the Low Carbon Funders Group – a funder collaborative through which a number of Canadian environmental funders support ten major environmental organizations in a coordinated and strategic effort to push for a low-carbon future in Canada through federal policy.


A Way Home Canada I Indigenous Trainer I Toronto, ON I $50,000
The Foundation’s relationship with A Way Home continues with assistance to build additional capacity in the homelessness and allied sectors to serve Indigenous youth in culturally appropriate and supportive ways. Funding allows the Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab to create a full-time Indigenous trainer position.

BC Society of Transition Houses I A Women-Centered Tool for Flexible Space and Suitable Homes I Vancouver, BC I $36,846
This project aims to improve accessibility of appropriate long-term affordable housing for low-income women and their children leaving violent situations. Using a systems-based approach, housing sector stakeholders and people with lived expertise will develop a useable toolkit while examining housing design solutions and strategies.

Catholic Crosscultural Services I The Gathering Place I Scarborough, ON I $40,000
By encouraging innovative private-public partnerships, the Gathering Place collaborative working group will work to implement inclusionary zoning legislation to remedy the lack of affordable and supportive housing in Scarborough for immigrants, refugees, youth, and those experiencing chronic homelessness.

Choices for Youth I Soft landing: Rapid rehousing and shelter diversion for youth in across Newfoundland & Labrador I St. John’s, NL I $30,000
This project will research and promote best practices to implement and sustain ‘housing first’ rapid rehousing and shelter diversion across Newfoundland. Funding will also aid the work of defining homelessness and housing precarity within very small rural communities and identifying innovative and replicable solutions to address it.

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto I Culturally Responsive Study to Address Aboriginal Homelessness in Toronto I Toronto, ON I $40,792
Funds support a study into the systemic and social barriers to accessing culturally informed affordable housing and housing supports among the Aboriginal population in Toronto. Includes outreach, data collection, and sharing findings with partners.

Toronto Hostels Training Centre (Toronto Shelter Network) I Meeting Crisis with Opportunity I Toronto, ON I $40,000
This project aims to develop and test strategies for converting shelters to supportive and transitional housing programs enabling homeless populations to live in safe, secure and appropriate housing. A particular focus is on the chronically homeless and those least-well served by existing services.

United Way of Saskatchewan and Area (Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service) I Journey Home I Saskatoon, SK I $25,000
Aiming to deliver immediate access to adequate and affordable long-term housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness. This initiative will collaborate using a harm-reduction lens to address unmet physical and mental health issues as well as financial, social, and spiritual needs.

Victoria Native Friendship Centre I Raven House I Victoria, BC I $25,000
The Victoria Native Friendship Centre will work with a property owner to purchase land to build Raven House – a six-story building with 60 micro-suites to house youth aging out of government care. Funding supports consultant costs related to the project.