October 26, 2020
NAFC announces the recipients of Round 1 of the Investment Readiness Program
The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is pleased to announce the following Round 1 Investment Readiness Program recipients:
- Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association, Alberta
- Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society, Smithers, British Columbia
- First Light St. John's Friendship Centre, St. John’s, Newfoundland
- Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre Association, Lac La Biche, Alberta
- Lillooet Friendship Centre Society, Lillooet, British Columbia
- Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre, Thompson, Manitoba
- Regroupement des centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec, Quebec
- Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Victoria, British Columbia
- Wachiay Friendship Centre Society, Courtenay, British Columbia
The NAFC is one of five Readiness Support Partners working to distribute funding to increase investment readiness with social purpose organizations (SPOs).
“The Investment Readiness Program gives the NAFC an opportunity to support Friendship Centres in developing and growing their social enterprises,” says Jocelyn Formsma, NAFC executive director. “We hope to not only achieve investment readiness, but also to help Friendship Centres build capacity, which in turn helps them to build community wealth while addressing community needs.”
“By providing capital in the form of non-repayable grants, we are ensuring that Friendship Centres do not have to take on the burden of debt while starting, growing or scaling their revenue generating enterprises,” continues Formsma.
“We greatly appreciate the opportunity given by the National Association of Friendship Centres to explore and develop a long term sustainable plan for our Centre for the benefit of all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people,” said Donna Webster, executive director of Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre Association.
For many Friendship Centres, this funding could not have come at a better time given the financial strain many have felt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are at the explore stage of our vision to create a social enterprise focused on fair-trade and authentic Indigenous arts and crafts,” explains Stewart Anderson, strategic advisor for the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. “The funding through the Investment Readiness Program will allow us to look at potential projects during these uncertain times, without having to risk our own financial resources, which we can fully allocate to community needs.”
For the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society, the funding will be used to create a business model for a commercial community kitchen at their hall and the creation of an Indigenous Culinary Arts Program and associated catering business.
The funding we were awarded will “ensure that we have sustainable access to food in times of crisis, and it will ensure that we can both provide access to food in our community while generating collective wealth,” stated Annette Morgan, executive director of Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society.
For others, this funding will be used to benefit Indigenous artists and “create incredible positive changes within our community,” said Michael Colclough, executive director of the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society.
The Wachiay Friendship Centre Society will use their funding to upgrade the equipment at the Wachiay Studio Inc. – an enterprise that promotes Indigenous art and culture by providing affordable printing services to Aboriginal artists.
“Our new screen-printing equipment will more than triple our current daily capacity to print textile merchandise and limited-edition art,” continued Colclough.
A few of the other projects that will be initiated with this funding include: a Boutique Inn, online stores for selling Indigenous crafts, and business plans for various social enterprise projects.
Recipients of Round 2 of the IRP will be announced shortly. To learn more about the IRP and to read a summary of all the prospective projects,, please visit the Investment Readiness Program page on the NAFC website.
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The NAFC represents over 100 local Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in every province and territory in Canada (except Prince Edward Island). Friendship Centres are urban Indigenous community hubs that provide a wide range of programs and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in urban, rural, and northern communities. Collectively, Friendship Centres are the largest and most comprehensive urban Indigenous service delivery network in Canada.