March 10, 2021
PRESS RELEASE: The NAFC announces the Investment Readiness Program Round 2 Recipients
MARCH 10, 2021
The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is pleased to announce the recipients of Round 2 of the Investment Readiness Program (IRP):
- Aboriginal Friendship Centres of Saskatchewan (AFCS), Saskatchewan
- Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre, Inc., Flin Flon, Manitoba
- People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre, Stephenville, Newfoundland
- Red Deer Native Friendship Society, Red Deer, Alberta
- The Pas Friendship Centre Inc., The Pas, Manitoba
- Under One Sky - Monoqonuwicik-Neoteetjg Mosigisg Inc., Fredericton, New Brunswick
- Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society, Vancouver, British Columbia
- Centre d’amitié autochtone de Val d’or, Val-d'Or, Quebec
The NAFC is one of five Readiness Support Partners working to distribute funding to increase investment readiness with social purpose organizations. The IRP, through the five funding partners, will distribute $50 million to social purpose organizations to help build their capacity to participate in Canada’s growing social finance market. As a Readiness Support Partner, the NAFC is administering over $2 million in funding from the Government of Canada that will be made available as non-repayable capital to Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations.
Four Friendship Centres will be using their IRP funding to expand their existing successful social enterprises. The Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre owns and operates three enterprises and will use IRP funds to explore growth opportunities for the Wihkipow Restaurant, Kokoms Corner Gift Shop and Granny's Place (an overnight stay enterprise). The Vancouver Friendship Centre is expanding their increasingly popular Klatawa Bike Shop to include a mobile bike clinic, which will provide repairs, bicycle tune-up stations, and education programs.
The Under One Sky - Monoqonuwicik-Neoteetjg Mosigisg Inc. will be using their funds to expand the Indigenous Cultural Diversity Training program, an education-based enterprise that is made available to healthcare providers, educational institutes, local businesses, and municipal agencies for the purposes of Indigenous directed cultural diversity training. The Centre d'amitié autochtone de Val-d'Or (CAAVD) will be using their funding to assist in the growth and expansion of their CAAVD hotel service, identified as a standout large scale project, which works closely with local First Nations in providing temporary lodging to individuals accessing health care services in Val-d’Or
Expansion plans are also on the horizon for the People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre, who will be using the IRP funding to explore a redesign and upgrade to the commercial complex that they manage, with the hopes of increasing revenues for the centre itself.
“With IRP funding, we were able to partner with the College of the North Atlantic to contract an architectural student and a certified architect to help conceptualize potential changes and upgrades,” said Patrick Park-Tighe executive director of the People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre. Regarding the significance of the IRP, Patrick had this to say, “The impact-- now and going forward—of IRP funding on our social enterprise is real. This support will help guarantee the sustainability of our enterprise but also help enter us into a largely unexplored sector of the economy that has too often left Indigenous businesses and employees behind”.
Other Friendship Centres have opted to use the IRP funding to pursue hospitality endeavors. The Red Deer Native Friendship Society would like to develop an innovative Ghost Tour tourism attraction, where they plan to weave in local Indigenous history about Red Deer throughout the ghost tour. The Pas Friendship Centre Inc. will be using their funds to develop a landmark Indigenous Artist Emporium where Indigenous artists will be able to display and sell their artwork to the thousands of tourists that visit the area every summer.
Furthering the Honouring Her Spark: A Saskatchewan Indigenous Women’s Economic Framework, the AFCS will be using their funding to assist Friendship Centres in Saskatchewan in formalizing and further developing Indigenous Women’s Coalitions, which will seek to connect women entrepreneurs with local Friendship Centres in the development of social enterprises that support both the centres and the local community.
The third call for IRP applications opened on November 9, 2020 and closed on November 23, 2020. The NAFC received a total of nine applications for a total amount of roughly $700,000. The NAFC is in the process of reviewing and selecting projects for the final round and will announce recipients in the following weeks.
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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.