Summer 2017 Update

Posted: July 11th, 2017 at 03:07pm

Dear Friend,

In the advent of summer, we are building on a productive spring by revamping our granting programs, acting on our commitment to truth and reconciliation, and sharpening our public policy focus. Our work at the Foundation is more ambitious than ever, and there’s certainly no sign of slowing down these next few months.


Jessica Bolduc speaking to an engaged crowd at Laidlaw’s AGM in Foundation House

We began the season with the Annual General Meeting, featuring our keynote speaker, Jessica Bolduc of the 4Rs Youth Movement. Jessica spoke passionately and captured the attention of our attendees when she discussed the journey of healing through reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.

2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation. In the spirit of reconciliation and in order to give voices to alternative narratives and actions during this contentious year, we are currently offering a PopUp grant of up to $1000 to support projects and events created and/or co-created by young people to celebrate Indigenous resilience and resistance on this land. In collaboration with 4Rs Youth Movement, we will be supporting opportunities for learning, reflection and relationship building that strengthen community efforts to ensure the stories, experiences, and priorities of Indigenous voices are not drowned out by fireworks and festivities in this year of Canada’s 150th birthday.

We are also in the process of developing a long-term strategy to build stronger relationships with Indigenous communities and work towards reconciliation. Grounding our work in the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and following our pledge to the Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action, we’re seeking to take a fresh look at challenges and issues facing Indigenous youth and explore new possibilities for a cross-cultural dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. To this end, we are establishing an Indigenous Advisory Committee, which will consist of a dynamic group of young leaders and activists who self-identify as First Peoples and have experience in grassroots work. Advisors will play a pivotal role in shaping the Foundation’s engagement and funding strategy and challenge us to think about our work in new ways.

Public policy continues to be key to our work where we challenge systemic issues and barriers to youth success. In sharpening our public policy focus we welcomed Saeed Selvam as our new Policy Manager who will be hosting a workshop entitled Influencing Public Policy 101. The session will be an introduction to agenda setting, policy making and organizing effectively for systemic change and led by James Janeiro, Senior Policy Advisor at the Premier’s Office.

As part of our learning, we will be traveling across Ontario to understand the realities of the communities we work with and the impact of grants on the ground. On July 17, we will be participating in the Youth Empowerment ‘Pop-Up’ Process organized by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) to share funding opportunities with young people in Thunder Bay. We’ll also be joining one of our grantees, Teach for Canada, on July 18 in their Summer Enrichment Program, led by Indigenous leaders, northern teachers, and education experts. The program helps teachers to learn about the histories and cultures of northern First Nations communities to adopt culturally-relevant pedagogies, to visit a First Nations community, and to establish self-care practices.  Following this, we will be visiting the Toronto South Detention Centre, hosted by our grantee Amadeusz, to see firsthand the importance of providing educational supports for young people in adult custody facilities. These site visits will culminate in the Laidlaw Learning Forum in October where we will showcase stories about our grantees from the last three years. More details will follow.

Smiles all around at our Youth-led Community Change Program grantee orientation at Foundation House.

In it’s fourth year, the Youth-led Community Change Program continues to support young people to take action on issues challenging their communities. We invite you to take a closer look at the work the 2017 grantees will be undertaking in areas such as food sovereignty, police-community relations, and reconciliation.

Last but not least, we will be strengthening the Youth CI program with our partners at the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s Innoweave initiative and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Youth CI will be shifting gears in the coming months to offer more support to groups of organizations interested in creating meaningful change for youth by expanding learning and funding opportunities.

From all of us, we wish you a happy summer.

Kind regards,
The Laidlaw Team

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