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February 2021

Indigenous Spirit Fund (ISF) launches to support healthy outcomes for urban Indigenous Youth

(Toronto, Ont., February 11, 2021) – The Indigenous Spirit Fund (ISF), which launched virtually on February 11, 2021, is changing the narrative of Reconciliation through philanthropy by Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST). This new fund will deliver long-overdue financial support for Indigenous youth and children, proving that successful decolonization can happen through philanthropy.

ISF is led by Indigenous people with expertise in child and family welfare, Indigenous cultures, and governance. Andrew Wesley, Cree Elder, explains that the fund’s vision is to create, “a world where all Indigenous children, youth and their families experience purpose, peace, joy, and love.”

ISF will create opportunities for Canada’s private, philanthropic, and charitable sectors to build new relationships with Indigenous families, and the organizations that serve them, in order to create healthy outcomes for Indigenous children and youth. It will help deliver much-needed support to some of Toronto’s most vulnerable children and families through community-driven and culture-based services, including summer culture camps, employment and education programs, and arts and entrepreneurship programs.

“The Indigenous Spirit fund, at its highest level, is here to give the philanthropic community an opportunity to actively participate in reconciliation,” said Kenn Richard, ISF Director. “All funding goes directly to Indigenous children and their families who need supports, sometimes, just to survive.”

In the spirit of reconciliation, the charitable and philanthropic sector can create a difference today by investing in the Indigenous Spirit Fund to help give youth a chance to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Make a donation

November 2020

NCFST is seeking individuals from Aboriginal, Afro-Indigenous and Black communities in Toronto to sit on our Board of Directors.

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) is the largest multi-service urban Aboriginal agency with a child welfare mandate in Canada. Our circle includes more than 300 staff working across 18 locations who deliver more than 100 programs and services to 7,000 unique individuals annually. The agency was developed by the community for the community to address the intergenerational legacy of residential schooling and mainstream child welfare. NCFST works with all levels of government to decolonize services and promote health, wellness, and prosperity for Aboriginal children, youth, and families across the City of Toronto.

It is a particularly interesting time to join the circle at NCFST. Aboriginal peoples represent the youngest, fastest-growing, and most diverse population in Canada. Ontario’s process of child welfare modernization, the federal transformation of Aboriginal child welfare through Bill C-92, and the push by all governments and major institutions to address systemic racism create a dynamic context for the growth and innovation ahead.

We are currently seeking individuals from Aboriginal, Afro-Indigenous, and Black communities in Toronto to sit on our Board of Directors. This is a special call for members to join mid-year. New members are expected to serve until our AGM in June 2021 and for at least one additional board year (until June 2022). Board members are required to attend 10 monthly board meetings (the board does not meet in July or August), and to also join and participate in one of our board committees. Board members may be required to contribute to strategic planning and related governance activities. Executive Committee members are expected to meet more often.

For individuals who are invested in the well-being of Aboriginal children in Toronto, this is an opportunity to get involved in a dynamic and multifaceted organization that has accepted a sacred responsibility for the next generation.

For current board vacancies we are particularly interested in candidates with one or more of the below qualifications or lived experiences:

  • 5 years or more experience serving on non-profit boards;
  • Indigenous AND Black ancestry/lived experience (as this diversity is not currently represented on our board);
  • Demonstrated history of success with philanthropy and securing private donations;
  • CPA designation

Prospective candidates must either live and/or work in the City of Toronto. Qualified individuals are invited to submit a letter of interest along with a current resume to [email protected]. We will be accepting nominations until positions are filled. We thank you for your interest, however, only those applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

Miigwetch,
Jeffrey Schiffer, PhD
Executive Director

October 2020

NCFST and TPS Community Consultations

Race-Based Data Collection: Analyses and Reporting in the Toronto Police Service

WHAT:
Voice your thoughts about racism in policing. Share your stories and receive a generous honorarium and medicines.

WHY:
Representatives of the TPS will be present to share their plans to collect, protect and use race-based data to address systemic racism. Your feedback will help police comply with Ontario’s Anti-Racism Act in a good way.

HOW:
These sessions will be co-facilitated by an Elder, a Clinical Worker, and a Quality Assurance and Decolonization analyst via Zoom. Participation is limited to a maximum of eight participants per session.

Register Here: https://bit.ly/3nQQVtw

WHO:
Anyone who identifies as First Nations, Métis, or Inuit ages 18 and older.

WHERE:
Links to Zoom will be sent out to each participant once registration is confirmed and the consent form returned.

WHEN:
October 13 from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
October 16 from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
October 27 from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
October 30 from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
November 03 from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

NEW DATE ADDED: November 13 from 1:00PM – 4:00PM

For more information, or to register call Judith at 416-969-8510 ext 3709 or email [email protected].

September 2020

CHI MIIGWETCH: COMMUNITY GIVEAWAY DAY!

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 26, 12PM TO 3PM

While we may not be able to drum and dance together this year, we can still feast!  Visit us at 30 College, SCFLC, the NYRC, or the Malvern Hub to pick up an NDN Taco Take Away kit, and awesome swag like orange masks (just in time for Orange Shirt Day), white buffalo sage, and cold & flu tea.

12pm FACEBOOK LIVE – our virtual Grand Entry!  Tune in to listen to Big Train open the day with an honor song, and a Community Message from Dr. Jeffrey Schiffer

For details about what’s happening at each site (or to volunteer!) please connect with:

30 College:  Kayla Vesterfelt [email protected]

NYRC:  Alexandra McMinniman [email protected]

SCFLC:  Andrea Hayward  [email protected]

Malvern:  Shannon Wooler  [email protected]

Thank you to all.  Please share widely with staff, community, families and friends.  These events are open to everyone.

Chi Miigwetch,
The Culture Team

NCFST Mental Health Survey

NCFST has been operating as a family support agency in Toronto for over 30 years. With recent events in mind, we would like to know more about the community’s experience with the Toronto Police. This survey is only the first step in a multi-step planned community consultation process and will help us shape the rest of our strategy to obtain even more feedback from you.

First, please help us understand what is happening for you in the communities we serve. Please take our brief survey, it should take no more than 3 minutes:

Take Survey Here

July 2020

MLSE Foundation Community Action Grant

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) is extremely grateful to be a recipient of a 2020 Community Action Grant from MLSE Foundation. Launched in December 2009, MLSE Foundation has a vision of changing lives through the spirit and power of sport. Through their generous support, NCFST will be providing Aboriginal youth aged 16-29 with barrier-free access to a culturally-safe physical literacy program that combines sports, peer engagement, mental health workshops, elder supports and cultural teachings.

To learn more about MLSE Foundation and their exceptional community impact, please visit https://www.mlsefoundation.org/.

2019-2020 Annual Report

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto is pleased to release our 2019-2020 Annual Report. We would like to express our deep gratitude to our partners, funders, and community members for supporting us through another year of transition, growth, and development. Thanks to their valuable participation, we have continued to increase our resources available for Holistic Services. This increased funding in Holistic Services has enabled us to launch Ontario’s first urban healing lodge for Aboriginal women and their children, to open a new Healing and Prevention Centre, and to complete the design and begin construction of two new multi-service Aboriginal Child and Family Centres.

In addition to our Annual Report, we have also released our Audited Financial Statements for 2019-2020.

This year’s Annual Report and Financial Statements, as well as previous Annual Reports and Financial Statements, are also available on our Policies and Publications page.

June 2020

National Indigenous Peoples Day

June is National Indigenous History Month. This is a time to reflect upon and learn the history, sacrifices, cultures, contributions, and strength of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. In addition, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, which is a time for gatherings and celebration. As we all know, this year things will be different across Canada which will involve celebrating in our own unique way. Large gatherings may not be possible, but celebration of our culture can and must continue in ways that are close to our heart and loved ones. It is important that we celebrate this day because Canadian history has not always celebrated and respected Indigenous peoples, our culture and our ceremonial practices, as well as who we are as Indigenous people. The efforts of reconciliation look promising, but we are still in the early days.

Reconciliation was top of mind when Dr. Jeffrey Schiffer, our Executive Director, had the privilege of interviewing Mayor John Tory via Zoom, where they discussed reconciliation and Indigenous innovation in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery in the City of Toronto. We were privileged to learn more about Mayor Tory’s personal journey of reconciliation, commitment to Indigenous self-determination and sustainability of Indigenous innovation. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto is deeply grateful to Mayor Tory for taking the time to speak with us.

Watch the full interview below:

City of Toronto COVID-19 Mental Health Support Strategy

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto has partnered with the City of Toronto and other community organizations to develop a Mental Health Support Strategy (MHSS) that responds to the needs of diverse Toronto residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can learn more about the MHSS in the City’s full statement.

For more information on partner organizations and City of Toronto initiatives, visit the social media links listed below:

Social Media Links

Partners Facebooks
https://www.facebook.com/211Central/
https://www.facebook.com/progressplaceclubhouse/
Gerstein:
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009165484071
https://www.facebook.com/KidsHelpPhone/
https://www.facebook.com/acrossboundariesmentalhealth/
https://www.facebook.com/nativechildandfamily/
https://www.facebook.com/CAFCAN-1945845209056475
https://www.facebook.com/WoodGreenDotOrg
https://www.facebook.com/ONPsych/
https://www.facebook.com/HongFookMentalHealthAssociation/
https://www.facebook.com/FamilyServiceToronto/

City Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/torontopublichealth/
https://www.facebook.com/cityofto/
https://www.facebook.com/TorontoTYES/

Partners Twitter

@211Central
@Progress_Place
@gersteincrisis
@KidsHelpPhone
@AB_MentalHealth
@NCFST
@CanadianAfrican
@WoodGreenDotOrg
@ONPsych
@HFMentalHealth
@FamilyServiceTO

City Twitter
https://twitter.com/toyouthcabinet?lang=en
https://twitter.com/TOPublicHealth
https://twitter.com/torontotyes?lang=en
https://twitter.com/CABR_Toronto
https://twitter.com/SafeCity_TO
https://twitter.com/cityoftoronto

Partners Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/kidshelpphone/?hl=en
https://www.instagram.com/abmentalhealth/?hl=en
https://www.instagram.com/progressplaceclubhouse/?hl=en
https://www.instagram.com/nativechildoftoronto/?hl=en
https://www.instagram.com/hongfookmha/
https://www.instagram.com/familyservicetoronto/?hl=en

City Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/youth.toronto/?hl=en
https://www.instagram.com/torontotyes/?hl=en

NCFST Expresses Solidarity with the Black Community

There is a deep history of collaboration and support between Black and Indigenous communities and movements.  Some of this is due to a complex and interrelated shared history.  The Nations of Canada, the United States and Mexico were born out of processes of colonization and slavery that seeded systemic racism that remains deeply rooted today.  We have all been living in a pandemic of racism for centuries, and the cost has been millions of Black lives.  Events over recent weeks have resulted in massive protests in every American state, and in dozens of other countries across the world.  Black communities and their allies have had enough of state sponsored racism, structural violence and police brutality. Black Lives Matter.  While much of the focus has been on the United States, we must also recognize the historical depth and contemporary impacts of anti-Black racism in Canada.  Toronto, in particular, has a long and complex history that has seen members of the Black community disproportionately impacted by police violence.  There are no words to describe the sadness we feel as this trend continues today.

At Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) we acknowledge that this is an unimaginably challenging time for Black members of the community.  Many of our staff, partners, and the community members we serve are Black.  We are unequivocal in our assertion that Black Lives Matter.  We also recognize that statements of this sort are meaningless without corresponding action.  We are committed to providing an inclusive environment at NCFST, where there is zero tolerance to racism and discrimination.  We are also committed to engaging further with Black communities and organizations in the City of Toronto to better understand our role as an ally in opposition to structural violence, police brutality and anti-Black racism in our City.

NCFST stands in solidarity with Black members of our staff, partners and community.

#BlackLivesMatter

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