Indigenous-led grant to support local Nations and Indigenous organizations

The Indigenous Granting Advisory Pilot is an Indigenous-led granting initiative begun in late 2022. The Advisory guides the development of this Indigenous granting process, completes application reviews, and makes granting recommendations for the Indigenous Priorities Fund. The purpose of this Fund is to support social, cultural, and legal infrastructure for Indigenous communities in the capital region.

The Advisory is made up of Indigenous people living in the capital region. Their main objectives for this grant call are to 1) develop a granting approach that better reflects Indigenous values and priorities, and 2) to review applications and make granting recommendations to the Victoria Foundation’s Board of Directors.

This collaboration builds on the Victoria Foundation’s ongoing relationship with Indigenous communities and on the recommendations of the Foundation’s Reconciliation Task Group.

Eagle Carving by Carey Newman and gifted to the Victoria Foundation.

Indigenous Granting Advisory Guiding Values


  • Good mind and good heart.

  • Work and collaborate in a good way.

  • Rethink ways of doing, especially around granting.

  • Walk and learn with humility.

  • Be reflective.

  • Be proactive and responsive.

$506,000 granted to 17 local Nations and Indigenous organizations

Four local Nations and 13 other applicants have received funding to support social, cultural, and legal infrastructure for Indigenous communities in the capital region.

The original amount of funding available was $300,000, but additional funding was secured from year-end donors wanting to support the pilot’s goals. Funding from the Vibrant & Caring Community Action Fund, Food Security Community Action Fund, and donor advised funds resulted in a total of $506,000 available to grant.

Thank you to all who applied. Applications are now closed. Applications were received from November 1 to November 30, 2023. Funding was distributed in March 2024. 

Grant Recipients

Grantee Organization Name Description of Project  Grant Amount 
Esquimalt Nation Hire an employment/education navigator to support Nation members in attaining their personal, educational and employment goals. $38,598.00 
Songhees Nation Purchase traditional cedar canoes to for Nation transportation and cultural activities. $38,598.00
Sc’ianew (Beecher Bay) First Nation Renovate and repair the Nation’s Big House for community events and gatherings. $38,598.00 
Tsawout First Nation Purchase a van to support Nation members needing transportation support for appointments, cultural events and programs, and accessing community services, including food delivery to members in need. $38,598.00 
Mayne Island Conservancy Society + WSÁNEĆ Leadership Council (with
Tsartlip Nation engagement and support)
Control the destructive fallow (non-indigenous) deer population with Tsartlip hunters following Indigenous hunting practices and ceremony on SḴŦAḴ /Mayne Island and restoring ecological balance and providing food for Nation’s food security programs.  $38,598.00 
Victoria Sexual Assault Centre + Surrounded by Cedar, Aunty Collective and nation participation including WSÁNEĆ, Songhees, Tsartlip, Sc’ianew (Beecher Bay), Tsawout through Elders and representatives Maintain and continue the collaborative work of the Indigenous Response Network who work together to develop culturally appropriate care and support initiatives for Indigenous people in the region facing gender-based violence. $50,000.00 
University of Victoria + Songhees Nation  Expand UVic Centre for Outreach Education (CORE) tutoring services to 4 to 5 days a week with 4-5 tutors each day at the request of Songhees Nation After School Care program to meet significant increase in demand. $50,000.00 
BC Amateur Sport Fund (applying for WSÁNEĆ School Board and BC Ultimate) Expand successful Ultimate Spirit programming with local Indigenous youth attending WSÁNEĆ Secondary School to build leadership, physical health, and mentorship opportunities. $48,510.00 
Peers Victoria Resources Society / QomQem Coastal Connections  Maintain cultural programming and expand cultural services for folks living unhoused, precariously housed or using substances in Lekwungen territories. Includes training for peer workers. $25,000.00 
Michif Language Revitalization Circle Society Métis participants are connected with a community of Michif Language Learners to speak Michif regularly through both in-person and digital programs. $25,000.00 
Stqeeye’ Learning Society Hire communications/site coordinator to support the organization with multi-pronged work (traditional land-based education, curriculum development, restoration and food sovereignty, and infrastructure). $25,000.00 
Oasis Society for the Spiritual Health of Victoria Support for paying a staff member and the purchase of capital equipment to enhance the delivery of culturally resonate Integrated Recovery and Holistic Healing program for those living unhoused and/or in poverty in downtown region. $25,000.00
Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Services Society Renovate already existing space to provide a gathering place for urban Indigenous youth to practice culture, learn to cook with traditional foods, and have a place to gather as a community with support staff and mentorship. $25,000.00 
Island Métis Family & Community Services Society Community kitchen program empowers Métis youth, fosters resilience, and provides peer community gathering space to share meals, by educating them on health, nutrition and traditional diet including cooking and knife skills training for which they receive a certificate to aid in securing work in hospitality sector. $20,000.00
The Literacy Circle Society + Victoria Native Friendship Centre Provides a safe and respectful space for literacy learning for Indigenous elders and adults, residential and day school survivors and intergenerational survivors. New pilot in Victoria based on successful program in Nanaimo. $10,000.00 
Take a Hike Youth Mental Health Foundation Project addresses the need for well-being, belonging and connectedness among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. Provides opportunities for Indigenous youth participants to connect with the culture and community of local nations, while offering non-Indigenous youth opportunities to learn from Indigenous leaders and build connection to place. $6,500.00
Bike Victoria Society Partner with the Songhees Wellness Centre to develop and deliver custom bike education courses for Songhees youth to address the barriers they face to cycling. $3,000.00


Application Guidelines

Download the Indigenous Priorities Fund application guidelines here and in the tabs below.

  • Overview

    The Indigenous Priorities Fund along with the Indigenous Granting Advisory is a new pilot collaboration between Victoria Foundation and Indigenous people living within the South Island region. This collaboration builds on the Victoria Foundation’s continuing relationship with Indigenous communities, and the recommendation of the Foundation’s Reconciliation Task Group.

    The Indigenous Priorities Fund currently has $300,000 available for granting this fall. The purpose of this Fund, as defined by the Indigenous Granting Advisory, is to support thriving social, cultural, and legal infrastructure for Indigenous communities in the capital region.

    The Indigenous Granting Advisory is made up of Indigenous people living in the capital region. It was formed to develop a granting approach that better reflects Indigenous values and priorities. The Advisory is also the lead on reviewing and making decisions on requests for funding to the Indigenous Priorities Fund.

    The Advisory has identified the following values to guide their work:

    Guiding Values

    Good mind and good heart.

    Work and collaborate in a good way.

    Rethink ways of doing, especially around granting.

    Walk and learn with humility.

    Be reflective.

    Be proactive and responsive.

  • Granting Process

    Applications were accepted starting on Wednesday, November 1 and closed on Thursday, November 30 at midnight. Applications were made online through Survey Monkey or orally to staff. If you choose to do an oral application, please contact Sushil Saini at by Wednesday, November 25.

    An Open House will be held for those wishing to meet with Indigenous Granting Advisory members and Victoria Foundation staff. This is an opportunity to share your thoughts on priorities for funding in your community and learn more about the funding. The Open House is Friday, November 10th from 4 pm to 6:30 pm at the Esquimalt Pavilion. This is a family event with good food and art activities for children.

    Reporting for grant recipients will take place in 2024 at a community celebration where recipients will share their learnings with the community.

    Should you have any questions about the application or Open House, or simply wish to talk through the process, please contact Sushil Saini, Manager Strategic Initiatives, at We can meet with you in-person, by phone or virtual meetings on zoom.

    Please note that the funding available through the Indigenous Priorities Fund in 2023 is from the Victoria Foundation as well as a donation from the Sisters of St. Ann. To learn more about giving opportunities to the Indigenous Priorities Fund, please contact donor services by phone at 250-381-5532 or by e-mail. Victoria Foundation Donor Services

  • Eligibility to Apply

    All successful applicants must be a registered charity in good standing with the CRA, or other qualified donee as defined by the Canada Revenue Service (CRA). Exceptions may be made if an eligible charity is working in partnership with a non-qualified donee. If you are a registered charity or qualified donee that would like to support a non-qualified donee in their application to this grant in an intermediary relationship, please reach out first by email to discuss at All applying Nations or organizations must be based in the capital region and the proposed activities must be carried out within the capital region.

    Eligible organizations can apply for this funding even if you have a current grant with the Victoria Foundation.

    If you are applying for a collaboration grant, all collaborators/partners must be working within the capital region. For the purposes of this grant call, a collaboration is defined as partnerships based in mutually beneficial relationships working towards a shared goal that equally benefits the missions of all collaborators. For example, several Nations coming together to create transportation solutions for their communities, or two or more organizations coming together to co-develop and co-deliver programing that meets goals in both their strategic plans.

  • Areas Ineligible for Funding

    The Indigenous Priorities Granting fund does NOT offer grants for:

    • Fundraising campaign costs and contributions
    • Sponsorships
    • Capital campaigns (e.g., for new buildings, land, monuments)
    • Political activities that are prohibited by the CRA
    • Grants primarily benefiting individuals (outside of the activities of eligible organizations)
    • Deficit reduction (e.g. debts or loans)
    • Retroactive Request (any expenses incurred before November 1, 2023)
    • Requests without specific benefit to the residents or environment of the capital region
  • Areas Eligible for Funding

    The fund supports thriving social, cultural, and legal infrastructure for Indigenous communities in the capital region. This could include:

    • Support for existing programing, like youth, health, or elder programs, run by the Nation or organization.
    • Support for Nation/organization internal organizational development work.
    • Support for community events.
    • Support for new initiatives, pilot projects.
    • Equipment, i.e) freezer for a food security program, or other equipment
    • Food or other supplies for cultural programing.
    • Development of bylaws, policies, and processes.
    • Feasibility studies for initiatives identified in strategic plans.

    If you have questions about the eligibility of your proposed idea, please contact Sushil Saini at

  • How to Apply

    Applications can be submitted on Survey Monkey at this link by no later than midnight on November 30, 2023.

    Applications can also be made orally to staff. To do so, contact Sushil Saini at contact at by November 25th.

    Grant amounts available are:

    1. Up to $25,000 for individual Nations or organizations
    2. Up to $50,000 for collaborations with two or more organizations who are working together towards shared goals that align with the eligibility requirements and purpose of the Indigenous Priorities Fund.

    A Nation or organization can submit one application only, and cannot apply for both a collaboration and individual grant. If you are planning to apply for a collaboration grant, please review the guidelines and contact us at so we can talk about the application before applying.

  • Application Questions

    Survey Monkey will not allow you to start an application and return to it later, meaning your application must be started and submitted in one session. The questions in the application are listed below so you can prepare in advance.

    • Confirm that your organizations is a qualified donee as defined by the CRA
    • Confirm that your funding application does not include any of the areas listed at Ineligible for funding (see Eligibility section above)
    • Legal name of Nation/organization
    • Otherwise known as (name commonly known by in the community if different than legal name)
    • Are you:
      • Indigenous Nation
      • Indigenous led nonprofit organization.
      • Nonprofit organization serving Indigenous populations.
    • Name of person submitting the application including email and phone number
    • What is the community need that this proposed initiative addresses and how does the proposed initiative address that need?
    • Does the applicant Nation/organization have a strategic plan? If so, how does this proposed initiative serve the priorities in the strategic plan?
    • How much are you requesting?
    • How do you plan to use these funds? (A budget is not required, instead, please explain the costs of the initiative that would be covered by this grant.)
    • Do you have other sources of funding for this initiative?
    • If you are an organization, have you notified the relevant local Nations of this initiative being proposed on their territories? (This can be done with a letter to the Chief and Council of the local Nations on whose lands your initiative operates, this also includes local Nations whose members your organization serves. Proof of response is not required.)
    • If this is a collaboration grant application:
      • Have you discussed this collaboration grant request with Sushil Saini, Manager of Strategic Initiatives at the Victoria Foundation (please note that this is required before submitting a collaboration request.)
      • Please list the partner organizations and the main contact people for each.
      • Please outline the role and responsibilities of each collaborating partner in carrying out the initiative.
      • Please outline the benefits for all collaborating partners, including their members or clients
  • Deadline

    Applications through Survey Monkey are due no later than midnight on November 30, 2023.

    If you prefer to do an oral application please contact Sushil Saini, Manager of Strategic Initiatives directly by November 25, 2023, at

  • Application Assessment Process

    Applications will be reviewed by Victoria Foundation staff for eligibility and alignment with the criteria outlined below.

    The Indigenous Granting Advisory will review and discuss the applications. Decisions on recommended applications are made by consensus among the Advisory.

    If questions arise during the assessment process, staff will reach out to applicants for more information.

  • Criteria for Assessment

    The Indigenous Granting Advisory has chosen the following criteria to be used in the assessment of applications:

    • Type of organization: Nations are priority, Indigenous organizations are second priority, and other organizations with Indigenous programing are third priority.
    • Community need that will to be addressed by the application.
    • Benefits and impact for Indigenous people through proposed initiative
    • Alignment of the Strategic Plan of the applicant Nation/Organization with the proposed initiative
    • Alignment with Fund’s purpose to support thriving social, cultural, and legal infrastructure for Indigenous communities in the region. For example, supporting or creating social or cultural programs, or developing or sustaining infrastructure needs to keep the Nation or organization functioning, this can include equipment and core funding.
    • Notice provided to local Nation on whose lands the organizations operate. (Full points if you are a Nation that is applying.)
  • Further Criteria for Collaboration Grant applications
    • Benefit to all collaborating partner Nations and/or organizations.
    • Impact for members or clients of all collaborating partners.
    • Alignment of initiative with all collaborator’s strategic plans.
  • Notification of Decision

    Foundation staff will contact applicants by phone the last week of January 2024, with a follow up email to follow. Funds will be deposited within two weeks of notification by our office.

  • Relationship & Reporting

    Foundation staff are available to support recipients and may reach out from time to time to continue the relationships begun through the grant application process. We all have the same goals to meet the needs of local Indigenous people as defined by local Indigenous people so please be welcome to reach out. We are available to provide support beyond the cheque.

    Reporting for grant recipients will take place in 2024 at a community celebration. There, recipients will be invited to share their learnings with the community and, if so moved, they can also provide feedback on the granting process for the Advisory’s and Foundation’s learning.

    In terms of financial reporting, grantees can report separately on how revenues were spent by having a conversation with staff or filling out a brief form. Budgets and financial statements are not required.

  • Indigenous Priorities Fund Granting Timeline
    Timeline  Date 
    Open Call for Applications  Wednesday, November 1 
    Submission Deadline  Thursday, November 30 
    Staff review complete  Thursday, December 7 
    Advisory review and recommendations  Monday, December 11 
    Victoria Foundation Board approval  Second week, January 2024 
    Notify all applicants  Wednesday, January 24, 2024 
    Funds distribution starts  Wednesday, January 31, 2024 
    Stewardship   Ongoing and community celebration in 2024 

The Victoria Foundation acknowledges with respect the Lekwungen speaking people of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations on whose traditional lands our offices are located


If you have questions about the application process, please contact Sushil Saini, Manager Strategic Initiatives, at