EleV Anchor Collaborative Partnerships

Anchor Collaborative Partnerships are the primary driver of regional systems change through EleV. They include partners focused on creating sustainable systems change led by Indigenous communities and youth in partnership with a diverse set of stakeholders including educators and employers. EleV will work to strengthen Indigenous youth and Indigenous youth-led organizations in the regions we work. 

British Columbia 

Vancouver Island University (VIU) with the Nuu-chah-nulth, Coast Salish, and Kwakwaka’wakw 

VIU is a partner in the EleV program. EleV is a collaborative initiative that is creating opportunities for Indigenous learners to be full partners in their education and journey to meaningful work.

In 2017, building on the financial contributions from government, the private sector, and Indigenous communities, the Mastercard Foundation entered into a five year commitment with VIU to enhance the holistic support for Indigenous learners.

This partnership includes: 

  • Doubling the number of Indigenous students at VIU by matching the number of young people attending the school through funding from First Nation communities. As a result, 500 Indigenous students will complete their studies. 
  • Supporting more than 1,800 Indigenous students, including services provided by Education Navigators on campus and in communities, to help guide them throughout their postsecondary education. This approach will contribute to improved retention and graduation rates. 
  • Supporting younger learners, from Qeq (toddler) through to high school, to develop their leadership skills and build a pathway to postsecondary education. 
  • Supporting the expansion of relational landbased learningin which training is co-developed, co-taught, and happens within Indigenous communities. 

Yukon Partnership

Yukon University with the Gwich’in, Hän, Tlingit, Tagish, Tutchone and Dene-Kaska

Yukon University (formerly Yukon College),  alongside the Gwich’in, Hän, Tlingit, Tagish Tutchone and Dene-Kaska, is a partner in the EleV Program. Elev is a collaborative initiative that is creating opportunities for Indigenous learners to be full partners in their education and journey to meaningful work.

In 2017, building on the financial contributions from government, the private sector, and Indigenous communities, the Mastercard Foundation entered into a five year commitment with Yukon University to enhance the holistic support for Indigenous learners.

This partnership includes: 

  • Supporting 300 new and current Indigenous students, to better navigate academic and non-academic barriers, thereby improving retention rates. 
  • Dedicated teams who provide 1-on-1 support, navigation, and outreach, including in-community programming and, in the first three years, a focus on incarcerated young people.​ 
  • New online courses (and innovations in distance delivery) reaching and engaging rural students in postsecondary education, including building the capacity of community education and employment workers to support young people. 
  • Indigenous youth leadership development, including experiential learning opportunities in science and traditional knowledge and immersive on-campus opportunities.​ 
  • Career counselling and support in the first three years of the program to help young people see a path to post-secondary and connecting that to their aspirations and work opportunities. 

Alberta Partnership 

University of Lethbridge with the Blackfoot Confederacy 

University of Lethbridge alongside the Blackfoot Confederacy is a partner in the EleV Program. EleV is a collaborative initiative that is creating opportunities for Indigenous learners to be full partners in their education and journey to meaningful work. 

Launched in late 2019, with a five year commitment from the Mastercard Foundation, the partnership aims to strengthen pathways and transitions to post-secondary education, improve supports on-campus and in community, and align with regional and Nation-specific economic development opportunities.​

This partnership includes: 

  • Providing holistic supports for Indigenous students focused on transitions to post-secondary, addressing financial and other barriers, and strengthening engagement opportunities within the K-12 system. 
  • Linking academic programming to economic opportunities in the region, including expanding work-integrated learning and developing culturally responsive programming for in-demand sectors. ​ 
  • Promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, supporting Blackfoot economic development, and building a network of private sector allies.​ 
  • Deepening Indigenous-led governance and decision-making over the post-secondarytowork journey, and creating new models for deep partnership.

Ontario Partnership 

Seven Generations Education Institute with Treaty #3 First Nations 

Seven Generations Education Institute (“Seven Generations”) is a partner in the EleV Program. EleV a collaborative initiative that is creating opportunities for Indigenous learners to be full partners in their education and journey to meaningful work.  

Seven Generations is a leading Indigenous education institution with a track record of delivering programming in remote communities, First Nations, and schools through strong partnerships with community and other post-secondary institutions . Seven Generations is committed to language and cultural revitalization, a focus of all its work and programs. 

In 2020, building on the financial contributions from government and the private sector, the Mastercard Foundation entered into a five year commitment with Seven Generations to help augment and expand opportunities in communities and support the transition to meaningful employment, including teachers and health care workers. Innovative approaches that link skills training with job guarantees from the community, private, and public sectors will be expanded in key sectors.

This partnership includes: 

  • The overall goal of supporting 3,000 Indigenous young people through post-secondary education and on to meaningful work. 
  • Embedding Anishinaabe teachings, worldviews, and language across all programming, including K-12 and post-secondary levels. 
  • Enhancing, expanding, and creating new credentialled programming and research by utilizing the provincial Indigenous Institutes Act (2017) and the Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council This includes deepening and developing new partnerships with post-secondary institutions to deliver additional programs, expanding work integrated learning opportunities and micro-credentials for learners, expanding organization and community-led research, and convening key organizations, communities, youth, and leaders to strengthen coordination and collaboration to better support Indigenous youth. 
  • Enhancing, expanding, and creating new holistic supports and expanded access for learning opportunities through technology, community outreach, and services closer to home. Expanded programming will be delivered on-reserve, along with expanded online and alternative delivery methods. 
  • Developing an Employment Navigator program to support Indigenous youth as they transition from post-secondary to employment.

Atlantic Partnership 

Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation and Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, Innu Nations 

Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation (“Ulnooweg Foundation”) is a partner in the EleV Program. EleV is a collaborative initiative that is creating opportunities for Indigenous learners to be full partners in their education and journey to meaningful work.

Ulnooweg Foundation is one of Canada’s first Indigenous community foundations. Its stated mission is taking a leadership role in closing the gap between the philanthropic sector and Indigenous communities with the goal of creating new funds, pursuing investment opportunities, and increasing public understanding of the role of philanthropy for Indigenous communities.

In 2020, building on the financial contributions from government, the private sector, and Indigenous communities, the Mastercard Foundation entered into a five year commitment to Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation.

 This partnership includes: 

  • The overall goal of reaching 2,500 Indigenous youth through direct education and employment programming, and amplifying this impact for other Indigenous youth by fostering a long-term strengthened ecosystem of support and enhanced opportunities. 
  • Leveraging and expanding Ulnooweg Foundation’s successful partnerships across the Atlantic to support meaningful, sustainable change for Indigenous youth in the region. 
  • Supporting youth leadership through training, learning, networking, and mentorship opportunities. 
  • Enhancing access to culture, language, identity, and wellness programs and offerings, including integration of these components into other educational and supportive programming. 
  • Promoting educational pathways that are accessible, culturally appropriate, and aligned to the realities and aspirations of Indigenous youth and the needs of their communities. This includes an improved system of support for students transitioning to post-secondary education and co-developing with communities and post-secondary institutions programming that supports training needs specific to the community or areas of future job growth. 
  • Building opportunities and networks for youth to secure meaningful and dignified work in employment and entrepreneurship. Initiatives will be enhanced that support the transition to work for Indigenous graduates, entrepreneurship supports and training, and strengthening linkages between Indigenous communities, educational institutions serving Indigenous youth, and larger regional economic opportunities. 

Inuit Nunangat University Partnership

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national Inuit organization that is beginning the first phase of work towards a potential Inuit University. 

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the national representational organization protecting and advancing the rights and interests of Inuit in Canada, is a partner in the EleV program. EleV is a collaborative initiative that is creating opportunities for Indigenous learners to be full partners in their education and journey to meaningful work.

Inuit peoples face significant challenges including education and employment rates far lower than Canadian averages. For decades, Inuit have shared a vision of an Inuit University for their youth, for research, and to build strength and pride in Inuit heritage and confidence for the future of Inuit and Inuit homelands. The proposed “Inuit Nunangat University” (INU) will be an Indigenous-led university advancing a holistic Inuit perspective fundamentally transforming and strengthening education and economic opportunities for all Inuit and others.

Recognizing that this is a complex undertaking, in 2021 the Mastercard Foundation entered into a 2-year dedicated planning period that will form the first part of this partnership enabling momentum to build a co-creation process to take hold across the four Arctic regions.

This partnership includes:  

  • Confirming dedicated capacity and coordination at ITK.  
  • Launching the nationally representative INU Task Force.  
  • Consulting Inuit regions and communities including engaging youth/students in research. 
  • Program design and certification on priority programming areas and implementation plans. 
  • Conducting research and engaging on best practices globally.  
  • Beginning sustainability planning including advancing the INU Foundation.  
  • Dedicated outreach to current Inuit graduate students building on previous efforts to target development of Inuit faculty.  
  • Implementing an INU communication strategy to increase participation and momentum. 

Saskatchewan Partnership

Oyateki Partnership with the Gabriel Dumont Institute, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, and the University of Saskatchewan alongside First Nations and Métis youth, communities, and organizations

The Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI), Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT), and the University of Saskatchewan (USask) are partners in the EleV Program through a unique collaboration known as the Oẏateki Partnership. EleV is a collaborative initiative that is creating opportunities for Indigenous learners to be full partners in their education and journey to meaningful work.

The Oẏateki Partnership builds on a history of collaboration across GDI, SIIT and USask and leverages  the expertise, relationships, and specific roles of each partner institution to scale efforts and transform education and employment systems in Saskatchewan. Through this bold partnership 32,000 First Nations and Métis young people will succeed on their path to post-secondary education, through their education and training, and their transition to meaningful employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Launched in 2021, with a five-year commitment from the Mastercard Foundation, the partnership aims to support successful transitions to post-secondary for Indigenous youth, increase positive outcomes for Indigenous learners while at post-secondary, support successful transitions from post-secondary into meaningful careers and work for Indigenous youth, and strengthen coordination, communication, and integration of the post-secondary and employment systems for Indigenous youth.

This partnership includes:

  • 32,000 First Nations and Métis young people benefitting directly (approximately 12,000) and indirectly (approximately 20,000) from greater coordination and collaboration, and enhanced and new programming, services, and supports focused on transitions to post-secondary, success in post-secondary, and transitions to meaningful work.
  • New and expanded mentorship and transition programs to support Indigenous youth in the K-12 system and those currently disengaged from post-secondary education and employment, including incarcerated youth.
  • Co-creation and innovative delivery of programs and supports with First Nations and Métis communities, including new community-level delivery, land-based delivery, virtual programs and supports, micro-credentials, mental health and cultural supports.
  • New programs supporting Indigenous learners to explore and succeed in graduate and professional degrees.
  • Expanded training, apprenticeship, and internship programs for First Nations and Métis youth, including working with employers to create more inclusive and representative work environments.
  • Delivery of new entrepreneurship programs and an enhanced entrepreneurship ecosystem in greater service of Indigenous youth and communities, including business development and wraparound supports and start-up grants.
  • Enhanced cross-institutional governance and decision-making approaches that include the voices of Indigenous youth and community members to foster greater coordination, communication, and collaboration across the partner institutions and with the broader education and employment systems.

Quebec Partnership

Université Laval and Francophone Indigenous Communities and Nations in Quebec

Université Laval and the francophone Indigenous communities and Nations in Quebec are partners in the EleV Program.

The Indigenous population in Quebec is small – about 3% of the population, of whom 20% are French speaking. This smaller population coupled with jurisdictional complexities create multiple barriers for Indigenous francophone youth in accessing services and supports.

Université Laval is the preeminent French speaking and research university in the province, located near Québec City and near Indigenous francophone communities. Francophone Indigenous Nations in Quebec have prioritized self-determination in two areas: land management and education. The partnership with Université Laval will serve to create community capacity in these areas and support greater self-determination more broadly. The partnership has an anticipated impact of supporting 1,150 Indigenous young people on their pathways through education and on to meaningful livelihoods.

In 2021, the Mastercard Foundation entered into a five year commitment with Université Laval.

This partnership includes:

  • Strengthening and enhancing opportunities for meaningful livelihoods for Indigenous youth in land management. Université Laval will partner with French-speaking First Nations communities to co-deliver training that integrates both western science and Indigenous knowledge and understandings about the lands and waters, creating a new generation of Indigenous Land Guardians. This will begin as a one year program and ladder towards a full degree program. Communities have prioritized this training and have identified employment opportunities for all youth undertaking this course of study.
  • Greater success for Indigenous youth through enhanced degree supports including a well-resourced First Peoples Center.
  • Close partnership and collaboration between Indigenous Nations in Quebec and Université Laval towards the vision of an Indigenous post-secondary institute. The francophone Indigenous Nations of Quebec will work together with Laval, placing Indigenous youth at the centre of new programming and supports responding to community needs. This collaboration will set a foundation for institutional development and foster close integration for future partnership.


Manitoba Partnership

University of Manitoba and First Nations Partners with the Manitoba Post-secondary Collaborative

The University of Manitoba (U of M) and First Nations involved in the Manitoba Post-secondary Collaborative are a partner in the EleV Program.

This U of M will anchor a large collaboration with local Indigenous communities, post-secondary education institutions in the province, and industry partners.

The U of M is the province’s largest post-secondary education institution and home to one of the largest Indigenous student populations in Canada. U of M has demonstrated a clear commitment to ensuring Indigenous students are well-supported.

This partnership will directly support 2,800 Indigenous young people in their journey to and through post-secondary education and onto meaningful livelihoods. The project will deepen relationships with key stakeholders across the education system in Manitoba. The relationships, capacities and linkages will enable sustainable transformation of education and employment pathways for Indigenous youth. The creation of Learning Hubs in remote and rural Indigenous communities will increase access to post-secondary education and training and skills development for Indigenous youth – taking learning to where they live. The partnership will demonstrate to other post-secondary institutions in Canada the impact of in-community program delivery.

In 2021, the Mastercard Foundation entered into a five year commitment with the University of Manitoba.

This partnership includes:

  • Increasing access to co-designed post-secondary education in the places Indigenous students call home. Learning Hubs will be created and supported in Indigenous communities, starting with an existing pilot Learning Hub and expanding to a Northern community, Metis Settlement community, and an inner-city adult learning centre.
  • Increasing Indigenous student success by supporting post-secondary collaboration. Support will include communications, advocacy, and networking capacity to the Blueprint initiative (a collective of K-12 school boards, post-secondary institutions, First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities, as well as provincial and federal governments) and greater coordination for Indigenous students throughout Manitoba.
  • Increasing Indigenous student success by enhancing and innovating supports for transition to post-secondary education. This includes facilitating a pathway from high school through to law school for Indigenous students, expanding “post-secondary club” programming in high schools (including opportunities for career guidance, role modeling and mentorship), and supporting other transition pathways.
  • Improving Indigenous graduate outcomes by building pathways and supports to employment and entrepreneurship. There will be development of a “pathways to careers” strategy and corresponding community-led partnerships that meet the goals and priorities of Indigenous youth and communities. There is support as well to co-develop in-Community Certificate Programs with the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre in areas recognized as priorities for Indigenous youth and communities.


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