EleV Partners

Jade Roberts is a Woodland Cree artist and illustrator. niska is the Cree word for goose, niskak – geese. This piece showcases geese taking flight from the water during an evening sunset. To me, this symbolizes freedom from limitations and a cycle of transformation reminding us that we can go anywhere and do anything we set our heart on. jadeleviroberts.com

Art by Woodland Cree Artist Jade Roberts.

EleV works with Partners in every region of Canada. Our partners are Indigenous-led or are working in deep partnership with Indigenous youth, communities or organizations.

Many of our partners serve Indigenous young people and communities in multiple regions, over large territories. The map below provides a snapshot of the distribution of our partners across Canada and does not convey the areas they serve.

Learn more about our work in this video series.


Strengthening Indigenous Charities

“To strengthen Indigenous charitable organizations, and support them to expand and scale their impact, EleV has partnered with the Circle on Philanthropy and Indigenous-led charities across Canada. Indigenous organizations have deep knowledge about how best to meet the needs of their communities while contributing to self-determination. By investing in, and working with, Indigenous-led charities, this initiative aligns with and honours Indigenous worldviews including values of gifting and sharing, reciprocity, mutual responsibility, and respect.

Our Indigenous charity partners are: 

This partnership includes:

  • Convening learning and storytelling activities and building a Community of Practice to support the development of a cohesive and collaborative Indigenous-led philanthropic ecosystem
  • Raising awareness of Indigenous-led charitable organizations to generate new opportunities within the charitable sector, with governments, and with private and public organizations
  • Demonstrating how Indigenous-led approaches to community development and service can impact and transform education and work opportunities for Indigenous youth
  • Supporting partners’ programming and partnerships in service of Indigenous community and youth education, work opportunities, and holistic well-being

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 post–secondary 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. 

Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) and Queen’s University

The EleV Programs has partnered with the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) and Queen’s University. Through the Queen’s Weeneebayko Health Education Program, the partnership will transform healthcare in Northeastern Ontario and expand education and employment opportunities for Indigenous youth.

WAHA and Queen’s Health Sciences will co-develop a university curriculum for health professions training in the western James Bay region. The program will prepare Indigenous students for careers in medicine, nursing, midwifery, and other health professions through culturally-informed education in community. Programming and resources will also be created to enable local youth to envision, pursue, and succeed in health professions training right from high school.

Through this partnership:

  • Healthcare in Northeastern Ontario, and beyond, will be transformed by integrating Indigenous knowledge, practices and approaches to health and healing
  • All youth in the region will benefit from accessing culturally relevant and contextual information and mentoring regarding health careers and new opportunities to transition starting in the final year of elementary education
  • Secondary student pathways will actively engage youth in programming leading to transition opportunities, mentorship and related internships

Starting in 2025, students will transition to in-community learning and form the first cohort for the new health programming

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 post–secondary 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 post–secondary education. 
  • Supporting the expansion of relational land–based learning, in which training is co-developed, co-taught, and happens within Indigenous communities. 

University of New Brunswick with Ulnooweg Education Centre and the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI)

Indigenous-led organizations the Ulnooweg Education Centre and the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI) are joining with the McKenna Institute at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) as partners in the EleV Program.

The three-year project will enhance the learning of foundational skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) for Indigenous youth in communities across Atlantic Canada to create pathways to higher education in STEAM. Students will learn via a mobile technology unit that will bring educators and the necessary tools directly to Indigenous youth in their communities, embedding Indigenous culture and values into the program. Students will receive hands-on learning opportunities, focusing on multiple entry points into STEAM careers, including sectors such as robotics, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), and fabrication, among others. As part of the partnership, students who complete foundational STEAM skills training will be connected directly with employers in the region.

In 2023, the Mastercard Foundation entered into a three-year commitment with the organizations to support the Digital Acceleration for Indigenous Youth Partnership.

This partnership includes:

  • Delivery of regularly scheduled K-12 programming, using the Mobile Technology Unit and other in-person events, which will provide 4,000 unique touchpoints with students and leaners across Atlantic Canada
  • Increasing STEAM career opportunities and pathways for all Indigenous youth through Future Wabanaki and partnerships made through previous programs. Youth will be engaged through experiential learning opportunities, demonstration days, lab tours and college experience sessions.
  • Strengthening and expanding STEAM programs run by Ulnooweg Education Centre and JEDI.
  • Tracking Indigenous youth and student learning outcomes and success long-term, at all levels of programming to develop enhanced programs and methods to engage Indigenous youth in the STEAM career sector.
  • Strengthening outreach and bridging with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities through STEAM education.

University of Manitoba and Indigenous Partners with the Blueprint Initiative

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.

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-secondary–to–work journey and creating new models for deep 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. 

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. 

Turtle Island Institute

Founded in 2018, Turtle Island Institute (TII) is an Indigenous-led charitable social innovation “think and do” tank – a teaching lodge – enabling transformative change. 

EleV works to support Indigenous youth in their pathways through education and on to meaningful work and livelihoods reflecting their values, traditions, and aspirations. Achieving this goal requires systems change and new thinking across many organizations and institutions – change that embraces Indigenous worldviews and values. 

 TII will strengthen this effort as it is working to dismantle colonial values embedded in current systems change theory and practice, and integrating Indigenous ways of knowing, speaking, doing, and being that reflect wholism and the complex embedded interconnections and dynamics within systems. 

 This partnership aims to build the field of Indigenous systems change to increase overall social impact. 

 In 2020, the Mastercard Foundation entered into an 18-month commitment with Turtle Island Institute. 

This partnership includes: 

  • The overall goal of increasing social impact by building the field of Indigenous systems change. 
  • Creating tools and curriculum, providing customized leadership and social innovation programming, and supporting a peer network of Indigenous systems change leaders.   
  • Supporting EleV partners’ capacity in the Indigenous systems change field and facilitating shared learning and increased systems impact, including workshops at EleV events.   
  • Developing the field of Indigenous systems thinking through Indigenous process design, curriculum development, and establishing the world’s first Indigenous Action Lab in Niagara Falls, Ontario.    

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. 

Rideau Hall Foundation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Educators

The Rideau Hall Foundation and the EleV Program have partnered to grow the number of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis teachers in the education system by 10,000. The partnership enables a National Indigenous Education Advisory Committee co-chaired by Roberta Jamieson and Mark Dockstator to lead programming to accelerate and transform teacher training and employment opportunities. The Indigenous Teacher Education Initiative will directly invest in community-driven and innovative strategies towards increasing the representation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis teachers in classrooms.

The partnership will:

  • Expand the number of qualified First Nations, Inuit, and Métis K-12 teachers to 10,000 in pursuit of a representative educator workforce
  • Demonstrate innovation and scale promising new initiatives in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis educator pathway programming
  • Create the conditions for meaningful and sustained Indigenous teacher employment
  • Invest in Indigenous-led research outlining the opportunities and challenges related to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis teacher education and representative K-12 educational workforces

Oẏateki 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. 

Nawalakw Healing Society

The EleV Program and the Nawalakw Healing Society have partnered to scale language and cultural revitalization activities and expand employment and training programming to support Indigenous youth in the region to reach their goals. Working in collaboration with key organizations in post secondary education and employment, Nawalakw will increase its educational programming and launch a robust Indigenized learning and evaluation model.

The partnership will:

  • Support language learning and cultural revitalization through land-based education and camps, language apprenticeships, and training programs
  • Expand employment opportunities through career placements, with a focus on eco-tourism
  • Create post secondary pathways through micro-credentials and new academic programming

Kw’umut Lelum Foundation (established through Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services)

Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services is a partner in the EleV Program for the purpose of establishing the Kw’umut Lelum Foundation. 

Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services is an Indigenous-led institution made up of the nine Xwulmuxw Mustimuxw Nations on Vancouver Island. Since 1996, they have been doing important culturally grounded work supporting Indigenous youth, focused on those who are or have been in care. 

The goal of this partnership is to support Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services in establishing a First Nations owned and governed foundation to ensure First Nations control of the mission, vision, values, strategy, and planning for investing in youth through community generated ideas. It will enable the work of Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services to deepen and expand to better support Indigenous youth and their futures and accelerate self-determination. Learning will be shared with other Indigenous communities interested in the community foundation model. 

This partnership includes:

  • Establishing the Kw’umut Lelum Foundation. 
  • Technical support related to establishing a foundation, including legal support, forming bylaws and governance structures, administrative processes, and recruiting and training qualified staff. Investment in youth voices and community advocacy and education will be key. 
  • A financial literacy program to be created after the Foundation’s start up that includes delivery of age-specific educational materials. 
  • Establishing a dedicated Foundation scholarship/bursary fund to leverage, incentivize, and seek matching resources from communities and the private sector. 
  • Network and opportunity development through relationship building with provincial and federal governments, school districts, post-secondary institutions, regional youth support organizations, and other Indigenous philanthropic organizations.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

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. 

International Buffalo Relations Institute

The International Buffalo Relations Institute (IBRI) and the EleV Program have partnered to create opportunities for Indigenous learners to be full partners in their education and journey to meaningful work.

In alignment with the Buffalo Treaty, the Institute works to honour, recognize, and revitalize the time immemorial relationship between Indigenous people and the buffalo, and to bring buffalo back to their traditional territories. This partnership will scale the work of IBRI to increase the presence of Buffalo on the Plains and expand education and employment opportunities for Indigenous youth linked to Buffalo rematriation.

This partnership includes:

  • Enhanced pathways to education through dialogues and summits with young Buffalo Champions from Indigenous communities across the plains, youth-led Buffalo Treaty events in schools, and Indigenous-led research to support Buffalo rematriation
  • Employment, training and entrepreneurship through the first transborder Buffalo range and intertribal herd, the Buffalo Protector Guardians Program, an innovation lab, and other opportunities for community economic growth in alignment with the ecocultural role of Buffalo
  • Storytelling and narrative change through theatrical, literary, and other creative media to increase the profile of Buffalo rematriation including the film Singing Back the Buffalo

Indigenous Connectivity Institute

The Indigenous Connectivity Institute (ICI) and the EleV Program are partnering to support Indigenous communities to build fast, affordable, and sustainable broadband and to champion digital skills.

The partnership will help scale the ICI’s work to support Indigenous communities with the capacity, skills, and access to the capital they need to deploy and maintain their own networks. As the first Indigenous-led organization focusing exclusively on digital equity in Canada and the United States, ICI provides training programs to advance technical and advocacy skills, advocates for effective policies, and amplifies the digital priorities and aspirations of Indigenous people, in alignment with Indigenous self-determination.

The partnership will:

  • Resource Indigenous communities to lead the design and development of networks to meet their needs, in alignment with self-determination
  • Convene and facilitate a network of Indigenous leaders and communities to learn, share best practices, and shape ongoing priorities
  • Support 10,000 Indigenous young people through Tribal Broadband Bootcamp, training programs, the annual Indigenous Connectivity Summit and the deployment of new networks and connectivity

Indigenous Clean Energy

Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) is a partner in the EleV Program. 

ICE is a unique, not-for-profit platform that advances Indigenous inclusion in Canada’s energy futures economy through Indigenous leadership and broad-based collaboration with energy companies, utilities, governments, development firms, clean tech innovators, the academic sector, and capital markets. The clean energy efforts of ICE include renewable energy, energy efficiency, green energy infrastructure, and advanced energy opportunities. 

Through ICE’s efforts, Indigenous communities are meaningfully involved in over 197 medium-to-large scale projects creating an estimated $295 million in annual revenues for Indigenous communities. 

The goal of EleV includes access to education for Indigenous young people as well as supporting pathways to meaningful employment for Indigenous youth. This partnership with ICE (administered through Ottawa Community Foundation) will advance both objectives. ICE provides tailored training and instruction in clean energy and creates pathways to employment for program participants by matching Indigenous people with clean energy employers for paid work experience. 

In 2021, the Mastercard Foundation entered into a 30-month commitment with Indigenous Clean Energy. 

This partnership includes: 

  • Significant employment experiences in the opportunities clean energy sector for 80 Indigenous young people, enabling them to pursue longer-term employment in a sector that is key to the future of Indigenous economies. 
  • Supporting ICE’s Generation Power program, a new twelve-month training program for Indigenous young people that provides as an entry point into careers in clean energy. By the end of the partnership, the ICE program will be an accredited program with a Canadian university. The program involves culturally relevant learning about clean energy, including an on-the-land camp; job placements with clean energy employers who will receive cultural sensitivity training; one-on-one mentorship in clean energy; and the creation of a fund that supports youth-led projects in clean energy. 
  • Supporting ICE’s 20/20 Catalysts program, a nine-month program that focuses on capacity building for Indigenous learners interested in exploring the clean energy sector. Four program spots in each of the next three cohorts will be fully funded for young Indigenous participants. 
  • Creating a media campaign to raise awareness of Indigenous youth leadership in the clean energy sector, contributing to a new narrative of Indigenous youth as essential agents and drivers of change in this sector.

First Nations Technology Council

First Nations Technology Council (FNTC), based in North Vancouver, BC, is a partner in the EleV Program. 

FNTC is an Indigenous-led organization, mandated by BC First Nations, with extensive experience in the areas of education and training, research, sector engagement, and digital equity. FNTC operates at the intersection of Indigenous sovereignty, technological advancement and the rapidly expanding technology and innovation economy. 

Digital and connected technologies are a determinant of nation building and community well-being, yet the lack of reliability and affordability of access facing many Indigenous people and communities is a key barrier. The result is ongoing economic exclusion and hardship. Addressing these barriers, alongside an investment in Indigenous communities’ digital skills development, is both an urgent need and a strategy for long-term resilience and self-determination. 

This partnership will be implemented by FNTC with First Nations communities, leaders, and other strategic partners. It will enable sustainable growth essential to overcoming key policy barriers and position FNTC and First Nations as drivers of the digital economy on the west coast with a view to future national expansion. 

In 2021, the Mastercard Foundation entered into a three-and-a-half-year commitment with FNTC. 

This partnership includes:

  • The launch of the Indigenous Innovation Institute, which will offer culturally grounded upskilling and reskilling digital skills programs for Indigenous youth nationally. This includes developing on-demand media-powered programs where learners can participate anytime, anywhere, allowing people to learn in their communities. Once the Indigenous Innovation Institute is operational, FNTC expects to serve a minimum of 350 Indigenous people annually, the majority under the age of 40. Indigenous young people will benefit from technology skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and other forms of training that will accelerate their participation in the digital economy and their leadership in digital society. There is support for developing an Indigenous Connectivity Champions Training Program and establishing the Indigenous Innovation Institute. 
  • Creation of an Indigenous Digital Equity Strategy for Indigenous peoples in BC. This is part of a Strategic Framework involving policy, programmatic, and process intervention that aims to increase community connectivity, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, as well as skills development and training opportunities. Developing a robust policy and strategic framework for advancement of digital equity means advancing the national discussion and advocacy around Spectrum Sovereignty in the context of Indigenous rights. The Strategic Framework will organize communities across BC and mobilize capital for strategic, coordinated, and long-term sustained investments into connectivity infrastructure, skill development, tech-focused economic development, and digital integration and transformation of communities and governance systems. The Strategy will also identify key policy, regulatory and legislative changes to enable or accelerate these outcomes. 


EntrepreNorth is a partner in the EleV Program. EntrepreNorth is an Indigenous-led organization and a leader in programming to foster and build entrepreneurship in the North. 

This partnership will leverage EntrepreNorth’s experience, expertise, and partnerships to positively impact Indigenous youth and communities across the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. EntrepreNorth’s programming and approach is grounded in the local context, Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous values.  

In 2020, the Mastercard Foundation entered into a three-year commitment with EntrepreNorth.  

This partnership includes:  

  • The overall goal of directly benefiting 185 Indigenous youth in the North, and many more indirectly through entrepreneurship programming, new employment and self-employment opportunities, new thought leadership products, and increased coordination across stakeholders in support of entrepreneurs.  
  • Strengthening organizational and community capacity to advance positive stories, thought leadership, and systems change in support of new and innovative approaches to Indigenous entrepreneurship.  
  • Delivering services to empower, connect, and scale Northern business leadership and growth. This includes delivery of cohort-based programming focused on sector themes to support Indigenous entrepreneurs, and community-based workshops with a focus on young Indigenous entrepreneurs.  
  • Efforts to increase access to capital for Indigenous entrepreneurs by deepening relationships and partnerships with existing funding options, identifying opportunities to increase access to financing, and exploring the development of a Northern Impact Fund.  
  • Working to foster a network of Indigenous entrepreneurs, businesses, government actors, and other key stakeholders, and to increase coordination among key players and across the territories.   

BYTE Empowering Youth Society – Indigenous Youth That Lead and the Assembly of First Nations Yukon Region

BYTE (Bringing Youth Towards Equality) Empowering Youth Society and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Yukon Region are a partner in the EleV Program.  

The AFN Yukon Region declared 2019 the “Year of the Youth.” AFN Yukon Region is connected across both Yukon youth and leadership, and is involved in national committees on climate change, environment, health, and modern Treaty implementation. This creates significant potential for the Yukon to lead the way in youth engagement, success, and wellness. AFN Yukon is working with BYTE Empowering Youth Society as their partner in this work and to administer the project.  

In 2020, the Mastercard Foundation entered into an 18-month commitment to support this initiative.  

This partnership includes:  

  • Supporting the wellness and success of Indigenous young people by encouraging them to pursue their goals, inspiring and supporting them to develop and advance their unique talents, and recognizing, celebrating and sharing their achievements.  
  • Developing the framework for a strategy to advance Indigenous youth wellness and success in the Yukon and aligning and working with partners (including youth-serving organizations and governments) to identify priorities and timelines with short and long-term commitments.    
  • Hosting an “Honouring Success” gathering for Indigenous post-secondary students in collaboration with Yukon University and others.   
  • Connecting Yukon First Nations leaders with young people and sharing highlights from the Youth Wellness Strategy at the AFN Yukon Annual Summit. This includes supporting youth awards at the gathering in connection with the Yukon Year of the Youth.    
  • Working towards a “Youth that Lead” gathering, run by and for youth in collaboration with others, celebrating and supporting youth to define success in the areas of learning, wellness, and the environment, and providing cultural and language programming. Preparation will include capacity building and virtual trainings for young Indigenous leaders.   

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