Yukon Community Development Fund allocates over $1 million to social development projects

The Community Development Fund invests over $1 million in 21 organizations across the Yukon that initiate community projects.

The funding was allocated through a three-tier process divided into financial tranches of up to $75,000 and will be disbursed over the next two years. Funded projects include local First Nations groups, the Yukon Arts Center and various other arts and culture organizations, as well as infrastructure initiatives throughout the Yukon.

The fund’s goal is to provide an “opportunity for local organizations to grow, provide new services and experiences, and create jobs for Yukoners,” Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai said in a news release. of August 1.

As part of a Stream 2 project, the Council of Yukon First Nations will receive $75,000 in funding for a week of cultural programming in February 2023 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Together today for our children tomorrow. Introduced in 1973, the document was the “Yukon First Nations Model Land Claims Agreements,” said Shadelle Chambers of the Council of Yukon First Nations.

On February 14, 2023, a potlach will be held at the Yukon Arts Center to officially mark the anniversary. The Kwanlin Dün Cultural Center will also host a week of events and activities featuring artists, workshops and speakers, serving as an open space for learning and connection.

While Yukon First Nations have hosted many cultural learning opportunities in the past, the anniversary will focus on politics and the more recent history of local First Nations groups.

“We will host cultural events, hands-on activities and opportunities for Yukon First Nations and the general public to learn more about the Yukon First Nations Land Claims, Final Agreement and Self-Government Agreement said Chambers.

Many workshops and speakers will also focus on providing in-depth learning to school-aged children.

More information on the lineup will be available closer to the anniversary date.

To mark the significance of the anniversary and compile the teachings of all Yukon First Nations groups, part of the funding will also be dedicated to the publication of a coffee table-style book that “will highlight the journey of the 50 last few years,” Chambers said.

The fund also allocates funds to individual Yukon First Nations. $63,801 will be invested with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in to improve their food crop infrastructure.

The funding will allow for the installation of two 50-foot planta greenhouses that will allow the community to support itself more reliably throughout the year.

“It really increases our ability to provide for the needs of the community,” said farm manager Derrick Hastings.

“It just allows us to have more frost-free areas on the farm to potentially have crops later in the year. We want to be able to extend the season, as much as possible, and that usually takes greenhouses.”

The installation of the new greenhouses means that the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in community can become much more self-sufficient during the cold months.

“We will be able to start our vegetables early, have early lettuce crops and put our zucchini and beans in these greenhouses,” Hastings explained.

Asked about the project’s role in creating employment opportunities within the community, Hastings highlighted how this type of investment will generate a sustained need for employment because “more infrastructure requires more labor ‘work on deck for maintenance as well as gardening, harvesting and planting’. and the weeding that occurs all year round.

Another portion of the funding will be invested in child care. A Dawson City daycare center and two nonprofit child care initiatives will receive $75,000 for the initial assessment and design stages of building a child care center.

“Daycare is so limited in Dawson. We have three centers and all three have huge waiting lists. Our daycare has approximately 38 children on the waiting list, which is a similar number for other daycares,” said Susan Blower-Lancaster of the Dawson Children’s and Family Society.

The hub would address the need for child care in Dawson by hiring three or four new caregivers.

The center would also house the Yukon branch of the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program, which has long struggled to find a permanent location.

With the plans and cost analysis made possible by the funding program, Blower-Lancaster hopes to “be open by the summer of 2024, if all goes to plan.”

More information about the 21 projects benefiting from the Community Development Fund can be found on the Government of Yukon website.

Contact Mira Alden-Hull at [email protected]

Joel C. Hicks