A flipped power dynamic: Philanthropists must apply to a council of aunties to fund these Indigenous groups

“This is a really big leap. This is not how things are done,” says Jess H̓áust̓i, co-lead of the Right Relations Collaborative.

Why It Matters

Funders and grantmakers often wield considerable power over their fundees, determining what gets funded, when and how. The Right Relations Collaborative flips this power dynamic by putting Indigenous aunties in the driver’s seat. The model is firmly rooted in a local territory, but offers a new approach to grantmaking that could inspire a shift in funding relationships across the country.

This journalism is made possible through the Future of Good editorial fellowship covering the social impact world’s rapidly changing funding models, supported by Community Foundations of Canada and United Way Centraide Canada.

Last summer, Nuskmata (Jacinda Mack), talked on a headset as she walked around her property just north of Williams Lake, B.C.. It was mid July and hot. The aim of the call was to decide how she and few other Indigenous women would distribute about half a million dollars amongst several Indigenous organizations — their own and a couple of others. It was a call unlike any she’d ever had. 

“There was money coming in to support [our] organizations without us even having to apply. That was pretty awesome,” she says, laughing. “That was a new expe

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