About the foundation

 “The Vision is to enrich the lives of children and youth by inspiring achievement to dream big”

The Mazinaajim Children’s Foundation is an Anishinabek-led charitable organization established in 2009. The mandate is to support the educational, recreational and cultural and community needs of Anishinabek children and youth in North western Ontario. Mazinaajim works with over 6000 children and families who face many social and economic challenges. The need for help is great, yet many services that are vital to the health and well-being of children and families are not funded. The Mazinaajim Children’s Foundation can meet the changing needs of children and youth with support from donors.

With your support we can continue to invest in our children, families and communities to ensure they advance in their education, health and well-being. Our vision is a future where all children have the opportunity to achieve their dreams and grow and develop into healthy community members.

Our Communities

Mazinaajim Children’s Foundation is affiliated with the following 13 First Nations in the Robinson-Superior Treaty area and parts of Treaty 9:

Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek
Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek
Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek
Fort William First Nation
Ginoogaming First Nation
Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek

Long Lake #58 First Nation
Michipicoten First Nation
Biigtigong Nishnaabeg
Pays Plat (Pawgwasheeng) First Nation
Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg (Pic Mobert First Nation)
Red Rock First Nation
Whitesand First Nation

How We Help

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The Mazinaajim Children’s Foundation shows children and young people that there is a world of opportunities and they have the potential to go far in life. Through our Foundation’s various funds, we are able to grant opportunities such as:

Hundreds of youth can attend Cultural Summer Camp next year where they will hear stories from their Elders, learn traditional arts and crafts and practise fishing and hunting skills. Youth will learn to understand and be proud of their rich cultural heritage.

Community-focused activities and events such as Pow Wows and community festivals will be supported that give families a chance to have fun together and help forge important connections between parents and children.

Bursaries and scholarships will be available for post-secondary education to show children and youth that we believe in their potential and that we are invested in their lifelong success.

Little Evan can play hockey like the other kids this season and will learn to play, be active, and make new friends.

Education incentive programs will also be available for younger children and youth such as the Crown Ward Education Incentive Fund that rewards high school children with a monetary stipend for every credit earned.

Youth at risk will participate in confidence, empowerment and self-esteem building workshops. As a result, they will become more positive about their own capabilities, their self-worth and their future.

Role models including NHL players and television personalities can visit Anishnabek communities to share their successes with our children and youth. They will receive peer support by mixing and talking with others who have shared similar life experiences.

 

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors consists of the following individuals:

Nicole Richmond

Nicole Richmond is the President of the board, an Anishnabe lawyer, wellness consultant and jingle dress dancer from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg.  She practices in the area of will and estates, Anishnaabe law, administrative law and preventative law, and supports clients in creating holistic policies and procedures that are grounded in emotional intelligence, restorative practices and Anishnabe values.  Nicole is the incoming President of the Mazinnajim Children’s Foundation for 2021.  She is dedicated to supporting young people in achieving their highest potential and role modelling a healthy lifestyle.

 

Kelly Fortier

Kelly Fortier is the Vice President of the board, a Registered Practical Nurse who works as the Community Health Representative for her community of Ginoogaming First Nation where she is also a Band Councillor. She is married with three children and became a Granny for the first time this October 2020. Kelly also sits on the Board for Dilico Anishinabek Family Care and represents them as a Board Member for Mazinaajim.

 

Tana-Leigh Harty

Tana-Leigh Harty is the Corporate Relations & Communications Advisor for Ontario Power Generation, Northwest Operations. Tana-Leigh is excited to be part of an organization that contributes to the health, happiness and wellbeing of Anishinabek children. Her involvement with Mazinaajim Board of Directors is rooted from years of working with Indigenous communities in northern Ontario. Learning from the Elders, understanding Canada’s history and embracing their respect for the land has empowered her to share Indigenous knowledge and teachings with the next generation of leaders.

 

Yolanda Wanakamik

Yolanda Wanakamik is a member of Whitesand First Nation, located in the traditional territory of the Robinson Superior Treaty and is deeply passionate about education, health and wellbeing, family and community.  Yolanda recently completed a Master of Education at Lakehead University and some day hopes to complete a PhD in the area of Indigenous wellbeing and success in postsecondary spaces.  She is currently employed at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine as the Director of Indigenous Affairs.

 

Terry Bortolin

Terry Bortolin is the Director of Finance and Corporate Services with Dilico Anishinabek Family Care.

 

Kristian Bouchard

Kristian is the Youth Board Member for Mazinaajim Children’s Foundation. She is a member of Pays Plat First Nation and currently pursuing her educational goals. Kristian joined the Mazinaajim Children’s Foundation because she believes every Anishinabek youth has full potential to be successful in their dreams.