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.
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
Pays Plat (Pawgwasheeng) First Nation
Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg (Pic Mobert First Nation)
Red Rock First Nation
Whitesand First Nation
How We Help
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
Kelly Fortier is the 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.
Kristian is the Vice President of the Board and also a Youth representative 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.
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 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.
Kevin Green is a Chartered Accountant and works as the Director of Finance at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care. Kevin will assist our team in making a difference by using his financial expertise to help guide the Foundation to support as many youth as possible.
Blythe Haynen is a member of Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek and is the Assistant Director of Communications for Dilico Anishinabek Family Care. Blythe is a graduate of Business Administration majoring in Marketing. She also has a certificate in Fundraising and is passionate about raising funds for indigenous children, youth and families. Blythe has been involved with the foundation for many years in different capacities and is excited for the opportunity to contribute her time and skills to the Board of Directors.
Anika is Anishinaabe kwe living in Thunder Bay, ON, she remains connected to the beautiful shores of Lake Simcoe (Barrie, ON) where she was raised. She is a member of the Beaver Clan and Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island. She has many roles she values including daughter, auntie, wife, mother, educator and life-long learner. She has a Master of Education with a specialization in Indigenous Education and 15 years of experience working as an educator in both remote First Nations communities and provincial schools. She currently works as the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Coordinator for a local school board and is the Instructor for an Indigenous Education course at Lakehead University. Anika is an eternal optimist who carries the hope and strength of her ancestors with each decolonizing step. She is honoured to work for and with the most valuable resource we have – the children and youth.
Darcia Borg is a member of Red Rock Indian Band and is the Executive Director of Dilico Anishinabek Family Care. She is an ex-officio member of the Board and is committed to providing opportunities for indigenous children, youth and families.