First Nations and The Winnipeg Foundation Partner on Unique Campaign

Nov 8, 2010 | Corporate Member News

Cutline: Pimachiowin Aki spokesperson Sophia Rabliauskas announces the Campaign for the Land that Gives Life as Winnipeg Foundation CEO Rick Frost and Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Eric Robinson look on. To donate see: and to learn more about the efforts to have the boreal forest designated a World Heritage site see:

The most significant fundraising effort of its kind, led by several First Nations, was launched in Winnipeg today in the first phase of an extensive multi-year campaign to raise millions of dollars to take care of the boreal forest that straddles the Manitoba-Ontario border. 

Launching the Campaign for the Land that Gives Life, Pimachiowin Aki spokesperson Sophia Rabliauskas announced The Winnipeg Foundation will manage the fund, providing financial accountability, transparency and long-term sustainability, as together they strive to build a $20 million endowment. 

“We are very lucky to have The Winnipeg Foundation and its CEO Rick Frost as our partner. With their help people here and around the world can now have a role in taking care of the land with us – for generations to come,” said Rabliauskas, who represents the unique partnership of five First Nations and the two provincial governments of Ontario and Manitoba which formed the non-profit Pimachiowin Aki (Pim–MATCH–cho–win Ahh–KEY) Corporation four years ago. 

Rick Frost said that in addition to managing the Pimachiowin Aki endowment fund, “The Winnipeg Foundation will be matching gifts 9 to 1; for every $9 a person or organization donates, the Foundation will contribute $1.” 

The Fund is designed to support the operations of a proposed UNESCO World Heritage site as well as help create a range of services that could include heritage programs; cultural education, training in First Nations communities; opportunities to share traditional First Nations knowledge; scientific research and community services—to ensure the world learns more about the boreal forest and the Anishinaabe people who have called it home for 5,000 years. 

Deputy Premier Eric Robinson and Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, said the endowment fund and the new fundraising campaign demonstrate to UNESCO that there is financial and public support for the future care of the land that has outstanding natural and cultural values. 

“The trust fund is a way for all of us to live the vision of Ojibwe elders who have taught us that the Creator gave us this land in a sacred trust and we must take care of it,” Robinson said. 

The fund received its first contribution in October 2009 when the Manitoba Government dedicated $10 million to create an endowment designed to support efforts to take care of the boreal forest and First Nations culture in a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site that is less than an hour’s flight north of Winnipeg. 

See  Backgrounder and FAQ below. For more information or interviews contact:

Pimachiowin Aki Corporation: Shirley Muir, Communications Lead, 204.771.7523; [email protected]

The Winnipeg Foundation: LuAnn Lovlin, Director of Communications 204.944.9474; [email protected]

Background Information and FAQ 

The Pimachiowin Aki Corporation is a non-profit corporation, made up of five First Nations communities and the Manitoba and Ontario governments. It is preparing a proposal to have a vast track of the boreal forest straddling the Manitoba-Ontario border nominated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The five First Nations partners are Bloodvein River, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi and Poplar River all in Manitoba and Pikangikum First Nation in NW Ontario. Geographically the proposed site under review is 43,000 square kilometres—as big as Denmark. It includes some of the traditional territories of the five First Nations communities as well as Atikaki Provincial Park in Manitoba and Woodland Caribou Provincial Park and Eagle-Snowshoe Conservation Reserve in Ontario. The site is under tentative UNESCO consideration with a final bid to be submitted in 2012. The partnership between the First Nations and the governments is very unique and the corporation will continue to work together to take care of the land after the bid is submitted. See 

The Endowment: The Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Fund Act (or Bill 12) was passed unanimously into legislation in June 2010 a year after the Government of Manitoba committed $10 million over four years, beginning in 2012, to the fund. The purpose of the fund is to protect, preserve and celebrate the natural features and the cultural landscape of Pimachiowin Aki, an area east of Lake Winnipeg, and to support programs and initiatives that are consistent with the management plan established for that area. The capital investment of the Fund is not used, rather the interest from the endowment fund will be made available through grants.  See: 

The Campaign for the Land that Gives Life: is a fundraising effort in support of the work of the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation. Beginning in late 2010 and building momentum to 2013, the Campaign will reach out to a broad base of potential donors who support the nomination of Pimachiowin Aki as a World Heritage Site and support efforts to take care of the land and preserve the Ojibwe culture for generations to come. The goal is to raise $20 million for the endowment over the next couple of years. See 

The Winnipeg Foundation will manage the Pimachiowin Aki Fund. It is the first community foundation created in Canada and has been serving Winnipeg since 1921. The Winnipeg Foundation pools and permanently invests gifts from donors of all walks of life. Through its spending formula the Foundation make grants to charitable agencies in the areas of: community service, education, health, arts and culture, heritage, environment and recreation. Last year the Foundation made grants totaling more than $20.8 million to more than 670 organizations. During its 89 years, the Foundation has granted more than $240 million. See 

“In its collective wisdom and foresight, the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation’s Board is proud to partner with The Winnipeg Foundation to establish this Endowment Fund and to raise funds for The Campaign for The Land that Gives Life. It is a decision that we as a board felt would demonstrate transparency, accountability and long term financial sustainability for this important initiative, for generations to come.” Board Co-Chair Alex Peters said.

What happens to donations to the Campaign for The Land That Gives Life?

The Province of Manitoba’s $10 million contribution will be part of the Endowment Fund at The Winnipeg Foundation. Gifts will be matched by The Winnipeg Foundation’s 9:1 Agency Matching Program, which means The Winnipeg Foundation matches every $9 donated by the public with $1, in accordance with its standard policies. The Winnipeg Foundation will issue charitable tax receipts.  Annual earnings from the interest on the endowment support ongoing operations of the Pimachiowin Aki Corp. as well as grassroots development projects of the First Nations communities partnered in Pimachiowin Aki. In future, those projects may include creating heritage programs; providing cultural education, training and capacity building; sharing traditional knowledge; conducting scientific research and developing community services—to ensure the world learns more about the boreal forest and the people who have called it home for 5,000 years. 

How much money will be raised?

The Campaign for The Land that Gives Life will raise at least $20 million in endowment funds during the next three years. The initial $10 million pledge from the Province of Manitoba allows the Campaign to raise funds from the general public—with over 50 per cent of the campaign’s target goal raised. The Endowment Fund will provide financial sustainability for the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation and ultimately ensure a sustainable financial future for Pimachiowin Aki. Annual revenue from the Fund will, in turn, provide a consistent stream of operating funds. 

What percentage of donations go into administration of the fund?

Every single dollar donated goes directly into the Endowment Fund. None of the gifts made to the fund are used for administration. The fundraising campaign budget of $565,000 was established following the passage of the legislation to create the Pimachiowin Aki Endowment. These funds cover the costs of a business plan and all aspects of the fundraising campaign so that all donations can go directly into the endowment fund. The Manitoba Government also provided $340,000 in the 2010/11 fiscal year to support the ongoing development of the World Heritage Site nomination. 

Where can I see the ads?

Samples of the TV and radio spots and print ads are available to the media on DVD. Billboard locations in Winnipeg starting November 8th are Lagimodiere Blvd. at Warman Rd.; Archibald St. at Provencher Blvd.; St. Mary’s Rd. at Niverville Ave.; Portage Ave. at Erin St.; St. James St. at Wellington Ave.; Oak Point Hwy. at Selkirk Ave.; Pembina Hwy. at Bison Dr.; and Ellice Ave. At King Edward St. 

To make a gift please contact:
The Campaign for The Land that Gives Life
c/o The Winnipeg Foundation1350-One Lombard Place
Winnipeg, MB R3B 0X3
(T: (204) 944-9474 | E: mailto:[email protected]   TOLL-FREE 1.888.516.1352

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