Building a better future with the Aboriginal Futures Endowment Fund
In September, Chinook Lodge celebrated 20 years of serving Indigenous students at SAIT. For two decades, “the Lodge” has provided Indigenous students with emotional, financial and spiritual support, along with cultural, language and career opportunities, to name just a few programs. Many of these services are made possible thanks to the generosity of our donors and partners who are committed to closing the education and employment gaps within our Indigenous communities.
“The Lodge is almost like a second home,” says Jayden Onespot (Butchery & Charcuterie Management ’19). “It’s so hard to explain what you get from this place.”
Chinook Lodge is also celebrating another recent milestone. With a contribution of $340,000 from Finning (Canada), the Aboriginal Futures Endowment Fund has achieved the $2-million goal set out several years ago. The Fund ensures the long-term sustainability of the many programs and services that the Lodge offers. Support from this Fund allows the Lodge to offer programs like student symposiums, year-end and graduation celebrations, Pow Wows and professional development lectures.
“Without this Fund it’s safe to say the Chinook Lodge would be unable to offer programs that meet the needs of Aboriginal students,” says Larry Gauthier, Manager, Chinook Lodge. “We use the fund, in addition to the wellness grant, to provide cultural and academic support to students.”
Along with their recent contribution, Finning has also established the Finning Canada Indigenous Student Endowment Fund. Through this fund, an Indigenous student in a STEM certificate, diploma or degree program who demonstrates leadership and is in need of financial support, will receive a $1,000 award at the conclusion of their first and second year of study.
Since fundraising began to achieve the $2-million goal, SAIT’s partners have been there every step of the way to champion and celebrate the initiative. In addition to Finning’s contribution, the Aboriginal Futures Endowment Fund is supported by contributions from Shell, Sodexho, Suncor Energy Foundation, TD Insurance and Xerox.
“We knew $2 million was a high bar to set for the Fund,” says Tania Brandstrom, Associate Director, Alumni & Development. “But we also knew that our partners would be there to help us achieve it. The journey has been incredible, and all the work and effort that’s gone into achieving this goal has been inspirational.”
With the target amount reached, the Aboriginal Futures Endowment Fund will serve Indigenous students for years to come and help develop future leaders who will make a difference in our communities.
Find out more about the Chinook Lodge and how you can make a difference in the lives of Indigenous students at SAIT.