Turtle Island Institute

Grant description:

Social innovation is informing and enabling important transitions in Canada at a critical time. Governments, impact investors, academics, foundations and thousands of charitable organizations are using and refining the tools and mindsets of social innovation to improve outcomes for vulnerable people; accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy; and improve society’s resilience in the face of rapid change.

In 2017, the Foundation provided a grant to the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) to help create Turtle Island Institute (TII) – an Indigenous-led social innovation collaborative which supports innovators tackling systemic barriers to social transition. Preliminary results are promising: TII is demonstrating that there is a profound relationship between social innovation and Indigenous design principles (such as providing time and space for ceremony and land-based learning; engaging Indigenous facilitators who have knowledge of protocols, traditional teachings and spiritual healing; and hosting gatherings that enable people to experience resonant connections to their work and one another). There is a growing demand for TII’s services both from Indigenous audiences and non-indigenous organizations alike.

A grant from the Foundation will enable it to establish a suite of Indigenous social innovation methodologies and tools, to train a cadre of Indigenous facilitators, designers and evaluators and to deliver this material to Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations across Canada.


Background of the organization:

Established in 2018, Turtle Island Institute is a not-for-profit, Indigenous-led and governed organization. TII’s founder, Melanie Goodchild, is Anishinaabe, moose clan, and a member of the Biigtigong Nishnawbeg First Nation on the Northern shore of Lake Superior.


  • 2019-2024
  • $ 1,500,000
  • Funding Type: Focus Area Funding
  • Funding Stream: Reconciliation

Related Funding

University of Waterloo: WISIR Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience

A grant from the Foundation will be used to help launch the Turtle Island Institute - an Indigenous-led initiative to develop Indigenous and non-Indigenous people’s ability to use social innovation to address the pressing challenges facing Indigenous communities.

$ 185,000

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