Twelve Indigenous organizations from across the province will receive $3 million in funding from the Bridging Classrooms to Communities pilot program.
In July 2023, Alberta’s government announced a $10.5-million investment over the next three years to help support Indigenous student success through the Bridging Classrooms to Communities pilot program. The pilot program aims to create welcoming environments, demonstrate cultural awareness and provide system supports to encourage Indigenous students’ success in and out of the classroom.
Of the total funding, the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association received $7.5 million to distribute to friendship centres within their networks. The remaining $3 million has been awarded to 12 Indigenous organizations in rural and urban areas across Alberta.
“Thank you to every organization that applied for the pilot grant program. I believe this funding is an important step forward to make meaningful connections through Alberta schools for students and families. I look forward to seeing the results of the projects and the development of positive relationships between students and their communities.”
Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Education
The funding is expected to support up to 33 community connection projects in schools across Alberta. Alberta Education is committed to reconciliation and Indigenous-led solutions that improve education outcomes and create opportunities for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.
“Partnerships like these are essential to reconciliation and will help strengthen opportunities in education across Alberta. I look forward to the positive difference this pilot program will make for students in the years ahead.”
Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations
The grants will help Indigenous communities and school authorities build relationships to support student success. Selected organizations will receive up to $100,000 per year to work with school authorities to:
- Develop Indigenous-centred school events, programs and supports.
- Provide guidance to teachers and school staff to strengthen communication with Indigenous students, families and communities.
- Make timely referrals to external support systems and services.
- Improve access to transportation, technology, tutoring, social activities, sports and other supports and services.
- Hire community connection workers.
“The Bridging Classrooms to Community grant announcement has created a great deal of excitement in Eagle Spirit Nest Community Association. It will give us the ability to provide our Indigenous students with more opportunities over the next few years.”
Lisa Sowinski, president, Eagle Spirit Nest Community Association
“This funding will support Warriors to Leaders, which will allow students to create positive connections within the Indigenous community. These supportive and encouraging relationships will help to bridge the gap between Indigenous youths’ social, familial and educational systems, encouraging a greater capacity to lead and succeed.”
Wendy Lindberg, executive director, Riel Institute for Education & Learning
“We are excited to build connections with schools and community supports for Indigenous students. With this funding, we hope to create spaces and new successful opportunities to bring culture and identity into learning environments.”
LeeAnne Ireland, executive director, Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth
- Organizations receiving funding include:
- Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society
- Changing Horses Not-For-Profit Society
- Eagle Spirit Nest Community Association
- Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta
- Métis Nation of Alberta Local #2003
- Mountain Métis Community Association
- Riel Institute for Education and Learning
- Rupertsland Institute
- St. Albert Sturgeon County Métis Local #1904
- Stoney Health Services
- The Nu Ch’anie Society
- Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth
- Friendship centres provide cultural programs and services to respond to the unique needs of Indigenous people in urban and rural communities across Canada.
- The Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association is a provincial association of the 21 friendship centres within the province.
- Bringing Indigenous communities, schools together (July 18, 2023)