Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island has launched their official fundraising campaign with two large donations.
Chief Rachel Manitowabi extended a thank you to all contributors including the TD Bank Group for its $750,000 donation and $75,000 from Hydro One, which were unveiled at the launch yesterday afternoon.
“TD is committed to doing our part in the journey towards Truth and Reconciliation. Community initiatives, like the work of Wiikwemkoong Elders’ Home, that promote a connection to the land and foster a sense of belonging, are incredibly important to that journey. This project will bring a new home for many elders from the Indigenous community, keeping them close to their family, friends, culture and the land they call home. Through the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform, we are so happy to be able to support this project with the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory of Manitoulin Island.”, said Doris Bear, VP, Indigenous Banking, TD Bank Group.
She says the funding will go towards building the new Wiikwemkoong Elders’ Home adding new beds, from 59 to 96, and will also meet current provincial regulations.
Manitowabi emphasizes the facility license for the present site will expire in June 2025, so time is of the essence in raising the $6-million dollars needed locally for capital costs and contingencies.
In addition to providing 96 much needed beds, the new home will be located in the centre of the community, near the public works buildings, which will keep Elders close to their families, so that traditions and language can be passed down to Wiikwemkoong youth. The new state of the art facility will be designed to accommodate important cultural practices, feasts and gatherings. Traditional foods will continue to be served at the new Elders’ home, and the interior design will incorporate a colour palette benefiting the people that live and work there.
“Donors to this campaign are ensuring the stewards of our language and cultur are not forced to leave the community, and in this way, they are helping to preserve our culture.” said Walter Manitowabi, on behalf of the campaign. “To date, we have raised $1M in corporate and foundation donations and gifts, and $750,000 from fundraising activities such as raffles, golf tourneys, benefit concerts, and a community telethon.”
She says the Ontario Ministry of Health is offsetting financing for up to $10.3-million and a grant for $2.7-million towards the $15-million dollar price tag for the new facility.
She adds the plan is to host a ground-breaking ceremony this fall.
Those who can donate to the campaign can do so online at honouringourelders.ca and will be issued a tax receipt.
$25,000.00 (first of 3 installments over 3 years): (screen left) Simmer Anand, Manager, Indigenous Relations – Hydro One, Frances Mandamin – Wiiiwemkoong Councillor, Christina Reynolds, Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations – Hydro One, Ogimaa (Chief) Kwe Rachel Manitowabi – Wiikwemkoong. Photo provided by Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory.