VICTORIA, B.C. – The Province has announced that First Nations throughout B.C. can now apply for funding to promote well-being, improve quality of life for community members on and off reserve, and find solutions to poverty within their communities.

The First Nations Public Service Secretariat, an initiative of the First Nations Summit, will be administering the fund that was created from a $2.7 million grant.

“Indigenous peoples in Canada experience the highest levels of poverty with a shocking 25 per cent of Indigenous peoples living in poverty,” said Cheryl Casimer, political executive, First Nations Summit. “This Poverty Reduction Initiative has been created to assist B.C. First Nations to increase well-being within their communities and membership. The program is a modest and welcome step toward addressing the disproportionally high rates of poverty for First Nations citizens in B.C. We hope that all B.C. First Nations take advantage of this important initiative.”

According to a release, the funding is offered through two different streams, community projects, and planning.

For community projects, the funding provides up to $35,000 for a single First Nation, $70,000 for two First Nations, and $105,000 for regional applications of three or more partnering First Nations. This stream can include food security initiatives, training, building skills, employment opportunities, cultural initiatives to strengthen community and support decolonization, and other initiatives promoting well-being.

The planning stream provides $25,000 for one First Nation, $50,000 for two First Nations, and $80,000 for a regional application involving three or more partnering First Nations. The stream can include community engagement to develop a plan or begin discussions on a plan to promote well-being and reduce poverty at the community or Nation level.

All B.C. First Nations and partnering First Nations are eligible to apply for funding. Applications will be accepted until Sunday, May 30th, at 11 p.m. Pacific Time.