The Justice and Reconciliation Fund was established in 2000 by the Residential Schools Steering Committee of The United Church of Canada to assist the church in understanding and responding to the legacy of harm and broken relationships that have resulted from the Indian Residential School system. The fund supports projects initiated by regions, congregations, outreach/community ministries, and theological education centres that foster dialogue, reconciliation, and relationship-building between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Projects initiated outside the church that involve United Church of Canada people as planning partners and/or participants may also be considered if funds allow.

The Justice and Reconciliation Fund is distinct from the Healing Fund, which provides financial support to healing projects initiated in Indigenous communities by and for former residential school students and their families. Projects supported by the Justice and Reconciliation Fund usually do not qualify for Healing Fund support.

Funding Criteria and Procedures

The Justice and Reconciliation Fund supports projects by United Church groups that foster education, dialogue, reconciliation, and relationship-building between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Wherever possible, the planning and application process should also be a joint Indigenous/non-Indigenous endeavour.

Specifically, the Justice and Reconciliation Fund will support projects or events with one or more of the following goals:

  1. To promote understanding of the United Church's role in the Indian Residential School system and of the impact of this system on former students and their communities
  2. To foster direct community-to-community engagement or face-to-face encounters between Indigenous and non-Indigneous peoples in the church and with the larger community
  3. To assist nation-to-nation events involving church members that support advocacy in solidarity with Indigenous rights
  4. To fund justice and reconciliation work that supports The United Church of Canada's commitments to implementing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The fund has an annual budget of $100,000, and does not grant more than $10,000 to any one project.

A group can apply for a grant for the same project for up to three successive years, with a maximum grant of $10,000 per year. Groups who have received three years of funding for a particular project are eligible to apply for grants for new projects. However, groups who have not received funding in the past may receive priority for funding.

Who can apply for funding?

  • Congregations, regional councils, education and theological centres, and outreach/community ministries
  • Ecumenical initiatives where there is a commitment to cost-sharing
  • Groups outside the United Church will also be considered if funds permit and there is provision for involvement of United Church members
  • Applications may be strengthened by including letters of support from either Indigenous or United Church of Canada partners, as applicable.

How and when are decisions taken?

The Review Committee is made up of individuals appointed by the Indigenous Justice Advisory Committee. You are invited to submit applications by March 15 or September 15; decisions will be rendered within eight weeks of these deadlines. Those applying in September should not plan to start their project before January 1 of the following year. At all times, the level of demand on the fund may mean that some applications that meet the fund’s criteria cannot be supported.

New allocation limit: Please note that the Review Committee will allocate no more than half of the annual budget of the Fund following each application deadline. This means that the total amount to be awarded after each of the March and September submission deadlines will be $50,000.

Application Process

Each application must use the Application Form and Budget Template that is available under Downloads, below. As indicated on the template, budget statements must show all project expenses and other sources of revenue. Proposals that do not meet the criteria or applications that are not complete will not be approved. A final project report upon completion of the project is required.

Examples of Approved Justice and Reconciliation Projects

Diaconal Ministers/Deacons Conference Focused on Reconciliation

“Respecting Covenant: Risking the Journey of Reconciliation” was the theme for a conference held by the Diakonia of the Americas and the Caribbean (DOTAC) in Vancouver, August 14‒20, 2019. Indigenous voices were featured in Bible studies on covenant, reconciliation, and community. The KAIROS Blanket Exercise, led and contextualized by local Coast Salish people, helped integrate the theological and theoretical with the personal and political. Workshops included: Indigenous Spirituality, The Medicine Wheel, Indigenous Documentaries and Filmmakers, Great Bear Rainforest Protection, Creative Responses to the Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Exploring Reconciliation in Children’s Literature, and The Painful Legacy of Residential Schools. Site visits included: The Museum of Anthropology, First Nations Ecology (Stanley Park), Stories of Hope and Reconciliation (United Church Archives), and the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre.

Multi-generational Reconciliation Event 

During August 20‒24, 2018, over 60 people, including 19 youth and children, gathered at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre for the Mamawe Ota Askihk - Sharing Life Together Here on Earth festival. Each day began around the sacred fire with a reflection on one of the seven sacred teachings and then a short language lesson to learn to name these teachings in the various Indigenous languages spoken by those in the circle. Between meals, participants worked on three powwow drums, tanned a deer hide, extracted honey at a neighbouring farm, made salve from herbal medicines and beeswax, harvested vegetables in the centre’s garden, canned salsa, and beaded moccasins. The festival led to new friendships and inspired a deeper desire for reconciliation among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants.

Roddan Jubilee Lectures

First United Community Ministry Society in Vancouver organized public lectures on Indigenous issues in contemporary Canada. First United says, “Our desire is that the lecture series become catalysts for Indigenous community members and outreach and reconciliation committees of local communities of faith to continue to reflect, study, and take action on Indigenous rights and justice issues locally and nationally.” Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul spoke to themes in his book The Comeback at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, Vancouver, in October 2018. Reconciliation Canada CEO Karen Joseph spoke at Simon Fraser University in February 2018 on the importance of staying the course and not getting weary when things get hard on the road to reconciliation.

For Additional Information or to Apply

Lori Ransom
Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator
416-231-7680 x3564
1-800-268-3781 x3564