Building a New Relationship, Together.

Working together with you, the Indigenous Spirit Fund will improve the quality of life for Indigenous children and families by supporting programs and services delivered by Native Child and Family Services of Toronto for Indigenous families, especially those families impacted by the child welfare system.

The Indigenous Spirit Fund will create opportunities for Canada’s private, philanthropic and charitable sectors to build new relationships with Indigenous families, and the organizations that serve them, in order to create healthy outcomes for Indigenous children and youth.

By supporting the Indigenous Spirit Fund, you will help deliver much-needed support to some of Toronto’s most vulnerable children and families through community-driven and culture-based services, including summer culture camps, employment and education programs, and arts and entrepreneurship programs offered by Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.


Indigenous Spirit Fund will improve the quality of life for Indigenous children and families by supporting programs and services delivered by Native Child and Family Services of Toronto. Some of the signature programs delivered by ISF will include:

Keeping the Circle Strong Summer Camp

Reconnecting with culture and the outdoors is vital to improving the health and well-being of Toronto’s most vulnerable Indigenous children and youth. For so many, however, access to camp or other outdoor experiences remains out of reach. Keeping The Circle Strong Summer Camp is Native Child and Family Services of Toronto’s signature overnight Summer Camp program and one of our most successful ongoing programs. Hosted at the beautiful Grundy Lake Provincial Park, the camp runs for between eight and ten weeks each summer features unique, week-long sessions for children and youth aged between 7 and 29. Multiple sessions for families and special needs children are also offered.

The Keeping the Circle Strong Summer Camps provides these at-risk children and youth and vulnerable families with the opportunity to reclaim a healthy spirit and rebuild a healthy community, contributing in a very real way to their personal development and resiliency. Our camp programs create an environment where community, culture, recreation, and physical activity are valued as an everyday part of life, helping to minimize the risk factors faced by our children, youth and their families, Campers enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities such as, canoeing, swimming, hiking, crafts, fishing, campfires, traditional storytelling and ceremonies. These experiences are of tremendous value to Indigenous children and youth and families and have been very successful in creating stronger bonds between parents and children. The camp also provide valuable summer employment opportunities and work experiences for Indigenous youth (aged 16-24) who work or volunteer as Camp Counselors, Life Guards, and Cooks.

Indigenous Spirit Award

The Indigenous Spirit Award was established to honour children and youth who have shown Indigenous spirit in their efforts to break down barriers and to achieve their full potential. Indigenous children/youth are rarely recognized by mainstream awards. Whenever the roll is called for awards, bursaries, scholarships and other honourifics, Indigenous children and youth are almost always left out. This is especially true regarding children and youth in foster care and the care of child welfare, as well as those in the greatest need who receive preventative services from Native Child and Family Services of Toronto and other social service organizations.

The Indigenous Spirit Award takes a new approach to recognizing achievement among our children and youth. We want to change the yardstick and the way success is measured, and acknowledge the everyday victories our children achieve in this world, a world in which they are often disadvantaged. A child who struggles with math and through dogged determination gets a passing grade is as accomplished as another child receiving the highest grades; a youth who conquers homelessness may have worked harder and achieved more than a PhD. candidate. This Award also serves to focus on the development of an Indigenous community united by its own strength and with pride, on the promotion of the culturally based concept of achieving one’s personal best, instead of on the idea that there are winners and losers, and on the importance of creating a culturally appropriate way to recognize these achievements. These Indigenous “warriors” fight against the legacies of residential schools and other misguided and destructive colonial practices. They show incredible spirit and now is the time to honour them.

The Indigenous Spirit Fund (ISF) is a new initiative established in 2018 by Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST), Canada’s largest Indigenous non-profit multi-service organization. Led by Indigenous people with expertise in child and family welfare, Indigenous cultures, and governance, the ISF supports local and regional initiatives that benefit Indigenous children and families.

Contact Us

Cat Belshaw
Manager, Indigenous Spirit Fund

30 College Street
Toronto, ON
M5G 1K2

416 639-9029
Email Us