The North

Northern Solutions by Northern People

MakeWay supports and connects the people, communities, and organizations advancing innovative solutions in the North.

Backing northern leaders along their path forward

Lasting solutions are best understood and led by the people who are closest to the challenges. MakeWay’s Northern Program works across the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, as well as in the Inuvialuit, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut regions. We support the leadership of northern people, communities, and organizations advancing community well-being, economic prosperity, and environmental stewardship solutions.

Theory of change

This is the multidirectional theory of change that guides our priorities and partnerships, demonstrating the interconnectedness that exists between our core priority areas.

Our team consists of experienced Northerners, living, and building trusting relationships with a diversity of communities and organizations across the North. With collaboration, durable solutions arise through local leadership and ownership.

Program Priorities

The work that makes up the Northern Program is centered on four key priority areas that are tightly connected and dependent upon each other.

MakeWay supports the efforts of next-generation northern leaders to fulfill their leadership potential.
We work with collectives of next-generation leaders and other partners on achieving the following goals:
  1. Support emerging leaders in their development of resilient community-led initiatives and institutions.
  2. Facilitate broadening networks and secure human and financial resources to make change happen.
  3. Catalyze efforts to champion, develop, and implement sustainability, policy reform, and community well-being programming.
Ultimately, we hope for the following outcomes:
  • Collectives of emerging northern leaders have institutional stability with established mission, identity, and strategic direction.
  • Emerging leader collectives are leading self-directed, innovative projects
    addressing key social, economic, and environmental challenges in the North.
MakeWay supports existing and emerging land and water stewardship work led by northerners.
We help community partners achieve the following:
  1. Develop and implement plans for land and water, including protected and conserved areas, land and marine-use plans, and wildlife management programs.
  2. Design and implement Indigenous guardian, community-based monitoring, and stewardship programs.
  3. Increase knowledge of wildlife, land, water, and other natural resources.
Ultimately, we hope for the following outcomes:
  • Northern ecosystems are healthy and resilient.
  • Northern peoples continue to practice ways of life that are dependent upon healthy northern ecosystems.
  • Indigenous land, water, and wildlife knowledge and expertise continues to inform stewardship.
MakeWay helps accelerate local, diversified economies rooted in strong local cultures and healthy ecosystems.
We work with partners on achieving the following goals:
  1. Explore local economic pathways that uplift Indigenous culture and are reliant on healthy ecosystems.
  2. Increase knowledge that can be used to build local and sustainable enterprises that deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits and keep wealth in the North.
  3. Demonstrate the contemporary economic value of healthy ecosystems and Indigenous culture.
Ultimately, we hope for the following outcomes:
  • Sustainable, community-based enterprises are viable and are proven to deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits to northern communities.
  • Community-based northern enterprises have access to financing that recognizes their unique needs and circumstances.
MakeWay supports existing and emerging culture and language work led by northerners.
We work with partners on achieving the following goals:
  1. Empower healthy, resilient northern leaders and communities by deepening connection between Indigenous peoples and their homelands.
  2. Foster Indigenous knowledge and art that is inspired and defined by nature and culture.
  3. Ensure Indigenous languages thrive so the next generations can communicate in their mother-tongue.
Ultimately, we hope for the following outcomes:
  • Increased sustainability of existing community-based culture and language programs.
  • New community-based culture and language programs are catalyzed.
  • Knowledge sharing and collaboration amongst communities and organizations amplifies best practices and scales success.
  • Favorable Indigenous culture and language policies exist.
  • High fluency in Indigenous language and ways of knowing and being is being transmitted between generations.

Tools for Change

Today’s complex environmental and social landscape requires not only proven but democratic, community-driven approaches to positive change. At MakeWay, we reduce barriers and provide the expertise, experience, strategic partnerships, and deep community connections to ensure that all efforts go further.

In collaboration, we create custom solutions to help achieve change. With 20 years of experience building and implementing a unique approach, MakeWay is a proven partner.

Advisory services we offer our partners include, but are not limited to: research and scoping, strategy and design, grants management and delivery, evaluation and learning.

  • Define a tailored giving strategy
  • Connect to purpose-aligned initiatives and go deeper with philanthropy
  • Dive into new issues and geographies or expand an existing program
  • Evaluate outcomes, share learnings, and revise as needed.

Creating on the ground impact takes time and resources. The shared platform supports grassroots initiatives by providing charitable expertise and operational support, so that they can concentrate on what they do best – driving real change.

  • Home to over 60 unique and aligned projects
  • Opportunity for collaboration among fellow projects
  • Tools for governance, compliance and financial management
  • Resources for grants administration, human resources, risk management

Make meaningful gifts and build relationships with changemakers on the ground. The result is an informed and engaged giving strategy managed by our team of experienced program leads.

Deep subject matter expertise and trust-based community networks mean grantmaking goes beyond surface solutions, directing investments in ways that maximize positive, sustainable change. Whether individual, institutional, government, or corporate, we support donors to be more connected and effective in their giving.

Our knowledgeable program leads work to:

  • Manage strategic granting portfolios
  • Collaborate in active partnership with communities to help articulate, design, and implement lasting solutions
  • Act as networkers, conveners, and relationship builders

A strong collective effort with a unified mission takes us all to greater heights. Collaboratives bring grantmakers and community representatives together to pool resources and share ideas. This gives community-led initiatives a foundation for success with more flexible and responsive financial supports, fewer administrative hoops, and opportunities for shared learning, co-creation, and evaluation.

  • Promote more informed and effective grantmaking
  • Combine efforts to improve the efficiency of accessing money and other resources (such as tools and equipment)
  • Make it easier for communities to access funding
  • Break down the traditional model of top-down philanthropy
  • Strengthen connections among philanthropic institutions and communities
  • Most collaboratives include additional programming like knowledge exchange, shared measurement, storytelling etc.

At MakeWay we have committed to aligning our investment dollars with our mission. All our investments are fossil fuel-free and screened for environmental, social, and governance (ESG).

MakeWay offers the country’s first fully-customizable 100% impact invested donor advised fund – ImpactDAF. The ImpactDAF is a unique philanthropic vehicle that provides the grantmaking functions of a DAF, while also mobilizing the underlying investments for positive impact. Each ImpactDAF has a customized financial and impact strategy that aligns with its purpose. This means that ImpactDAFs are able to have a positive impact through both grantmaking and investing.

  • Align values with investments to achieve financial and social return
  • Offer a fossil fuel-free ESG portfolio (managed by Genus)
  • Lead research on new impact investing solutions
  • Provide impact measurement using a methodology aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

An alternative to starting your own foundation, donor advised funds are an efficient and flexible vehicle for charitable giving. Through a donor advised fund, you can deliver on your unique philanthropic vision, while minimizing costs and maximizing impact.

When you work with MakeWay, you join a national community of individuals, charities, foundations, nonprofits, and businesses who share your passion for environmental and social change.

  • Benefit from efficient, flexible giving
  • Invest in a fossil fuel-free investment portfolio
  • Leave a legacy or honor a loved one
  • Manage charitable giving from one place, minimizing costs and maximizing impact

“The fact that MakeWay has a northern presence is critical; we know who we’re working with and they understand the issues and the context for what solutions could or should look like.”

Debbie DeLancey
former Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services,
Government of Northwest Territories


The program supports northern leaders and initiatives, who are helping to build a stronger and more resilient North.

Learn more about the Northern Program

Killulark Arngna’naaq

Killulark Arngna’naaq
Northern Program Manager

Delma Autut

Delma Autut
Senior Associate,
Community Initiatives

Steve Ellis

Steve Ellis
Northern Program Lead

Lori Tagoona

Lori Tagoona
Senior Associate,
Inuit Nunangat

Emma Kreuger
Northern Program Specialist

Jasmine Netsena
Northern Program Specialist

Support the Northern Program