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 catalyzes the efforts of next-generation northern leaders, especially those who are Indigenous, to fulfill their leadership potential.
As partners we:
  • Support emerging leaders in their development of resilient civil society institutions
  • Facilitate broadening networks and secure human and financial resources to make change happen
  • Catalyze efforts to champion, develop, and implement sustainability, policy reform, and community well-being programming

Emerging northern leaders will establish institutions with the networks and resources necessary to positively influence policy and implement environmental and community well-being projects.

MakeWay supports Indigenous communities and institutions in their efforts to be the best caretakers of their marine and terrestrial homelands.
As partners we:
  • Build trusting relationships with Indigenous communities and institutions that are advancing land and water stewardship initiatives
  • Provide core and project support for these communities and institutions to advance their stewardship initiatives
  • Advise on best practices, either directly or through peer learning/networks and professional expertise
  • Foster collaboration amongst supported communities and institutions to amplify impact
  • Facilitate engagements and advocacy with public governments, philanthropy, and NGOs

Northern Indigenous communities and institutions will be able to effectively caretake their homelands by implementing their own research, monitoring, planning, and conservation priorities.

MakeWay helps accelerate local, diversified economies rooted in strong local cultures and healthy ecosystems.
As partners we:
  • Demonstrate the contemporary economic value of healthy ecosystems and Indigenous culture
  • Explore local economic pathways that uplift Indigenous culture and are reliant on healthy ecosystems
  • Generate knowledge that can be used to influence policy and practice in order to adapt economic development to changing ecosystems in a fair, just and self-determined manner

Local sustainable livelihood enterprises that deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits and keep wealth in the North.

MakeWay supports Northerners in their efforts to revitalize Indigenous ways of knowing and doing in order to sustain healthy cultures and build resilient communities.
As partners we:
  • Support community-led Indigenous culture and language revitalization
  • Support land-based experiences as a key pathway towards mental and physical health
  • Foster peer networks and knowledge sharing to amplify and scale successful approaches to revitalization

Strengthen Indigenous languages and cultures and share best practices across the North.

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 Specialist

Delma Autut

Delma Autut
Senior Associate,
Community Initiatives

Steve Ellis

Steve Ellis
Northern Program Lead

Lori Tagoona

Lori Tagoona
Senior Associate,
Inuit Nunangat

Support the Northern Program