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Anishnawbe Health Foundation Campaign Celebrates Reaching a Critical Milestone To Help Meet The Health Care And Spiritual Needs Of The Urban Indigenous Community In Toronto

Anishnawbe Health Foundation Campaign Celebrates Reaching a Critical Milestone To Help Meet The Health Care And Spiritual Needs Of The Urban Indigenous Community In Toronto

Lead Campaign Donors who have helped the Foundation’s campaign raise 65% of its $10 million Goal Honoured

TORONTO, Ontario – In Canada, less than 1% of charitable donations support Indigenous initiatives.  On Monday, November 25, Anishnawbe Health Foundation (AHF) honoured a circle of donors who are changing this narrative by investing in a campaign to build a new Health Centre and reclaim Traditional Healing practices for the Indigenous Community in Toronto.

The fundraising campaign is one of the largest in support of urban Indigenous people. To date, Anishnawbe Health Foundation has raised $6.5 million toward a $10 million goal. The celebratory event, which took place Monday, November 25 at the Gardiner Museum, honoured all supporters, with special recognition of donors who have contributed $100,000 or more.

Colonization has had a traumatic impact on Indigenous peoples including loss of land, culture, and family life through the residential school system and the ‘60s Scoop’.  This has led to a loss of identity with numerous health ramifications. Over 70,000 Indigenous people, representing one third of Ontario’s Indigenous population, live in Toronto. They are among the most vulnerable in the city, with high levels of poverty, chronic disease, homelessness, trauma, mental health issues and addiction.

 

For over 30 years, Anishnawbe Health Toronto (AHT) has worked to support physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health by offering traditional healing within a multidisciplinary healthcare model.  Today, AHT is the most accessed Indigenous service in Toronto with more than 29,000 visits per year. Currently, it operates out of three facilities which are overcrowded, outdated and a challenge for infection control and client privacy.

Joe Hester, Executive Director of Anishnawbe Health Toronto, says “Connecting to culture and identity is at the core of what we do.  With the guidance of healers, medicine people and ceremony, we are helping First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to find a good path in life.  Donor support is an important part of helping us to do this work.”

The first project of the $10 million campaign is to help fund a new home for Anishnawbe Health Toronto.  Highlights of the new facility include:

  • A purpose-built facility with connection to land, light and ceremony that will bring all of the current locations of AHT into one location with easy transit access
  • First Peoples landscape including indigenous plants, healing gardens and therapeutic spaces
  • Sweat lodge, ceremonial grounds and related facilities at the heart of the facility
  • Additional group meeting and counselling space to support sharing circles that are central to Indigenous traditions and programs
  • Dedicated space for a teaching kitchen, physiotherapy and health promotion to allow for hands-on healthy cooking demonstrations and space for exercise programs
  • Child assessment and play therapy facilities to assess and treat cognitive and neurodevelopment problems as part of a new Child, Family and Youth Unit
  • Space for expanded services including an Indigenous Palliative Care service and a program for Two Spirit LGBTQ Clients

Designed by Stantec with Two Row Architects from Six Nations, the new Health Centre is on-track to break ground in 2020.

“Our family is honoured to be involved with this vital campaign to support healing and reconciliation in our city,” said Alex and Brad Krawczyk of The Krawczyk Family Foundation, lead donors to the campaign. “Through Alex’s work as a public health nurse, we have seen first-hand the work that Anishnawbe Health Toronto does to address the barriers to good health including poverty, homelessness and trauma.”

Andre Morriseau, Anishnawbe Health Foundation Chair, says, “We have been gratified by the outpouring of support from the Toronto community. Over 1,600 people to date have contributed– individuals, interfaith groups, community organizations, family foundations, labour unions, corporations and of course, members of the Indigenous community.”

ABOUT ANISHNAWBE HEALTH TORONTO AND ANISHNAWBE HEALTH FOUNDATION

Anishnawbe Health Toronto is a fully accredited Community Health Centre in downtown Toronto.  Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in spirit, mind, emotion and body, by providing traditional healing within a multi-disciplinary health care model.  Since 1987, Anishnawbe Health Toronto has been the only provider of western medical services and traditional healing services to a rapidly growing, urban Indigenous population.

Anishnawbe Health Foundation is a registered charity that supports the work of Anishnawbe Health Toronto in building a strong, healthy urban Indigenous community. Its inaugural campaign is raising $10 million to support a new home for Anishnawbe Health Toronto and programs to foster the reclamation and restoration of traditional healing practices.  For more information, visit www.supportanishnawbe.ca.

B-Roll interviews available at:  http://bit.ly/2XLfjjy

Interviews include:

  • Joe Hester, Executive Director, Anishnawbe Health Toronto – :05
  • Alex Krawczyk, President, The Krawczyk Family Foundation, Lead Campaign Donor – 2:02
  • Dr. Chandrakant P. Shah, Honorary Consulting Physician, AHT, Anishnawbe Health Foundation Director and Major Donor – 3:14
  • James Carpenter, Traditional Healer, Anishnawbe Health Toronto – 7:10
  • Jennifer Downie, Client, Anishnawbe Health Toronto – 9:49
  • Cherie Brant, Vice-Chair, Anishnawbe Health Foundation, AHT Client & Major Donor  – 11:26
  • Andre Morriseau, Chair, Anishnawbe Health Foundation – 12:43

For further media information or to set up an interview, please contact:

Angel Miller
Manager, Communications and Events
Anishnawbe Health Foundation
(416) 920-2605 ext. 552
(416) 843-1295 – mobile
[email protected] 

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