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Event: Feb 20-21 – NAFC's Urban Indigenous Social Economy Forum


On February 20-21, 2024, the National Association of Friendship Centres’ Urban Indigenous Social Economy Forum aims to amplify the voices of community-driven urban Indigenous social economy initiatives, to educate the social innovation/social finance (SI/SF) sector on the unique needs of urban Indigenous social purpose organizations, and to share creative and novel insights to advance the work of the social economy ecosystem. We seek to unite changemakers and visionaries from across industries and sectors to reimagine inclusive, sustainable, and equitable futures informed by urban Indigenous perspectives. The Forum will highlight the diverse and invaluable work of Friendship Centres (FCs) and urban Indigenous social purpose organizations who are working to foster economic and social prosperity for and by Indigenous Peoples in urban communities. By doing so, the Forum aims to amplify the unique insights, experiences, and ideas that will strengthen collective impact to reimagine the future of the social economy.


With growing socio-economic and environmental challenges, social purpose organizations have emerged as vital catalysts for achieving and localizing Sustainable Development Goals. Despite recent significant investments in social purpose organizations across the country, urban Indigenous participation in the SI/SF ecosystem continues to encounter many historical and systemic barriers that impede progress on achieving our collective vision for an equitable and resilient future. Yet, the active participation and vision of urban Indigenous organizations and communities will be crucial to ensure that the SI/SF system is a relevant and effective mechanism, while also ensuring equitable access to capital to address some of the most complex and pertinent social challenges.

Today, policies and practices continue to uphold institutional and systemic barriers for urban Indigenous peoples resulting in wealth inequities, which are present in the persistent underfunding and lack of investments in urban Indigenous communities that exacerbates socio-economic outcomes. Despite historically limited investments in urban Indigenous social purpose organizations, these organizations persevere to advance meaningful action and impact to support the economic and social prosperity of urban Indigenous peoples and communities.

As an Investment Readiness Program funding partner, the NAFC has aimed to boost urban Indigenous participation in the social economy. Since 2019, the NAFC has supported nearly 100 urban Indigenous social purpose organizations, with an astonishing 70% of projects led by Indigenous women, to increase their capacities to join the SI/SF ecosystem. Specifically, the NAFC brings together FCs, Provincial/Territorial Associations, and other social purpose organizations across the country to support the development of Indigenous-led social enterprises addressing the needs of urban Indigenous peoples and communities. Working alongside key partners in the social economy ecosystem, the NAFC aims to support the growth of collective intergenerational wealth and prosperity for urban Indigenous communities, ensuring Indigenous peoples and communities have access to capital and resources to achieve economic and social prosperity on their own terms.

CLICK HERE to read more and register now.