On August 20th, Gord Downie asked
the nation to look North.

"Do something," he said.

What are you going to do?

It’s time for us to acknowledge communities white Canadians have been trained for decades to ignore. It’s time to do something. It’s time to start a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples.

Mike and Gord Downie, alongside the Wenjack family, have launched the Fund as a way to jumpstart this important work, starting today. Starting now.

The residential school system has had a lasting impact on the equity, wellbeing and rightful place of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. This fund is part of Gord Downie’s legacy, commitment and recognition of the wounds that will take seven generations to heal.

A contribution to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund is a catalyst. Contribute to the fund and be part of the movement to jumpstart reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.

Working together, we can end the pattern of misunderstanding, betrayal and ignorance shown to First Peoples.

Wenjack family

The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Legacy Room project is an opportunity for schools, businesses, restaurants and the corporate sector to answer Gord Downie’s call to action for reconciliation, “Do something,” and to help the Downie Wenjack Fund to support further reconciliACTION in Canada.

A Legacy Room is a space within an organization dedicated to reconciliation and showcases an organization’s commitment to our collective reconciliation journey. It is meant to be a place where conversations about reconciliation are encouraged and serves as a constant reminder for employees, clients and guests of your organization’s commitment to reconciliation.

To learn more about the program and sign up for your own Downie Wenjack Fund Legacy Room, download (9.8 MB) this information guide.

In the spirit of Gord’s call to action, “Do Something”, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund has focused on inspiring all Canadians (corporations, organizations, schools, individuals etc) to act in the name of reconciliation, to create and drive awareness around reconciliACTION.

Funding received from donors of the Downie-Wenjack Fund (DWF) is now being granted to community-based, grassroots, reconciliation projects as start-up catalyst funding to create much needed support and momentum in local communities and within organizations that otherwise might not have the resources to act.

Check out the form below for details on our Downie Wenjack Fund ReconciliACTION grants and to apply.

Apply Now

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The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund is part of Gord Downie’s legacy and embodies his commitment, and that of his family, to improving the lives of First Peoples. The Fund operates out of the Toronto Foundation is a project of the Tides Canada Shared Platform.

The Fund is focused on cross-cultural education to support healing and recovery. We need to better understand each other before we can truly reconcile. The Fund will foster new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples, while strengthening the voices and work of groups already making a difference.

Chanie Wenjack

Chanie Wenjack fell victim to Canada’s legacy of colonization of Indigenous Peoples. His story, tragically, is like so many stories of Indigenous children in this country. The Secret Path project began as ten poems written by Gord Downie, which were expanded into an album.

In 2014, Gord and Mike brought the music to comic artist Jeff Lemire for his help illustrating Chanie’s story, bringing him and the many children like him to life.

Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history—the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system—with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation.

Buy the album or book here.

The trauma and intergenerational trauma of the residential school system continues to this day. If you feel triggered by these materials, please seek support from one of these organizations:

Indian Residential Schools Survivor Society

Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program

Or call the 24-hour crisis line: 1-866-925-4419

For inquires and media requests related to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, please contact staff@downiewenjack.ca.

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