Northern Development Announces Grant Writer Funding for First Nations

July 6, 2009

PRINCE GEORGE, BC – Northern Development Initiative Trust will be broadening its Grant Writing Support program to include 85 First Nations from central and northern BC. “The Grant Writing Support program ensures that communities and First Nations will be able to hire a grant writer to access programs and dollars from any funding source to provide needed investments in community infrastructure and services. This program has the highest return on investment of any program offered by Northern Development,” said Northern Development Chair Bruce Sutherland.

Over the past two years since the beginning of the program in 2007, 36 communities utilized $451,500 in Northern Development grants to hire 61 grant writers for four months each.  These grant writers applied for a total of $27.9 million in grants for small communities. Communities are achieving success rates of up to 91% in terms of grant applications made to the provincial and federal governments, charitable organizations, and other funders. For every $1 invested in the program, there is a potential of $62 to flow back to the community using the current program results that we have seen.

A pool of $405,000 will be available on a first come, first serve basis each year for communities and First Nations that hire a four month grant writer in the local area to write at least $200,000 in applications that will benefit community projects. So far in 2009, 28 communities and First Nations have committed to hiring 28 grant writers and rebates for 26 more community and First Nations positions are still available.

Members of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations visit the winter
earth lodge at the traditional village they constructed with grants.

At the end of the four month term, after communities and First Nations demonstrate that the applications to various funders were made and that they paid at least $10,000 to the grant writer, Northern Development will issue a cheque for $7,500 to the local government or band council. These jobs are ideal for university or college students returning home for the summer as well as retired community members who want to continue to take an active role in the well being of the community.

Another benefit will be a strengthening of teamwork and relationships between community economic development managers and First Nations as they work together on growing the regional economy. Grant writing support is available from Northern Development and a wealth of funding resource information can be accessed at

Applications have been approved for the Nicomen Indian Band, Gitwangak, Takla Lake and the T’it’q’et First Nations for a four month grant writer. The Grant Writing Support application letter and application guide can be found at

“If we see as much success by First Nations grant writers as we have seen through positions funded for communities and regional districts, it may not be long before we are looking for a corporate partner to help expand the program,” said Janine North, Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Gordon Sebastian, Executive Director of the Gitxsan Hereditary Chief’s Society has seen their grant applications be successful with Northern Development. “This is a program ideally suited to the talented students that come back to our community in the summer on their break from studies at the University of Northern British Columbia and Northwest Community College. We have such high unemployment, and although this is only one job, it will make a tremendous difference in gaining funding for initiatives like the Watershed Sustainability Planning that the Chiefs want to undertake.”

Past Mayor Jack Talstra, Chief Councillor Glenn Bennet and an elder of the
Kitselas First Nation attend the grand opening of the Terrace Sportsplex, 2008,
which was expanded in large part through community grants.

Northern Development is currently reviewing the landslide of applications received in the very popular federal stimulus , and looks forward to an expanded Grant Writing Support program strengthening the ability of the region to access funding in similar funding programs.

Media Contacts:

Janine North
Chief Executive Officer
Northern Development Initiative Trust
Telephone:  250.561.2525

About Northern Development Initiative Trust

Northern Development is an independent regional economic development corporation focused on stimulating economic growth and job creation in central and northern British Columbia. Over $50 million in funding has been committed to 353 projects with a total project value of over $335 million. 34 projects have either direct or indirect First Nations funding or support totalling $6.5 million of Northern Development support for a total project investments of $43.1 million. 13.6% of all approved amounts lead to direct or indirect support for First Nations projects. There are now 10 manufacturing industry expansions approved under the Capital Investment and Training Rebate program creating over 600 jobs over the next two years.