Ashoka Canada

“Changemakers Initiative: Inspiring Approaches to First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learning” Grant


The Counselling Foundation of Canada awarded a two-year grant to Ashoka Canada in 2010 as part of a collaborative initiative with The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative to gather and showcase ideas and/or projects that support Aboriginal learners in Canada. Ashoka is a global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs – individuals with system-changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems. It elects social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows across the world. Ashoka Canada offers four programs: The Venture & Fellowship program,, the Ashoka Support Network(ASN) and the Learning Networks Program.

The Foundation provided strategic support throughout the life-cycle of this project which brought together over 20 different project partners and supporting organizations including philanthropic foundations, Aboriginal organizations, corporations and citizen sector organizations. The online Changemakers Initiative Inspiring Approaches to First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learning launched in October 2011 and closed in January 2012. It ultimately surfaced 266 ideas and projects from early childhood education to career training and professional development. A Summit was held in April, 2012 that celebrated the 33 Award Winners who shared over $90,000 in prizes.

Four information documents were developed as a consequence of this Changemakers Initiative:

Pre-Competition Discovery Framework
An in-depth analysis of the issues facing First Nations, Métis and Inuit learners was conducted prior to the launch of the Changemakers Initiative. The findings from this exercise served as a hypothesis & screening guide for the online competition.


Post-Competition Discovery Framework
This document maps the innovations surfaced in the Changemakers Initiative into a “grid” to identify patterns, gaps, clusters and opportunities.


Follow-Up Survey Findings: Impacts of the Changemakers Initiative
The Counselling Foundation of Canada, on behalf of Ashoka Canada’s Changemakers Initiative, undertook two complementary online surveys to determine if/how this initiative influenced the project participants (Entrants and Award Winners) and project stakeholders (Award Sponsors, Network Partners and Partners) in the work that they do to support Aboriginal learners in Canada. This report provides a brief summary about some of what was learned from these related surveys.


The Road to the Summit: Inspiring Approaches to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Learning
The Ontario Trillium Foundation funded a developmental evaluation of the Changemakers Initiative.