Northern Manitoba Food, Culture, and Community Collaborative

Forging stronger bonds with the people who do this heart work is something I can rely on and use for the rest of my life. We’re all in this together.

2019 Traditional Teachings & Traditional Foods Gathering Participant

Photo: Opaskwayak Culture and Healthy Living Initatives – Opaskwayak Cree Nation

Home  |  About NMFCCC


We support communities in Northern Manitoba to increase access to healthy food and to improve community health and community economic development. To do a good job of providing this support, we need to learn about and understand northern cultures, values, strengths, and challenges through respectful, mutual sharing of stories and ideas. 

The Northern Manitoba Food, Culture, And Community Collaborative is

A strategic collaboration of philanthropic funders, Northern Advisors, staff and communities that: 

  • Enables like-minded organizations to pool and provide money and resources to communities (collaborative funding model) 
  • Supports community-led solutions for strengthening food systems, culture, wellness, education opportunities and local economies 
  • Centers community voices, leadership, and knowledges
  • Supports learning and unlearning for funders (referred to as ‘Collaborators’ in the NMFCCC), staff, communities and Northern Advisors
  • Contributes to systems change through practice and evidence

The NMFCCC exists because

  • Communities in Northern Manitoba were receiving very little support from philanthropic sector despite many fundable opportunities and community needs
  • Communities asked that helper organizations work relationally and collaboratively
  • To serve Northern Manitoba, primarily Indigenous communities, to receive funding and wrap around supports and support philanthropic organizations to learn, self-reflect, and shift behaviors, and influence systems change
  • Philanthropic organizations wanted to share the risk and rewards of grant making in this region, extend their reach into the provincial boreal north, and share the benefit of dedicated staff and the power and joy of group (un)learning
  • Philanthropy needed to center community solutions, needs, voices, and create a tailor made approach for Northern Manitoba

Our Values


The nature of this collaborative is not transactional, but relational. We approach relationships in an interpersonal and interactive way and they are developed through conversations, community visits, and story sharing. Our relationships are not bound by project timelines or granting periods, and we build relationships for the long-term.


Participants (funders, community people, Northern Advisors, support organizations) give in return to each other’s efforts. This principle is rooted in a mutual respect for what each other has to give.


We recognize the impacts of history, and that healing and re-skilling will take a longer time horizon than most governments or funders typically consider. We recognize that slow but steady pacing will allow for communities and their local infrastructure to evolve in a sustainable and rooted way. Despite the urgency, fast may not be the best path, and may result in more damage than healing.


We all have wisdom to give, and to work together we have to understand each other. We can all grow when we listen to each other and understand each other. No one person/group has all of the answers and our understanding can always become deeper.


We seek to demonstrate to communities that we will extend support in a dependable and steadfast way as long as the partnership is sought. This could include grants, networking, problem solving, friendship, story sharing, and more. We value the commitments that community members make to each other and their work.


We work in partnership by pooling and sharing resources, knowledge, networks, and ideas. Rooted in the belief that we are stronger and have more potential when we work together.

Theory of Change

  • Is rooted in our values
  • Uses an opportunities-based lens 
  • Embraces a circular world view that shows continuous growth and learning
  • Empowers partners to recognize assumptions and expectations that reflect their decisions, actions and resulting accomplishments
  • Took 4 years of collective practice and understanding to develop
  • Was co-created by funders, Northern advisors, staff, and community members

It is important that all groups see themselves in this TOC and that we recognize it as a living document

Please contact us if you have any questions about the Theory of Change.

Consensus Based Decision Making

The NMFCCC believes in centering, understanding and supporting Indigenous ways of working. Making decisions using consensus is: 

Inclusive & Participatory:

All collaborative members are included and encouraged to participate. Group members can opt out based on their availability and interest.

Agreement Seeking:

We seek wide-spread or full agreement whenever possible.

Process Oriented:

We highlight the process of making decisions, not just the result. The way the decision is made is important.

Relationship Building:

Consensus decision-making builds group relationships through discussion. The effort to gain widespread agreement and include all perspectives is intended to support positive relationships between participants and make strong decisions. The resulting shared ownership of decisions and increased group cohesion can make implementation of decisions and future discussions proceed in an atmosphere of trust and cooperation.

Whole Group Thinking:

Consensus decision-making places value on individuals thinking about the good of the whole group. Participants are encouraged to voice their personal perspectives fully so that the group benefits from hearing all points of view. Participants are also expected to pay attention to the needs of the whole group. Ultimately, personal preferences are less important than a broader understanding of how to work together to help the group succeed.

NMFCCC Structure

NMFCCC structure mimics a web. Relationships; sharing of information and ideas; and benefits are connected. A web provides strength and is intended to support individuals, organizations and communities to contribute their experience and learn in beneficial ways.

MakeWay Foundation is proud to play a key role with the NMFCCC since 2012. We are a member of the collaborative and the administrative host. makeway.org



To achieve our goal, we take five main actions to support communities in Northern Manitoba to be healthier and stronger through mutually transformative partnerships.


Funds are pooled and  granting is consensus-based, and guided by community values.


Supporting community knowledge sharing gatherings in the territory and enable project leaders to self-represent in discussion and resolution processes concerning their communities. 

Collaborator (UN)Learning

Supporting collaborator (un)learning; with emphasis on multi-directional learning  to understand community opportunities and priorities and related colonial oppression.


Co-created, positive community stories are shared through multiple formats to inspire and demonstrate what is possible. 


Broadly share lessons learned to stimulate the creation of similar ecosystems of support (4 to date) and demonstrate through practice and evidence improved ways of working. 



Call or email us to share your idea and how we might be able to partner together.