Manitoba government launches $15M endowment fund for MMIWG2S families

Families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit peoples (MMIWG2S) can expect more financial support from the Manitoba government as part of a new endowment fund announced Sunday.

In partnership with The Winnipeg Foundation, the provincial government is investing $15 million into the creation of a MMIWG2S Healing and Empowerment endowment fund that aims to help families who have lost their loved ones access the care they need.

“This endowment fund will also help support organizations that are Indigenous-led and that are working on the frontlines and working with MMIWG2S families,” said Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine.

Fontaine said her goal is to see the fund reach $50 million, which she hopes will include donations from the public, as well as corporate entities and businesses across Canada.

“Anybody that says that they believe in reconciliation, that they’re on the path of reconciliation, action that,” Fontaine said. “Invest in the endowment fund.”

Fontaine also said the fund will be available to families regardless of the minister in charge, or the government in power.

“Back in 2016, when there was a shift in government, all of the work that the previous NDP and myself as special advisor, all of the work that we had been working on just fell by the wayside,” Fontaine said. “We have to put in place an infrastructure, that still no matter what happens politically, the tides change, whatever it may be, that those resources and supports are still there for families.”

The announcement was one of several events scheduled for National Red Dress Day – a day that recognizes and commemorates MMIWG2S, observed annually on May 5.

Dozens of people gathered at Oodena Circle in downtown Winnipeg to participate in commemorative drumming, singing and prayer.

While Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Cathy Merrick welcomed the community support, she called on more action to help bring people’s loved ones home.

“We need justice for our women,” she said.

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