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Technical Service Grant Case Study: Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA) | ICE Network

Technical Service Grant Case Study: Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA)

Technical Service Grant Case Study: Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA)

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Technical Service Grant Case Study: Clean Energy Learning and Funding Support for the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA)

"Infrastructure is more than just infrastructure. Nothing ever stands alone in a Friendship Centre, it’s always connected."

Tracy Zweifel, ANFCA Program Manager

The Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA) is the provincial association to twenty-one member Friendship Centres that provides culturally relevant programs and services to urban Indigenous people across Alberta. Through Indigenous Clean Energy’s Technical Service Grant program, the ANFCA was awarded $7,000 in funding for an introductory workshop on clean energy, technical writing, and funding applications. Cambium Indigenous Professional Services (CIPS), which is an Indigenous consulting firm based in Curve Lake First Nation, was the service provider for this grant.

In November 2021, CIPS hosted a recorded workshop for ANFCA staff and executive directors of Friendship Centres to provide fundamental green energy learning on climate change, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. The objective of the workshop was to build the technical literacy of Friendship Centres’ staff to help them apply for infrastructure grants. CIPS was focused on the technical writing and application process of the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GCIB) program, which is a five-year, $1.5 billion fund offered by Infrastructure Canada. The program supports green retrofits, repairs or upgrades of existing public community buildings, and the construction of new community buildings that serve the needs of underserved communities across Canada.

Tracy Zweifel, ANFCA program manager, shares that the Technical Service Grant and the CIPS workshop supported Friendship Centres for the technical writing of the GCIB application. She says that while “every Friendship Centre is unique,” many of them require major infrastructure funding to bring their buildings up to date and make them safer and more accessible. Tracy shares that despite Friendship Centres’ “dire need for solid green infrastructure,” they often encounter barriers when applying for grants that require technical knowledge and expertise. 

Many organizations do not have the additional funding or access to hire a grant writer with this skill set. Without the Technical Service Grant and the connection to CIPS, “some of the grants are too specialized for the average individual,” Tracy says. She asserts that the workshop has reduced stress around green energy infrastructure grant writing and increased access to funding. Currently, Friendship Centres are in different stages of grant writing and applying to the GCIB, and some of them have already applied. Tracy expresses her gratitude for Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) and the Technical Service Grant program for helping the association navigate the process: “instead of searching to no avail, you go through ICE and find exactly what you need.”

For Tracy, the workshop from CIPS is the drop in the water that will have countless ripple effects. By increasing energy literacy, Friendship Centres will be able to access infrastructure funding, reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions, and have more money to devote to programming for their Indigenous communities.

Once the Friendship Centres secure funding for energy retrofits and building upgrades, Friendship Centres will “share the knowledge forward” with Elders, youth, and community members. Tracy hopes to share the ANFCA’s experiences, challenges, and successes with other organizations.

To learn more about the ANFCA’s commitment to sustainability and climate action, watch their video on stewardship.

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