Building and Sustaining Success: Coast Funds’ 2017-19 Strategic Plan

Coast Funds 2017-19 Strategic Plan
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In 2016, Coast Funds engaged with First Nations communities and leaders throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii regarding key decisions ahead. Most importantly, we heard unanimous support for the decision to continue the economic development fund beyond 2017. Over this period, we also continued our discussions with First Nations regarding the long-term financial sustainability of the conservation fund to support continuity of stewardship initiatives for future generations throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

These discussions helped shape Coast Funds’ 2017-2019 Strategic Plan by establishing a number of new strategic objectives:

Building a Resilient Coastal Economy

As we move forward with the economic development fund, Coast Funds is keenly focused on supporting First Nations to:

  1. Develop projects that grow and diversify a sustainable coastal economy on both local and regional scales;
  2. Enhance economic infrastructure that supports entrepreneurial businesses and improves community access to regional markets; and
  3. Create and expand community-owned enterprises and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain and improve permanent employment and skills development across the coast.

We are committed to fully investing the economic development fund into communities over the next few years.  As we complete the mandate of this fund, our Board and staff will maintain our high level of responsiveness to communities and will ensure the continued cost effectiveness of our operations.

Developing and Sustaining Permanent Conservation

Moving forward with the conservation fund, Coast Funds strategic objectives are focused on supporting First Nations to:

  1. Strengthen capacity to lead conservation activities and collaborate in regional stewardship initiatives;
  2. Continue development of sustainable, collaborative, and integrated resource management programs; and
  3. Develop a long-term vision with respect to the intergenerational sustainability of the endowment fund.

Nearing its first decade of operations, the conservation fund was created to provide permanent conservation financing to First Nations throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.  Over the past nine years, communities have initiated a range of conservation projects and created a number of integrated stewardship programs to guide ecosystem-based resource management across the coast.

Communities continue to require significant annual financial investment in these stewardship programs as well as specific conservation research and habitat restoration projects. Many communities rely primarily on the conservation fund to support these efforts.  However, in its present form the conservation fund will not sustain stewardship programs at existing levels in perpetuity.  This is due to many factors, including the steady impact of inflation on stewardship programs and the endowment over the long term.

In 2017, Coast Funds will initiate dialogue with First Nations leaders, stewardship directors, and their technical staff to discuss each community’s vision with respect to the intergenerational sustainability of the conservation fund. Together we will develop a path forward that sustains the fund for future generations.

Continuous Learning and Sharing Knowledge

Moving forward to support ongoing strengthening of community and regional capacity, Coast Funds’ strategic objectives are focused on supporting First Nations to:

  1. Document how conservation and economic development projects were planned and implemented, the community capacity that was developed, and advice for other First Nations based on lessons learned;
  2. Proactively share project stories and facilitate peer mentoring and knowledge sharing between First Nations communities to build long-term regional capacity; and
  3. Demonstrate how projects are strengthening community well-being on local and regional scales by analysing and publishing environmental, social, economic, and cultural outcomes.

For a number of years now, Coast Funds has published Talking Stick in coastal First Nation communities.  In 2016, we started delving deeper with First Nations into the projects Coast Funds has supported.  This work was to determine how we can support First Nations’ continued capacity building by sharing the knowledge gained from the implementation of projects since inception of the funds.

In 2016, we published ten in-depth feature stories with substantial online resources and direct access to First Nations leaders who are making themselves available to other First Nations who are interested in their projects.  Coast Funds launched a new digital platform (www.coastfunds.ca) that is designed to make access to First Nations’ online resources and personal stories freely available.  We are already seeing how these resources help to connect communities, building capacity by taking the lessons learned from past projects to new places and enabling peer mentoring. We will continue to collaborate with communities to tell their stories and to share resources online and in the Talking Stick.

Coast Funds’ Board and staff are looking forward to working with First Nations as we deliver on these strategic objectives from now through the end of 2019.

Download the full 2017-2019 Strategic Plan, and for more information about Coast Funds, visit www.coastfunds.ca.