Leading By Walking Around – Community Listening Tour 1.0

Below is a first-person blog post from CFNL’s Executive Director, Nicole Dawe, about her recent travels around the island of Newfoundland as part of her work for the foundation. 

Many people shared a lot of wisdom with me when I stepped into this role as Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was my first time in a role like this, and it also brought me and my family over 5,000 kilometres from Calgary back home to Newfoundland and Labrador. I’m so grateful for all of the support and kindness that was a vital part of me and my family making this big transition. 

One piece of advice that stuck with me was from a dear friend and mentor, Ken Lima-Coelho – Lead By Walking Around. Essentially, this means getting out of your office and prioritizing spending time with the people who bring things to life in your organization and community. This resonated with how I’d seen members of my family show up in the community and the stories I’d heard of CFNL’s founder and its Honorary Chair, Dr. Peter Roberts, spending time at kitchen tables in the areas he worked in. The tricky part about bringing this to life is I was now striving to steward an organization that served a province over 400,000 square kilometres in size with many communities along our 29,000 kilometres of coastline. 

Enter Community Listening Tour 1.0. 

The community listening tour would be a chance to spend time in communities across the province, getting to know the people and places in a way you just can’t over Zoom. 

In addition to struggling with the geography of this place, I have the added privilege of being a Mom to a four-year-old and a partner to my husband, too. We landed on the West Coast and the Great Northern Peninsula for the first Community Listening Tour. My partner spent his childhood and teenage years in these areas but hadn’t returned in almost two decades. This meant it would be a fulfilling trip for us as a family and him, as we knew he would have to inevitably act as the lead parent while we were on the road. This was important for all of us as we tried to find the dance between me being able to get out and about to meet with people doing magical things in communities across the province and our family’s priorities and needs. 

We set off in June for three weeks, travelling to the other side of our wonderful island. 

What I loved

This place and the people who call it home. This place is stunning. Each community has so much of its own sense of itself, and you can only really get that by being there in person. So many community folks give so much of themselves to make magic happen in their community. I learned so many things, including that West Coast lobster tastes different than the lobster from the Burin Peninsula that I usually ate. They are both amazing and have been shaped by the different places and waters they call home (what a wise lesson from Lobsters). Time spent with community folks was especially lovely if we could spend time outside or eating together (usually seafood) and sharing stories of what brought us to our work and what we’re excited or anxious about right now. 

Living, working and playing as a family. By going as a family, we got to experience these places in a different way than if I’d gone on my own. We got to experience and connect with people at playgrounds, in libraries and on beaches. I can more deeply appreciate stories, grant applications, reporting, etc., from spending time there, and I deepened or sparked relationships that will allow us to welcome more people representing more places and perspectives into CFNL’s work. I also didn’t have to feel split between spending time with my daughter and partner and doing the work I love, which is forever a tension I’m trying to balance. 

What I learned

People are holding a lot. Whether people were staff or volunteers, one thing I heard from nearly everyone is that they are anxious about how this work keeps going. Whether it’s insufficient or inconsistent financial resources or being able to support staff and volunteers to do this work in a sustainable way, a lot of community folks are being asked to hold a lot even after they held so much during the height of the pandemic. 

We need to tell fuller stories. Once you turn north from Deer Lake, you’re on the Viking Trail, the name of the highway that heads up the Great Northern Peninsula. Though Vikings are something very unique on the northernmost end of this highway, this part of our province has an immense amount of history over many millennia that doesn’t feel as prominently told as the story of these Viking visitors who only stayed for a few decades. From thousands of years of many Indigenous communities living in these areas to the substantial French presence that has shaped these communities and is still very present today, the people, place and creatures that make up this part of the province have always had an immense amount of diversity, and it would be wonderful to see this more represented in how we name things and the stories we tell ourselves and that end up in our education system. 

I’m trying to have these Community Listening Tours as an ongoing part of my work. You can expect to see me spending time in other places, and I’m always open to invites or ideas on when to visit. 

Thank you to the many people who helped to make this happen. From folks who opened up time in their schedule with me for wonderful conversation to others who spent the time to suggest who I might add to my list of connections, and especially to my family for always making space in our lives for adventures like this. 

Thank you to our fund holders in these areas and the following organizations for welcoming me into their community. 

CFNL To Support 28 Organizations Through Community Services Recovery Fund

Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (CFNL) is proud to have worked with community foundations across Canada as part of the Community Services Recovery Fund. This fund is a collaboration between the Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada, and United Way Centraide Canada to provide funding to Community Service Organizations, including non-profit organizations, Indigenous Governing Bodies or Registered Charities located in Canada. The Community Services Recovery Fund responds to what Community Service Organizations need right now and supports organizations as they adapt to the long-term impacts of the pandemic.

The Community Services Recovery Fund is a one-time investment from the Government of Canada of $400 million to help community service organizations (charities, non-profits, Indigenous governing bodies) adapt, modernize and be better equipped to improve the efficacy, accessibility and sustainability of the community services that they provide through the pandemic recovery and beyond.

This was a competitive process with over 60 applications requesting over $3 million. The following projects are being supported in Newfoundland and Labrador through CFNL with $1,243,000 investment. You can learn more about projects funded through the United Way of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Canadian Red Cross here and here

Organization Amount Funded Project Description
Alexander Murray Hiking Trail $70,500 Develop an annual Fundraising strategy which includes budget projections with resource and timeline details.
All Saints Anglican Parish Conception Bay South $31,320 Procure and install a computerized GIS-based Cemetery Management System containing all current paper records, maps and financial data.
Baccalieu Trail SPCA Inc. $55,000 Engage a qualified consultant to provide analysis, strategy, direction, design and implementation of a comprehensive marketing strategy and financial sustainability plan.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Newfoundland $44,875 Digital and Data Transformation to safeguard client files, maximize time spent on program delivery and allow for better connections with program alumni.
Bridges to Hope $64,350 Plan and implement a Fund Development Strategy to identify new opportunities while improving donor relations and stewardship.
Canadian Hard of Hearing Association Newfoundland and Labrador (CHHA-NL) $15,000 Development of a Client Information & Management System that will improve client information intake and case management, enhance loans of hearing assistive technology, inventory control and security for remote work and streamline reports, statistical management and database management.
Clarenville Nordic Ski Club Inc. $11,854 Modernize and simplify operational processes with the aim of mitigating the effects of the loss of revenue and increased demands on volunteers.
Exploits Valley Community Coalition $60,950 Governance review for organizational resilience, a new internal and external communications plan and exploring the merger with other community support organizations.
Gander and Area SPCA Inc. $58,690 Modernize the organization by creating a brand and establishing integral communication approaches, as well as developing improved and sustainable systems for generating stable revenue.
Harbour AUTHORITY of Rose Blanche and Harbour Le cou $11,500 Digital transformation of accounting system to allow access to customer files and to enhance electronic communication and processes.
Intervale Associates Inc. $32,070 Develop a comprehensive set of policies relating to employment standards, health and the workplace environment.
Logy Bay Development Association Inc. $10,227 Purchase video conferencing equipment to allow meetings and community programs to be held virtually or in a hybrid format.
MacMorran Community Centre $11,673 Branding audit and evaluation to redefine the community’s understanding of the diverse program and service offerings that make MacMorran much more than a “community centre.”
Southern Avalon Senior Citizens Housing Assoc. $17,660 Enhance electronic communications with the purchase of video conferencing equipment and training.
Mokami Status of Women Council $82,500 Evaluate trauma-informed practices across MSWC, prioritizing staff collective care to address burnout and vicarious trauma.
Mushuau Innu First Nation $100,000 An information technology assessment and digital roadmap project will review the current technology used by the First Nation and develop a roadmap and plan to modernize the delivery of social services in the community.
Newfoundland & Labrador Public Sector Pensioners’ Association $12,355 Equip the board room of the Association with the necessary digital infrastructure to conduct virtual and in-person meetings and events.
Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra $33,000 Install an orchestra management system which will link all functional departments and groups across the organization.
Norris Arm Heritage Society $68,650 Install a POS system, update the accounting and payroll system and create an inventory control system.
Shallaway Youth Choir $44,000 Redesign of the choir’s website, with the goal of making it more user-friendly and engaging for diverse youth, parents and audiences.
Shorefast $75,000 Expand fundraising infrastructure to support a growing team of fundraisers. Focus will include prospect research, pipeline development and management, CRM capabilities and articulating funding priorities.
St. Gabriel’s Hall Inc. $77,000 Enhance the organization’s capacity to plan and host events in partnership with organizations promoting diversity, equality, and environmental stewardship.
St. John’s Minor Baseball Association $13,000 Update accounting processes to allow for more time to be spent on programming and less on administration.
St. John’s Tool Library Inc. $15,000 Affix durable anodized aluminum tags onto all “tag-friendly” tools and program them into an asset management system via myTurn.com.
St. Lawrence Anglican Church $15,000 Additional shelving, fridges and displays to meet the increased demands at its Thrift Store and Pop Up Pantry Food Bank.
The Gathering Place Inc. $100,000 Streamline, strengthen, and secure a Digital Guest Database, providing pertinent safety and programming information to Guest Support Workers and Guests while accurately capturing data.
Tuckamore Festival $39,826 Implement a digital content management strategy to develop audiences and promote our performance and education activities online.
Wonderbolt Productions Inc $72,000 Revamp, expand and improve the organization’s systemic infrastructure, strategic planning and overall resilience, including a comprehensive review of governance and work processes.

Join Us – 2023 CFNL Board Nominations (Extended to April 14)

CFNL is recruiting members to join its board of directors. 

New members have an exciting opportunity to shape an organization with national relevance while grounding it in the beauty and strengths of the people who call Newfoundland and Labrador home and the place that’s given us all so much. 

The organization’s priorities over the next 3-5 years are: 

  1. Ensure that decision-making at the board and committee level is representative of the communities we serve and embedded in inclusivity and equity. 
  2. Evolve CFNL’s Donor Services and Granting to allow people to give in ways that have meaning to them and the greatest positive difference in the community. 
  3. Enhance CFNL’s community leadership, including Vital Signs, to best support the community in achieving an equitable and sustainable future. 

About The Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

The Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador’s (CFNL) vision is thriving Newfoundland and Labrador communities where everyone belongs. We support this by stewarding funds and connecting diverse people, ideas and resources.  

Established in 2001, CFNL stewards more than $2 million in philanthropic investment for the benefit of the province. We’re part of Community Foundations of Canada (CFC), the national network for Canada’s 200+ community foundations that, combined, holds $7 billion in resources and reaches 90 percent of the country’s geography. 

Our work takes place in three areas:

  1. Donor Services – stewarding 39 funds on behalf of donors and charities. 
  2. Granting – Making grants from funds stewarded by CFNL and through granting partnerships as part of the Community Foundations of Canada network. 
  3. Community Leadership – Connecting diverse people, ideas and resources through initiatives like Vital Signs NL and participating in a wide array of local, regional and national conversations about the community sector and philanthropy.  

Sharing Your Gifts

Our Board works as a team, and each member has different experiences and skills. We are looking for the following to add to the existing board’s strengths. 

  • Investment expertise 
  • Marketing and communications expertise
  • Experience in the community sector or social innovation
  • Fund development expertise
  • Lived experience not already represented at the Board table (especially folks who live outside the Northeast Avalon, are under 40, and/or identify as being part of an equity-deserving community such as racialized or Indigenous persons, 2SLGBTQIA+ persons, persons with disabilities)

All Board members should have the following:

  • 5-10 hours per month to dedicate to CFNL work over a 3-year term
  • A commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in their personal and professional lives. 

NOTE: Applications from people anywhere in Newfoundland and Labrador or who are connected to the province are welcome. Meetings are conducted remotely or in a hybrid format. 

Share Your Interest By April 14 (Note deadline extension)

We ask all applicants to answer these questions as part of their expression of interest:

  1. Why are you interested in CFNL’s mission and its work? 
  2. Tell us what skills and experience you can contribute to the Board. See above for a list of current priority skillsets and backgrounds. 

Submit your expression of interest by April 14, 2023 (note – deadline extension). You can use any of the following formats

  • 1-2 page letter – submit to info@cfnl.ca
  • 3-5 minute video recording – submit to info@cfnl.ca as an attachment or link.
  • A recorded conversation with the Executive Director by phone or zoom (approximately 20 minutes) – contact Nicole Dawe at ndawe@cfnl.ca or (709) 221-1030 or book a time here before April 14. 
  • Optional – Submit a resume or CV. 

Selected applicants will be notified within eight weeks of the deadline and brought forward as a slate of nominations at CFNL’s June AGM. 

$35,350 of Support To End The Year

Thank you so much for your support as part of the CFNL community this year. It’s been a trying year for many with the ongoing pandemic and increasing strains on individual and organizational finances with rising inflation. We’re extra appreciative this year that you’ve included CFNL in your community service. 

In the last two months, CFNL has provided $35,350 in grants and awards to communities across Newfoundland and Labrador. These funds will support many causes and initiatives that are making our province an even better place. This wouldn’t be possible without your commitment as a donor, volunteer, and community leader. Thank you for your generosity. You can find more details on the grants, scholarships, and awards below. 

We continue to work with Rotary Clubs and members across NL to support recovery and rebuilding on the Southwest Coast due to the devastation of Hurricane Fiona this fall. To date, we’ve raised nearly $20,000. If you have the capacity, you can include the fund in your giving this holiday season by donating here

We’ll hit the ground running in 2023 to facilitate the Community Services Recovery Fund along with our partners, United Way of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Canadian Red Cross. Please feel free to share this funding opportunity with others in your network. 

On behalf of the staff and board at CFNL, we wish you and yours a restful and joyful holiday season. 

Nicole and Elizabeth


Smart and Caring Fund

Donor Funds


Community Services Recovery Fund Launches

Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador takes part in the Community Services Recovery Fund – a $400 million investment in charities and non-profits 

Now more than ever, charities and non-profits are playing a key role in addressing persistent and complex social problems faced by all Canadians. The Community Services Recovery Fund is a $400 million investment from the Government of Canada to support charities and non-profits as they focus on how to adapt their organizations for pandemic recovery.

Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador is proud to be working with community foundations across Canada as part of the Community Services Recovery Fund. This fund is a collaboration between Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada, and United Way Centraide Canada to provide funding to Community Service Organizations including non-profit organizations, Indigenous Governing Bodies and Registered Charities located in Canada. The Community Services Recovery Fund responds to what charities and non-profits need right now and supports organizations as they adapt to the long-term impacts of the pandemic.

Community Service Organizations can apply from January 6, 2023, until February 21, 2023.  Visit www.communityservicesrecoveryfund.ca to find out more about how to apply, explore resources for applicants, and sign up for upcoming webinars. The first webinar will take place on December 6, 2022 at 2pm (ET). Register for this webinar here.