(TORONTO, ON) September 30, 2022 — Today, Hudson’s Bay Foundation and the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) are proud to launch Oshki Wupoowane | The Blanket Fund.Moving forward, 100 per cent of net proceeds from the sale of all HBC point blankets will go to Indigenous Peoples. The Ojibwe “Oshki Wupoowane”, “a new blanket” in English, was chosen as the name of The Blanket Fund in collaboration with Chanie Wenjack’s family.
Oshki Wupoowane | The Blanket Fund will provide support for Indigenous cultural, artistic and educational activities. Offered through two different grant streams, The Blanket Fund can be accessed by both grassroots Indigenous communities and organizations, and by Indigenous individuals undertaking related initiatives. For organization grants, the focus will be on capacity building, and funding to support individual initiatives will ensure continued local impacts in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across the country.
This new partnership will enable Hudson’s Bay Foundation to direct proceeds from the blanket sales to DWF, who will administer the funding. Funding recipients will be identified through a community process, whereby applicants participate in the prioritization of initiatives. With this announcement, Hudson’s Bay Foundation is pleased to announce a $1 million contribution to kick off the official launch of Oshki Wupoowane | The Blanket Fund.
“Our partnership with Hudson’s Bay Foundation in the creation of Oshki Wupoowane | The Blanket Fund is a meaningful action that ultimately increases awareness and understanding of the true history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and is an important ReconciliACTION,” statedSarah Midanik, President & CEO, The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. “This Fund will support Indigenous-led initiatives and will create opportunities throughout Canada for Indigenous people, communities and organizations to build capacity, tell their own stories, and elevate the strength of their communities. This work helps to acknowledge and share more about the defining role HBC played in colonization and is a meaningful step forward on the path toward truth and reconciliation.”
The HBC Point Blanket has been called many things throughout its history: an essential trade item, an enduring emblem of Canada, a carrier of disease, and a symbol of colonialism. Acknowledging the many layers of symbolism the blanket embodies in history, art, pop culture, and commerce is an integral part of The Bay’s Truth & Reconciliation journey.
“The HBC point blanket is a powerful representation of the company's history, and it factors into many different stories and connections to our past,” says Iain Nairn, President and CEO of The Bay. “Oshki Wupoonwane | The Blanket Fund very deliberately focuses on grassroots efforts to impact change, and partnering with DWF to ensure the Fund is administered by an Indigenous-led organization with national reach, is a critical component. Today’s action is part of many we are taking to reconcile with Indigenous communities.”
DWF will begin accepting applications for Oshki Wupoowane | The Blanket Fund early next year and the first round of grants are expected to be awarded in September 2023. To sign up for updates about The Blanket Fund and learn more about the granting process, visit www.downiewenjack.ca/the-blanket-fund.
ABOUT HUDSON’S BAY FOUNDATION
Hudson’s Bay Foundation is a registered charity, working to address racial inequality by investing in education, employment and empowerment opportunities for Indigenous Peoples, Black People and People of Colour. In 2021, Hudson’s Bay Foundation launched Hudson’s Bay Foundation Charter for Change, committing $30 million over 10 years to accelerate racial equity in communities across Canada. By partnering with organisations doing critical work under its three pillars, Hudson's Bay Foundation provides funding for programs and initiatives driving meaningful and sustainable change.
ABOUT THE GORD DOWNIE AND CHANIE WENJACK FUND
Inspired by Chanie’s story and Gord’s call to build a better Canada, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund aims to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Our goal is to improve the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education, and connections between all peoples in Canada. Learn more at DownieWenjack.ca.
ABOUT THE BAY
Through a digital-first, purpose-driven lens, The Bay helps Canadians live their best style of life. The Bay operates thebay.com featuring Marketplace, one of the largest premium life & style digital platforms in Canada, with a seamless connection to a network of 84 Hudson's Bay stores. The Bay has established a reputation for quality and style through an unrivalled assortment of products and categories including fashion, home, beauty, food concepts and more. Follow us on our social media channels: Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook.
The Bay and Hudson’s Bay operate under the HBC brand portfolio. Founded in 1670, HBC is North America’s oldest company. The signature stripes are a registered trademark of HBC.
THE BAY MEDIA OFFICE
DVP, Communications, PR & Heritage
email@example.com | 416-571-1301
Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund:
Lisa Brody Hoffman
Manager, Marketing and Communications
LBH@downiewenjack.ca | 416-970-3606