3 min. reading

Elevating and Connecting Nonprofits Across Nunavut

NANPO Executive Director Jessie Hale works with nearly 40 non-profit organizations across Nunavut. Photo: Vincent Desrosiers

The Nunavut Association for Non-Profit Organizations (NANPO) supports nearly 40 members across the territory, and Executive Director Jessie Hale envisions further growth and expansion in their 2023–2026 Strategic Plan. NANPO aims to spotlight the substantial economic contribution of non-profit organizations (NPO) in Nunavut, employing around 1,000 individuals in a variety of sectors and business sizes. 

Established in 2021, NANPO has rapidly grown its membership. Notable members in Iqaluit include YWCA Agvik-Nunavut, operating shelters, and the Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre, providing free meals. Organizations like Pinnguaq focus on technological experiences in Inuktitut, while Ilitatsiniq Nunavut Literary Council and Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq/Kitikmeot Heritage Society work towards preserving Inuinnait language, knowledge, and culture. 

Jessie was able to elevate her leadership skills and strengthen the association through a Catalyste+ mentorship. Photo: Vincent Desrosiers

Studies emphasize that NPOs, both large and small, deliver value by addressing local needs rooted in Inuit culture, language, and society. The Ilisaqsivik Society offers jobs for a significant portion of Clyde River residents and provides substantial economic value to the local economy in 2021.

A pressing concern for Nunavut NPOs is the lack of core funding, which leads to annual reapplications and resource shuffling to sustain operations. To enhance stability, NPOs advocate for a consistent funding base, which would support recruitment and retention efforts. NANPO members have engaged with territorial and federal departments to voice their needs. 

In collaboration with member organizations and the Government of Nunavut, NANPO explores the possibility of establishing a territorial home-in-government for the non-profit sector. The organization also seeks to enhance the visibility of NPOs in the Legislative Assembly and public forums, fostering connections among non-profit organizations in Nunavut and charitable foundations across Canada.

Out of roughly 200 NPOs in Nunavut, only about 30 are registered charities. NANPO, functioning as an umbrella organization, chooses not to pursue registered charitable status to assist all NPOs as Canadian revenue regulations limit support to other charities. NPOs in Nunavut face challenges related to staff housing and office space inadequacy. For instance, the Aqqiumavvik Society in Arviat, offering a range of social programs, operates across various buildings due to a lack of suitable space. Housing scarcity also impacts recruitment efforts, given the link between staff housing and job decisions in Nunavut. 

To navigate these challenges, a Catalyste+ Advisor (CA) supported NANPO through a mentorship program, where the CA provided training on financial administration, navigating board governance and relations, and overall confidence building. Following the mentorship, NANPO received crucial funding from Infrastructure Canada. 

Photo: Vincent Desrosiers

Reflecting on her time with Catalyste+, Jessie highlights a deep level of appreciation for the guidance provided by her CA, emphasizing the confidence to apply new approaches to achieve NANPO’s goals. Throughout 2024, NANPO will be delivering three full-day board governance workshops in Iqaluit, Baker Lake, and Kugluktuk, and a free financial literacy course that will be made available to the public online.

Are you a Northern-based business looking for mentorship or advisory services to strengthen your organization and the communities you serve? Learn more about Catalyste+ and how we can support you in driving growth and sustainable development.