Thunder Bay Community Foundation Launches Good Neighbour Fund to support Pikangikum Evacuees

Community Submission

Pikangikum fire

THUNDER BAY – The City of Thunder Bay is currently hosting nearly 1,000 Pikangikum First Nation residents, who have been forced to flee after a full evacuation was ordered with a 50,000-hectare blaze burning within six kilometres of their community. The Thunder Bay Community Foundation is launching the Thunder Bay Good Neighbour Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to ensure that while evacuees are in Thunder Bay, their immediate needs are met and that they feel at home as a guest in our city until it is safe to go back to their homes.

The Thunder Bay Community Foundation was approached by local businesses interested in supporting evacuees. The Good Neighbour Fund is being launched with $5,000 from Thunder Bay Broom and Chemical Ltd., as well as a $5,000 donation from the Toronto Community Foundation. Brent Massaro, President at Thunder Bay Broom and Chemicals Ltd issued a challenge to Thunder Bay’s business community, “We want to welcome the community of Pikangikum to our city. As part of our initiative to work with and give back to the communities we do business with in the North, we welcome you with this donation. We would also like to challenge the local business community of Thunder Bay to participate in this great initiative.”

The Thunder Bay Community Foundation’s goal is to create a more vibrant, healthy and engaged community. We work toward this goal every day, with partners across our city. We are deeply concerned about the Pikangikum evacuees and the crisis which they are facing. The Thunder Bay Community Foundation believes philanthropy can make a difference and we want to do what we can to recognize and support our indigenous neighbours facing this crisis. The Thunder Bay Community Foundation will charge no fees for the fund to ensure that all possible dollars are getting to the evacuees themselves. Together we are stronger in working toward a city that is safe, secure and welcoming for all.

The Thunder Bay Community Foundation will direct donations to address the immediate needs of Pikangikum evacuees in partnership with Pikangikum First Nation and the Independent First Nations Alliance. This Steering Committee for the Good Neighbour Fund will make all decisions concerning disbursements of the fund.

“At this moment, we have almost 1000 evacuees and we’re launching this with just $10,000 so we don’t have all the answers. Citizens of Thunder Bay are concerned and looking to support those impacted by this crisis. The Thunder Bay Community Foundation wanted to facilitate the community’s ambition to be a good neighbour.” Said Mike Larizza, Vice President of the Thunder Bay Community Foundation.

To donate please go to: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/tbaycf/campaign/thunder-bay-good-neighbour-fund/ or drop by the Thunder Bay Community Foundation office.