The Tree of Life Foundation partners across the land we now know as Canada. We acknowledge the current and past systemic oppression of lands, cultures and the original Peoples and how we have benefited from this system. We respect the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples across this land and their right to self-determination. The Tree of Life invests in organizations and communities that acknowledge and actively work to challenge and change our shared colonial legacy.
Who We Are
Founded in 2005, The Tree of Life Foundation is a private Canadian family foundation that continues to learn and adopt new approaches that honour community led processes. We take a trust-based approach to our philanthropy that is grounded in relationships and reflects an open, respectful partnership. We have narrowed our mission to three interest areas, housing, mental health and pregnancy and post partum health.
We envision a world where everyone has housing, mental health support and pregnancy and post partum care that meets the needs they have determined.
We support approaches to housing, mental health resources, and pregnancy and postpartum health that contribute to meaningful impact as defined by the communities we work with. We seek innovative and sustainable collaboration focused on those who work with Indigenous communities (women, girls and gender diverse people), while also welcoming those who work with non-Indigenous groups.
Our values have informed our community led and trust-based approaches to grant making.
We want to build relationships with our partners/grantees focused on reciprocity, transparency, and accessibility.
We are students for life. We are continually unlearning and learning. We approach our philanthropy with curiosity and hope that through each of our partnerships we are continually able to learn and grow.
We know that communities know their needs better than anyone else, we find partners that listen to communities and provide them with the resources to make their ideas a reality.
We believe in risk takers, we know that complex issues need creative solutions. It takes courage to think outside the box and we love to support unique ideas.
We intentionally seek out communities and partners whose work and values are too often excluded or marginalized. Here, partners establish their own parameters, processes and solutions to their own identified needs. Our values of humility and learning mean we are open to understanding and supporting new ways of addressing issues and creating change.
Megan Kusisto (she/her)
Megan leads The Tree of Life in collaboration with her family. Megan strongly values each relationship and approaches each with curiosity and a desire to learn.
Megan is grateful to live with her husband and raise her two children in the mountains on the unceded land of the Sinixt, Secwepemc, Syilx and Ktunaxa. Megan enjoys spending time snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, and making delicious baked goods.
Our funding centres around relationships. We use a community-led and trust based approach that is guided by our values. Although we do not take applications, we like to connect with organizations and projects that align with our purpose, values, and funding considerations. Please reach out to Megan by email if you would to connect.
The Tree of Life Foundation uses the following considerations
for moving forward in the partnership process.
Is the proposed project/work community led? Is the community determining the desired outcome and impact of the work? What is the relationship between the organization and the communities it works with?
Is the organization or the proposed work filling a need that is not being addressed by anyone else?
What is the impact on self-identified women, girls, and gender diverse people? How does the organization meaningfully include and reflect the diversity of the population that it serves?
Is the work/project being led and directed by the community? How will the proposed work impact Indigenous communities? Is the approach decolonized?
Impact and Scale:
Who and what is impacted by the proposed activities and to what degree? Are the proposed activities focused on service/program delivery, capacity building or systems change? Is the impact narrow or broad based and short or long term? Is impact being measured in other ways than traditional measurement tools?
How does the organization/project take environmental sustainability and impact into consideration?
Is the approach to the issue unique or innovative? Is anyone else using a similar approach?
What are the opportunities for collaboration? What does our partnership look like? Will providing a grant encourage others to do so?
Partners and Projects
The Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) has over 25 years of expertise in advancing housing rights for Indigenous Peoples. We are Canada’s first For Indigenous, By Indigenous housing authority. AHMA members manage over 95% of all Indigenous housing units located off-reserve in BC and AHMA administers funds for almost 10,000 Indigenous individuals and families living in urban, rural, and northern parts of the province. We also advocate broadly for Indigenous housing, provide operational guidance, conduct research, support asset management, and much more.
AHMA members provide a spectrum of trauma-informed, culturally safe housing including affordable housing units, homeless shelters, transition homes, supportive housing, and assisted living facilities. Many of AHMA’s members also offer support services including homelessness prevention, parenting skills, mental health programs, and substance use support, complex care, and more. In terms of scale, AHMA members make up over one-third of Indigenous housing providers in Canada.
Save the Children- National Reconciliation Program
Save the Children Canada has a vision of a reconciled Canada – a nation of equity, respect and partnership. They recognize that not all children’s rights are equally realized in Canada, and those most deprived of their rights are First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children.
The Tree of Life Foundation has partnered with the National Reconciliation Program to support the Métis Nation of Alberta and Ohero:kon, a community organization in the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, to develop youth-led projects that focus on mental health, language, cultural revitalization and land based activities.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation is a national leader in the movement for gender equality in Canada. Through funding, research, advocacy, and knowledge sharing, we work to achieve systemic change. We support women, girls, and gender-diverse people to move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership. Since 1991, our partners and donors have contributed over $185 million to fund over 3,000 life-transforming programs throughout the country.
The Tree of Life Foundation is funding an anti-oppressive approach to supporting mental health in the Girls’ Fund programming. By taking a community informed, anti-oppressive approach, the new programming will build girls’ ability to confront challenges, as well as their capacity to challenge systemic barriers.