The Centre Stage Equity Economic Development Fund will support and build the capacity of BIPOC-led organizations, and/or marginalized or racialized organizations or communities, in Nova Scotia to work together to solve challenges they are facing in enterprising and innovative ways.

The name ‘Centre Stage’ came from a desire to shine a spotlight on economic and social equity, and supporting organizations or communities as they move from the margins to ‘centre stage’ as a location that will foster and support increased agency, independence, and self-determination.

With this focus on equity and community-based economic development, the Fund may support a variety of focus areas including: housing, inclusive employment, building resiliency, mental health, climate adaptation, co-op development, leadership development, and support for youth.

Context & Scene Setting

The Centre Stage Equity Economic Development Fund was created to help address a funding void for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour-led organizations identified in a report specifically about the philanthropic sector called the Unfunded Report, which was published in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and various Indigenous movements.

The report noted that the 10 largest public and private foundations in Canada, “representing over $10 billion in assets, disbursed 0.03 percent of funds to Black-led organizations in the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, and 0.13 percent of funds to Black-serving organizations in the same timeframe.” 

Subjects interviewed for the report included Black and non-Black philanthropic, charity, and university leaders from across Canada and highlighted several potential contributing problems including systemic barriers to grants, anti-Blackness, and a lack of representation in foundations. 

The COVID-19 pandemic was also identified as a ’threat multiplier’ that has added to the challenges that many BIPOC-led organizations, people and communities are facing.

Beginning & Building

To start, the Centre Stage fund will focus on supporting the work of In My Own Voice (iMOVe), but the intent is to expand its ability to support a variety of other BIPOC-led and/or racialized or marginalized organizations in Nova Scotia.

iMOVe’s unique programming includes:

  • arts-based activities that help people heal from trauma including such caused by racism and develop strong self-advocacy skills,
  • helping people find innovative ways to make a good living to be able to support themselves and their families (including developing culturally relevant learning opportunities about the role co-ops can play in community-based economic development), and
  • programming to encourage and support people to step up as leaders and change-makers in their communities.  

In doing this, iMOVe looks to support the people and communities it serves in a ‘holistic’ way that goes beyond the idea even of  ‘wrap around’ supports.  It starts with support and healing for individuals, but also looks to address systemic issues related to: 

  • the needs of youth at risk,
  • intergenerational and child poverty, 
  • creating more inclusive economic opportunities for BIPOC people and communities, 
  • and addressing racism by building bridges between government, business and other organizations to enable more people to understand the challenges racialized and marginalized people and communities face, and the change that is needed to increase equity, inclusion and justice in a systemic way.

Donate to this fund

“What would investment into communities look like if those very communities were part of the process?” The Centre Stage Equity Economic Development Fund is seeking to encourage donors from a wide range of backgrounds to consider contributing to this Fund. We truly value whatever you have to give.

From small monthly donations to one-time donations in honour of loved ones or community leaders, every gift to this Fund will help build the assets for impactful grantmaking.

If you would like to donate to this fund, monthly, annual, and one-time donations of up to $500 can be made through the CanadaHelps donation form below. 

For donations over $500, please contact the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia office at