First Citizens' Fund
The First Citizens Fund, a perpetual fund created in 1969, is available for cultural, educational and economic development for Aboriginal people in British Columbia. Interest earned from Fund investments supports programs and services for Aboriginal people.
In 2001, the Government of British Columbia doubled the net value of the Fund from $36 million to $72 million.
All programs and services are managed and delivered in partnership with British Columbia Aboriginal organizations.
The First Citizens Fund is part of the provincial government's commitment to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal people.
By providing support to Aboriginal financial institutions and organizations, the First Citizens Fund helps create new employment and business opportunities for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people throughout British Columbia.
Business Advisory Centres
Business advisory centres in Cranbrook, Fort St. John and Prince George assist Aboriginal entrepreneurs with business start-up or expansion, partnerships and planning.
Business Loan Program
Business loans are available to Aboriginal residents of B.C. for most types of operations and a wide range of sectors including retail, services, fishing, forestry, agriculture, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, new technologies and export.
The First Citizens Fund Student Bursary Program
The Student Bursary Program provides financial assistance to Aboriginal students enrolled in post-secondary education programs. Students of Aboriginal ancestry can apply if they are ordinarily resident in British Columbia and are registered full-time in a post-secondary program that lasts two or more years.
The Friendship Centre Program
The Friendship Centre Program supports 23 friendship centres around the province. It offsets the employment costs of centre program directors who provide culturally responsive services for Aboriginal people living in urban areas. Program directors provide a range of cultural, social and recreational programming that strengthens Aboriginal families and communities, and empowers people to reach their goals.
First Peoples' Heritage, Language and Culture Council Language Program
With the support of the First Citizens Fund, the First Peoples' Heritage, Language and Culture Council delivers language and arts programs and develops resources to support the revitalization of B.C.'s indigenous Aboriginal languages, arts and cultures.
Elders Transportation Program
Through the Fund, the Elders Transportation Program provides financial assistance to Elders to travel to the annual Elders’ Gathering.