Smart Cities Challenge Final Proposal

Chapter 8 – Financial

March 5, 2019

 

Chapter 8 – Financial
 
In this chapter, you are asked to demonstrate how you plan on spending your prize money while following sound financial practices in estimating and managing funding, expenditures, and revenues for all of your projects. Winners will not be required to match funding—the Challenge provides up to 100% of project costs up to the total prize amount. However, winners are encouraged to leverage additional resources, where doing so increases the impact of projects.
 

Provide a financial plan for the implementation phase, including:

  • Comprehensive project budget with a detailed breakdown of projected revenues, if any, and expenses by year, source, and cost type (including identification of hard and soft as well as direct and indirect costs) that is reasonable, sufficient, and in line with the performance measurement plan
  • Methods, sources, and assumptions that result in class B (substantive) estimates at a minimum
  • Contributions (financial or in-kind) from other sources, and approach to leverage revenues, if any, and the prize money that amplifies the impact and reach of projects
  • Financial tools and accounting methodologies that are appropriate for projects
  • Identification of risks and development of appropriate mitigation strategies
  • Report on the use of the finalist grant, including reasonable justification of any divergences from the plan laid out in the application
  • Other details, as required

 

Evaluation criteria

  • Plan is detailed, complete, high quality, and well-suited to achievement of outcomes
  • Plan supports the implementation of projects
  • Report on the use of the finalist grant is detailed, complete, and demonstrates a rational and effective use for the development of the final proposal and sound management of project funding
  • Risk strategy is thorough and adequately addresses key risks

 

Chapter 8 – Financial

 

Introduction

Biigtigong has a responsibility to its citizens to accurately account for public funds, to manage its finances effectively and efficiency, and to plan to provide quality needs-based services. As a government we are responsible for implementing effective systems of public financial management and for utilizing these systems to safeguard public assets. The effective management of public finances is fundamental to the development and growth of the community.
 

Financial management is a critical prerequisite for success. It is an integrated process that brings together strategic planning, budgeting, accounting, reporting, controls, procurement, auditing, policy and people with the goal of managing resources strategically to achieve the project’s outcomes. Effective financial management includes planning, organizing, directing and controlling the financial activities to support the organization’s goals.
 

Authority

Biigtigong’s Constitution assigns Chief and Council the responsibility to effectively and efficiently manage and control public funds. They have the authority to establish institutions and appropriate legislation, polices and procedures, with supporting governance structures, to govern the financial matters of the First Nation. The Constitution recognizes the leadership’s responsibility for accountability, transparency and results.
 

Financial Management Objectives

Biigtigong’s financial management objectives are as follows:

  • To enable the delivery of quality services to our membership that are geared to meet their needs.
  • To make effective and efficient use of the available resources.
  • Be accountable to our membership and other stakeholders.
  • Prepare for long-term sustainability.
  • Manage risks.

 

Sustainability and Diversification

The goals of our Smart Cities proposal are aligned and part of Biigtigong’s bigger and longer-term vision. As such, it is not considered an independent project, with a start and end date. Our five-year implementation stage is designed to develop the necessary resources and capacities to ensure long-term sustainability of the program goals and objectives. As we begin our implementation, collaborative efforts with our internal departments on specific aspects of our proposal are setting the stage for long-term sustainability and integration.
 

Governance Structure

Establishing appropriate governance structures that support and facilitate the delivery of our programs and services to our membership is part of an effective financial management plan. Chapter 5 describes the governance structures.
 

Responsibilities

Establishing clear roles and responsibilities and ensuring a shared understanding of these roles are important to sound financial management. Financial management roles and responsibilities are defined in the financial polices. In addition, these are reiterated in the details of job descriptions, department mandates and terms of references for committees and boards. All of these are in place for the Smart Cities proposal implementation.
 

The Chief and Council’s primary responsibility is to establish appropriate laws and policies to govern the sound financial management of finances. Management is responsible for the implementation of these laws and policies and ensuring adequate procedures and systems are in place for support. Management is responsible for communicating the expectation and duties to staff. Staff and operating personnel are responsible for carrying out the internal control activities set forth my management.
 

Transparency

Creating a culture of transparency throughout the organization is one of the foundations of sound financial management. Developing principles of careful budgeting, reporting and auditing, combined with internal controls and transparency ensures a robust system of financial management.
 

The following provides some measures that Council has taken to provide transparency:

  • Open Council meetings; public access to by-laws, minutes and reports.
  • Council publishes the annual approved budget and financial statements.
  • We have expanded our Internet and social media presence including some online services.
  • Feedback and complaint mechanism are in place.
  • Procurement policy is comprehensive and regulates the procurement of goods and services, including human resources.
  • Conflict of Interest policy guides the disclosure and management of conflicts of interest.
  • Codes of Conduct are established for members of Council, management, staff, committee members and the membership.
  • Public access to information is guided by policy.
  • Extensive community engagement culture; continuous opportunity for community to be involved in the decision-making processes.

 
Our Smart Cities team will adhere to the regulations and expectations established by Council via their formal and informal policies. Our team is committed to building an open and transparent relationship with all of our stakeholders. Transparency is of special importance to our team, as we are making new paths and facilitating a significant change at the community level and establishing trust is important. We will create opportunities to be transparent and ensure our organizational culture and systems support transparency.
 

Rigorous Internal Controls

Internal controls ensure that the organization is in compliance with laws and regulations and protects assets against theft and misappropriation. In general, segregation of financial duties to provide a set of checks and balances, proper authorization of expenditures, physical control of assets, and maintenance of records and documents supporting financial activities are the foundation of an adequate control environment. Sound financial management also requires regular reconciliation and review to ensure that activities reported in the organization’s accounting records are crosschecked against the supporting documents.
 

Internal control is all of the policies and procedures management uses to achieve the following goals:

  • Safeguard assets – Well-designed internal controls protect assets from misappropriation of public funds, accidental loss or loss from fraud.
  • Ensure the reliability and integrity of financial information – Internal controls ensure that management has accurate, timely and complete information, including accounting records, in order to plan, monitor and report business operations.
  • Ensure compliance – Internal controls help to ensure the First Nation is in compliance with the many federal and local laws and regulations affecting the operations of our business.
  • Promote efficient and effective operations – Internal controls provide an environment in which managers and staff can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations.
  • Accomplishment of goals and objectives – Internal controls system provide a mechanism for management to monitor the achievement of operational goals and objectives.

 

Our finance policy and operating procedures identify the internal controls that are mandatory for all operations. These controls are regularly reviewed and adjusted accordingly in our efforts for continuous improvement. Our Finance and Audit Committee, in conjunction with our Senior Management Team, provide Council with recommendations for improvement. The implementation of our Smart Cities proposal will be subject to the internal controls and procedures as established by our financial management systems.
 

Finance Policy Manual

Our finance policy manual is the central means to communicate the financial controls and responsibilities. In order to successfully mange a project a coherent set of accounting procedures and standards are required. Our finance policy manual addresses the following matters:

  • Delegated and Assigned Responsibility
  • Planning and Budgeting
  • Tangible Capital Assets
  • Investments
  • Procurement
  • Payroll
  • Benefits
  • Travel and Training
  • Loans, Guarantees and Indemnities
  • Expenditures and Payables
  • Borrowing/Debt
  • Financial Reporting
  • Insurance
  • Records Management and Retention
  • Risk Management
  • Information Technology
  • External Audit

 

Financial Management Software

Biigtigong utilizes a financial management software program named Xyntax, specifically designed to meet the financial needs of First Nations. The software manages all accounting procedures of the organization, such as cash flow management, general ledger, expenses, payments, assets, income and purchasing. It efficiently manages all financial administrative processes. The software is customizable to suit the specific needs of our organization. The staff who will be assigned the responsibility of financial management are familiar with and have extensive experience with the financial management software that will be used for the Smart Cities project. The software will also allow for specific project codes that could coincide with the identified outcomes and milestones.
 

Accounting Methodologies

Biigtigong utilizes project based accounting. Project accounting tracks all the financial components of a project. It provides access to more accurate and timely information when making decisions. It allows for an actual-to-budget analysis. Project accounting provides for more accurate accounting of project job costs. It provides for a more credible audit process and facilitates better control over projects. Project accounting also can help gauge the team’s workload capacities.
 

Accrual basis accounting

Biigtigong uses accrual basis accounting methods. Under the accrual basis, revenues and expenses are recorded when they are earned, regardless of when the money is actually received or paid. Accrual basis provides a more realistic idea of income and expenses during a period of time. This method requires a careful monitoring of cash flow.
 

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

Biigtigong complies with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. GAAP is a collection of commonly followed accounting rules and standards for financial reporting. GAAP compliance makes the financial reporting process transparent and standardizes assumptions, terminology, definitions and methods. The purpose of GAAP is to ensure financial reporting is transparent and consistent from one organization to another.
 

Financial Reporting

We adhere to a regular internal reporting system to ensure we are meeting our financial goals and objectives. Program Directors follow a strict regiment to review financial reports monthly and complete a series of financial tasks. Central to effective decision-making and having the ability to take corrective actions is having access to accurate and timely financial data.
 

Financial reporting requirements stem from a variety of sources, and financial reports serve many purposes. For example, they serve as tools for use by managers to control their departments and to monitor the extent to which management’s objectives are being achieved. They also provide information to external parties on an organization’s financial operations and compliance with a variety of requirements. Our Smart Cities management team will adhere to the reporting requirements as defined by Biigtigong and our funding agencies. We will ensure stakeholders have access to timely and accurate reports to allow for good decision making.
 

For the purpose of our proposal, our reporting system will have to be customized to accommodate the meeting of milestones, as per the contribution agreement. The SC Executive Board will provide regular written reports to the Director of Finance regarding the status of achieving the milestones. These reports will be developed based on the performance reports received from the project implementation staff. These reports will provide the necessary information needed to be the reporting requirements of Infrastructure Canada.
 

Human Resource Management

Human resource management is a critical success factor for the First Nation and it directly determines the business outputs. Human resource development and management play an important role in the overall financial management of our operations. We aim to maximize employee performance and create a supportive organizational culture to facilitate this.
 

Human Resource Planning

Through effective job analysis and design, we created positions with job descriptions and specifications to meet the needs of the organization and project implementation. The following chart summarizes our human resource requirements to implement our Smart Cities proposal. The majority of the budget will be allocated to human resources, making human resource management especially important to our financial management plan.
 

 

Human Resource Management Tools

Biigtigong uses the following tools to assist in our efforts to maximize employee performance and meet our operational goals and outcomes:

  1. Hiring Policies: Provides process to hire, interview, recruit, and determine if you will need to implement training or development for potential or current employees.
  2. Termination Policies: Provides process to deal with termination or voluntary resignations.
  3. Job Descriptions: Establish clear roles and responsibilities and qualifications.
  4. Employee Performance reviews: Provides mechanisms to conduct performance reviews and evaluations of staff.
  5. Employee Handbook: Provides a snapshot of our policy guide.
  6. Health and Safety Policy: Provides health and safety standards and procedures.
  7. Discrimination/Sexual Harassment Policies: Process on how complaints and investigations will be handled.
  8. Detailed Policies: Regulations regarding benefits, such as, vacation, holiday, personal, and sick pay, company benefits, salaries, etc.
  9. Required Policies: Required policies are anything that the federal, provincial or local governments require (WSIB, EI, CPP).
  10. Specific Policies: Confidentiality Policy, Social Media Policy, Cultural Leave Policy.

 

The Budget Process

The budget process is one of the most important components of successful financial management. The budget process extends beyond the preparation of a document that appropriates funds. Budgeting is strategic in nature, encompassing multi-year financial and operating plans that allocate resources on the basis of identified goals. It serves as the performance benchmark for all financial decisions. A budget ensures that an organization can fund its commitments, meet its financial and program objectives and control spending. It allows for measurement of performance and the identification of potential problems. The budget is the overall financial framework.
 

The development of Biigtigong’s Smart Cities budget was done in accordance with the budget policies of the First Nation. The budget was also developed in consideration of the expectations as identified in the Smart Cities Finalist Guide. Our budget supports the implementation of our proposal and the achievement of our goals.
 
Biigtigong’s Annual Planning and Budgeting Schedule

 

Major Budget Considerations

Strategic Plan Integrations

An effective financial management system needs to support the organization’s strategic plan and vice versa. It is part of a network of systems bound together to provide high-level services to our membership in order to meet their needs. Sound financial management is critical to the success of long term strategic planning and short term operational planning. Biigtigong has well-established strategic planning processes. Financial management and budgeting systems are designed to facilitate project implementation.
 

Human Resource Requirements

Once the human resource needs were identified and job specifications determined, the positions were reviewed in relation to our salary grid and policy. The review was to ensure positions are properly categorized according to the criteria established in the policy. Each new staffing position resulting from the Smart Cities proposal has been categorized and is subject to the salary range provided within the grid. Estimates for mandatory employer related costs were incorporated into the budgets.
 

Contracts will be awarded for the Nishnaabemwin audio overdub work. This will be done in accordance to Biigtigong’s procurement policies. The following charts summarize the range of production times to produce one hour of video. We conducted some WaaWaa pilots tests and our results varied due to the individual making the video, the content of the video, familiarity of the content, video recording, prop preparation and location. These variables have been considered in our estimations of producing WaaWaa video and overdubbed WaaWaa video. We assume that we will produce video quicker once we have a workflow and some experience in production. We have identified mitigation strategies to address the risks associated with video production.
 

 
In our pilot video production exercises various problems arose that were immediately mitigated on the spot. Our goal is to make high quality understandable immersion video. However, we need to do this within a reasonable amount of time and efficiently. We implemented some different strategies and found improvements in production time. We will have to closely monitor the production of video and continuously look for ways to better streamline the production. Our project based accounting software will assist us in tracking hours of production and providing us with more accurate numbers to make decisions.
 

Board and Committee Costs

Expenses related to the operations of our two committees and the Executive Board has been incorporated into the budget. Expense categories included honorarium, travel and training, in accordance to Biigtigong’s policy and the scheduled meeting and/or training times.
 

Technology Costs

Expenses related to the administration and management of BiigtigongX, our on-line platform, including the costs of Appsembler and the database has been included in the proposal. We carefully examined the option to utilize Appsembler as our main administrator versus hiring a full time person. The decision was made to use Appsembler due to lack of qualified resources in the community and the pricing was cheaper than hiring a full time staff. Expenses for some education licenses, supplies and equipment are included.
 

Training

Annual training dollars has been allocated to each year. Training and capacity building at the local level is of primary importance. Building internal capacity for the purpose of long-term sustainability is always one of our ways to achieve our goals. Our training will be very specific to the needs of the projects. We will implement a training video series, which demonstrates our experience and best-practices from implementation.
 

Community Engagement Costs

We included a budget for the community engagement expenses. Part of these expenses includes for some meetings off reserve. Engagement activities will support the implementation of our engagement strategy, as outlined in Chapter 6.
 

Revenue

Biigtigong has committed $100,000 a year to support the language revitalization efforts. We have not identified any other revenue sources, other than Infrastructure Canada. We are committed to looking for additional sources of revenue, should our proposal be selected. Although revenue is not being transferred directly to the Smart Cities accounts, other organization Departments are making contributions to the project implementation. These contributions are listed further down in this chapter.
 

Budget and Project Milestones

Our budget was developed to facilitate the implementation of our proposal and the attainment of our outcomes. An accompanying detailed listing of milestones that will trigger payments supports the budget. The milestones are broken down according to fiscal quarters per fiscal year. Further details regarding the milestones and the specific outcomes and indicators are discussed in Chapter 2. We feel the milestones identified are measurable and achievable and provide a sound basis to determine the release of payments. We will continually monitor and evaluate our entire process and making the necessary adjustments to ensure we are meeting the goals of our project. As part of our commitment to transparency and accountability, we will keep all of our stakeholders aware of our progress in attaining our outcomes and celebrating our milestones. It is our intention to ensure our community celebrates the achievement of our milestones; these celebrations are important, especially in the beginning of new projects that are not traditional in nature.
 

Cash flow and Project Milestones

We developed cash flow statements based on the budget and the project needs. Our expenditures are posted to specific periods that correspond with the actual project activities. Our revenue streams, at this time, only have two sources – Biigtigong Chief and Council ($100,000 annually) and Infrastructure Canada (1 million annually). We propose an initial $250,000 from Infrastructure Canada be released in July, another $500,000 in December and the remaining $250,000 in April. These release periods are supported by the identification of specific milestones.
 

Our cash flow projections indicate a few months where there is a negative net cash flow from operating activities. The negative cash flow resulting from the proposed cash release periods has been carefully examined in relation to the cash flow requirements of the entire organization. These numbers have been amalgamated into the organization’s combined budget. Our Director of Finance and the Finance Committee make decisions regarding the cash needs of the organization. The negative net cash flow resulting from this project is not a problem in the bigger management of our cash flow requirements. As our milestones are identified by fiscal quarters, we are flexible in determining the actual cash release dates. However, we believe we can manage our affairs with the cash flow projections provided herein.
 

Monitoring and Controlling the Budget

All departments are required to regularly monitor actual activity to planned activity and control their expenditure to ensure that it is in line with available funds. If required, appropriate corrective action should be taken to resolve significant differences between actual and planned activity. Our finance policy and procedures outline the required steps to monitor and control the budget. The Program Lead will be responsible for the monitoring and controlling of the budget. Regular reporting to the SC Executive Board will ensure accountability, along with reporting to Chief and Council.
 

Measuring Performance and Outcomes

Budgeting supports the implementation and achievement of project outcomes and goals. Chapter 2 of our proposal outlines our approach to performance measurement. It is important that our outcomes are clearly stated and that the indictors accurately measure our outcomes. Clear communication and reporting systems between the SC Project Lead, the implementation teams and the Finance Department are important to the overall management of the program.
 

Community Engagement

We will adhere to the reporting requirements set out by Chief and Council and the Senior Management Team as per the policies of the First Nation. However, we are committed to enhance the level of engagement for this proposal and are implementing a new (but ancient) method of engagement – our traditional clan system. We are going to use this more intimate relationship based method to engage our membership. We will utilize this system to provide financial and performance information to our membership. Since this is a new initiative, we will be implementing systems to track, evaluate and adjust the process immediately, as part of its development process. We are trying to find creative approaches to providing our citizens the opportunities to increase their knowledge and become active players in building their families, community, Nation and the world.
 

Contributions

Our approach to amplifying the impact and reach of our Smart Cities proposal is ensuring there exists alignment with the overall vision and goals of the First Nation. Our strategy is not necessarily geared at leveraging revenues but rather developing and adjusting our programs to ensure long-term sustainability of our Smart Cities projects. The five year implementation period will allow us to develop resources, capacity and systems that will be integrated into the regular programs be provide.
 

Annual Funding:

$100,000 is currently allocated to the language revitalization via a ten-year commitment made by Chief and Council. This funding will be directly transferred to the Smart Cities account to assist with the language efforts.
 

Program Support:

Departments within our organization have directed resources within their respective departments to support of the Smart Cities proposal. These resources will remain in the existing structure and management systems of the First Nation. However, they have been assigned to assist in the implementation of the Smart Cities proposal. We have a culture and the systems to support inter-departmental collaboration on shared vision, shared problems and shared approaches. These contributions amplify the impact and reach of our projects.
 

 

Report on the use of the Finalist Grant

We identified a series of priority tasks that were required in order to further develop our final proposal. The finalist grant was used to complete these tasks. The following provides a summary of these tasks.

  1. Develop an On-line Education Model: Our team conducted extensive research on on-line education models. Based on our research and an examination of our student needs, consideration of our resources and review of our education philosophy, we determined that a blended-learning model was most appropriate for us. Blended-learning is an approach to learning that combines face-to-face and online learning experiences. The combination of the in-person and online elements create a richer learning experience. We are not creating an on-line education model, but rather a hybrid model, that makes the best of on-line and the brick and mortar model.
     

    We also examined various education pedagogies relating to on-line education. We adopted the Growth Mindset approach, a learning theory developed by Dr. Carol Dweck. It revolves around the belief that you can improve intelligence, ability and performance, as the mindset is malleable. Unlike a fixed mindset, where the belief is that they are either ‘smart’ or ‘dumb’, the Growth Mindset advocates that abilities can be developed.
     

    Additionally, we reviewed the Blended Learning approach to education and the Growth Mindset philosophy in relation to our traditional Nishnaabe practices relating to learning. We believe that the three approaches can work collectively to provide the best learning experience for our children and families. Some initial training with our education staff was conducted and they were involved in the decision-making process regarding the approaches and methods of learning to be implemented in this project. The community was engaged in discussions and presentations on the Growth Mindset and blended-learning approaches to learning.

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  3. Research eLearning, eAcquisition and meetup open source platforms/applications: Based on our identified needs and the consideration to make our project scalable and replicable, we selected Open edX, a Learning Management System. Our platform to house the eLearning, eAcquisition and the meetup forum will be called BiigtigongX.
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  5. STEM Curriculum Development: We employed our teaching staff and experts in the STEM field to design and develop K-12 STEM curriculum. Our current leads in our math and science programs conducted a mapping exercise, looking at how the on-line curriculum as presented by Khan Academy matches with the Ontario Provincial Curriculum. We developed a strategy on how to augment and enhance our current math and science programs with on-line resources.
     
    After extensive research across many sectors, consideration of needs and the availability of resources, we determined a pathway to allow us to meet our needs. We identified the skills, knowledge and abilities we wanted to develop in our students and then determined the resources that we would employ to facilitate this learning. Our technology and engineering components of our proposal will utilize a variety of on-line resources with classroom teacher support; this is laid out in Chapters 1 and 2. Assessment and evaluation processes to measure student success are included in the curriculum.
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  7. Reconstruction of Core Aadsookaanan: Much of the work during the finalist stage was identifying the risks associated with putting our aadsookaanan on-line and the potential disconnect from the real world. Time with our elders and knowledge holders helped develop a model that mitigates any potential risks and embraces the possibilities of cultural revitalization of our sacred stories in this modern time. Additionally, our initial research provided evidence that their exists significant amount of primary research from the community that would facilitate legitimacy in our reconstruction work. A draft framework and work plan has been developed.
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  9. Language Immersion Video Development: Our immersion model is based on research and best practices in the creation of speakers. In addition to the research, we have been fortunate to witness this model being successful with an individual, who happens to be now working on our language revitalization plan. We spent time with potential immersion instructors providing them with the knowledge and tools to make immersion video. Our training produced three amazing WaaWaa Immersion Instructors. These immersion instructors produced a variety of videos, which were tested internally for understandability and for teaching purposes. We have a team of trained WaaWaa instructors who are ready to produce highly comprehensible immersion video.
     

    We also showcased four videos at a community night to demonstrate our immersion video. We purposely selected videos that we thought would bring laughter to our audience; we wanted a roll out that brought laughter and hope. These videos were successful in demonstrating our product. The audiences that viewed our video reported that they understood the story and its meaning was successfully conveyed. This provided additional verification that our model will work; we still have to take a few moments to breathe, as we will be creating generations of understanders of our language, something that has not been done in a long time. It truly is empowering.
     

    We spent some time looking at the world of animation, specifically 2D animation. Utilizing this option comes with a huge learning curve; however, we want to continue exploring the option and determine its feasibility.

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  11. Language Audio Overdubs on STEM Material: Our consultations with our elders and individuals knowledgeable in STEM, has provided good direction in our efforts to produce bilingual STEM video. We discussed ways to integrate STEM, our Aadsookaanan, the meanings within our language and our traditional knowledge. This video will not be immersion video. However, the material will be accessible in English to be utilized by today’s students. This video will also assist in helping raise the language proficiency of our community’s understanders and speakers of our language.
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  13. Data Collection: Considerable time was spent determining what data was actually needed to support the measurement of our outcomes. Our education system already has a process for the collection, protection and distribution of student data. We will continue to protect the data of our children and have the school be the central entity for the student data.
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  15. Community Education and Engagement: Engaging the community on this initiative was a wonderful community building experience. It was exciting and everyone was engaged, a bit fearful of change but willing to embrace change for the betterment of our children. Part of meaningful engagement is providing education and facilitating a learning experience. Our community members have a basic knowledge base of things like, second language acquisition, blended learning, growth mind set, programming languages, technology and engineering. With education comes meaningful engagement and support.
     

    We conducted community wide and focus group surveys and lots of engagement activities. We had support during our application process but we have gained so much more than support during this phase. Our community, our staff and our leadership see the absolute importance of our proposal. We have real community buy-in; they are engaged partners.

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  17. Elder and Knowledge Carrier Protocols: We respected the cultural protocols in place for our time with our elders and knowledge carriers. Teachings were shared regarding cultural protocols regarding the transfer of knowledge and the social environment in which these may occur. Discussions occurred over the impacts, both positive and negative, of the digital world and the transfer of our cultural knowledge. A solid relationship has been built with our elders and knowledge keepers. Their involvement remains critical to the success of our project.
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  19. Project Management Software and Collaboration Tools: We utilized Slack for our collaboration work. Project management software was not looked into, as there already exists effective in-house systems of management.
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  21. Training/Travel: We conducted a training needs assessment to determine the gaps regarding the delivery of the new services being proposed. Some initial training was provided to our classroom teaching staff, along with pilot projects that implemented the teaching of technology and engineering. Training was also provided to other staff members connected to the project implementation. We conducted immersion education training for our WaaWaa instructors. Ongoing training will be built into the proposal in order to build the capacity at the community level to ensure long-term sustainability.
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  23. Governance and Administration: A staff member was assigned to coordinate the project. Governance and administrative systems to effectively and efficiently support the project are set up. We built upon the existing structures and policies of the First Nation while creating some innovative approaches to governance. Our clan system of governance will be used for engagement and consultation with the community. Some financial resources were spent on software, hardware and other supplies. Detailed financial analysis of the project was completed.
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  25. How-to-Manuals: Our education staff will be documenting some best practices as a result of project implementation. The staff acknowledged their fears in teaching subject matters where they had limited knowledge and skills. In response to this fear, they decided to document their journey and provide encouragement and tips for others facing similar challenges.

 

Summary of Expenditures via Projects

 

Financial Risks and Mitigation Strategies

Our approach to risk management is identified in Chapter 3. Risk management is an on-going task and is not something that happens at a particular time in the project’s lifecycle. We have carefully examined a comprehensive list of risks throughout the development of this proposal. We have successfully mitigated and/or avoided some potentially significant risks. In our belief, this has led to a much better and more realistically implementable project. We continue to be aware of the likelihood and potential impacts of the risks in front of us. We will respond accordingly.
 

The biggest risk of all is the loss of Nishnaabemwin – not only from the hearts and spirit of our children, our families, our communities and Nations, but from the world. Once the Nishnaabe language is lost from here, it is lost forever. Immersion is the mitigating action towards the loss of Nishnaabemwin in Biigtigong. We have done considerable research in how to create speakers and immersion is our answer. We have also been fortunate to witness first hand the results of this method. We saw a young man, who was adopted out and never raised in his community, with his family, with his people, with his culture, his language, find his way home – researched and taught a first speaker how to pass on her language and today he is a fluent speaker of Nishnaabemwin. This is the method that we will use to make our video. It’s amazing to think that our language can once again be passed on in our homes, our schools – actually, pretty much anywhere. It’s just going to be done in another way because of the emergency state of our language.
 

 

 

Operating Budgets and Cashflows

The five (5) Year Operating Budget and five (5) Year Cashflows are presented on the subsequent pages.