Community Builder Grant2

Meet Our Community Builder Grant Recipients!

This year, as part of our ongoing commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, Colliers Project Leaders created the Community Builder Grant ›  to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of Indigenous youth to their communities.

We heard from inspiring individuals from coast-to-coast – all with unique and impactful ideas for community building. We partnered with a panel of Indigenous leaders from across Canada, who reviewed submissions and selected three Indigenous youths to award $5,000 each towards their education, a community-building project or a new business idea.

With this award, we aspire to:

  • Help celebrate and acknowledge their existing contributions to community-building;
  • Empower and enable them to pursue ongoing community leadership activities;
  • And motivate and inspire other Indigenous youth community leaders by sharing their paths and stories

In celebration of the Community Builder Grant’s inaugural year, Colliers Project Leaders is proud to officially introduce our first ever recipients. These community builders stood out because of their stories and determination to create a meaningful and lasting impact in their communities and beyond.


  • Jaden McGregor headshot

    Jaden McGregor 

    Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation

    Jaden’s perspective on community building was influenced by his great-grandmother, Lillian McGregor, who dedicated her life to advocating for Indigenous voices in Toronto. Jaden is determined to continue her legacy in his way.

    “As an Anishnaawbe and Jamaican individual, I have a proud connection to my Indigenous roots and heritage and a strong desire to honour and uplift my communities,” says Jaden.

    Jaden recently completed his commercial pilot license in the Geography and Aviation program at the University of Waterloo. The next step in his flight journey will be starting his instructor rating.

    Jaden has a specific goal of offering flight training to Indigenous students. By creating new pathways for future generations, Jaden wants to encourage Indigenous participation in non-traditional fields and inspire others to follow their dreams.

    “Representation is crucial, and I want to break down barriers. I want them to see someone like themselves in the aviation industry and feel a sense of belonging.”

    Jaden’s idea for community building? The sky is the limit. He plans to one day open his own Indigenous flight school dedicated to promoting diversity in the aviation sector. His plans include advocating for more student funding to lessen the financial burden of flight training.

    When Jaden’s not in school or flying, he contributes to research projects on creating safe spaces for Indigenous and Latin-X students and volunteers at powwows and programs that support youth.

    Jaden’s also passionate about capturing and sharing his worldview as an Indigenous photographer. With a deep understanding of the power of visual storytelling, Jaden uses photography as another way to inspire others through his own experiences from both land and air.

  • Bella Desilets headshot

    Bella Desilets 

    Algonquins of Pikwakanagan

    Bella takes community care seriously. Her family’s stories of colonization, residential school and the 60's scoop shaped her outlook. Her voice is strong, and she knows how and when to best wield that strength.

    Bella has grown increasingly adept at creating safe spaces, working to incorporate feminist theories and inclusive practices into her way of knowing and seeing.

    “I think it’s very important to understand not just for us, but for other countries, that every country has a colonization story in one way or another,” says Bella.

    Bella is a mental health advocate and childcare provider. Since 2016, she has supported Indigenous Birth Doula and Indigenous Death Doula Training programs and helped more than 200 people reclaim their cultural teachings.

    In February 2023, Bella became a founding member of the Indigenous Youth Advisory Council for the Mashkiwizii Manido Foundation, a newly-opened Indigenous Wellness Center serving Renfrew County.

    Growing up watching movies and TV shows from around the world, she thought about how much we can learn from other people and places.

    “As an Indigenous person I thought the best thing I could learn in a different country is how to be Indigenous in that country and what it means to be Indigenous in that country,” she says.

    That’s what sparked Bella’s idea for community building! She plans to open her own safe, Indigenous travel business and become a youth travel coordinator for Indigenous youth to help them explore the world.

    Bella believes offering unique travel experiences and learning about different cultural histories will help Indigenous youth begin to consider themselves global citizens.

    “I hope to inspire Indigenous youth by encouraging them to go to different Indigenous nations and learn and build connections.”

  • Evan Ramsey headshot

    Evan Ramsey 

    Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation

    Evan believes community building nurtures cultural resilience, social cohesion and educational advancement. Passionate about improving health and wellness outcomes in reserves, Evan believes this requires a holistic approach that encompasses not only physical fitness but also mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

    “The Anishinaabe people have a deep-rooted history and a unique set of traditions, values and beliefs. By actively participating in community-building efforts, we contribute to the preservation and revitalization of our culture. This enables us to pass on our ancestral knowledge, stories and customs to future generations, ensuring that our distinct identity remains vibrant and alive,” he says.

    Evan is an Exercise Science student, who runs his own business as a wellness coach – addressing health and wellness challenges faced by Indigenous peoples in remote fly-in communities.

    Throughout his education, Evan gained valuable knowledge and skills that allow him to create tailored action plans designed specifically for the unique needs of Indigenous communities. By offering these services online, he’s able to reach individuals in isolated areas who may not have access to traditional gyms or fitness centers.

    “Accessibility is crucial, as it ensures that even the most remote community members can benefit from my expertise and guidance,” says Evan.

    With this grant, Evan plans to upgrade his electronic devices, which will benefit both his Indigenous business and educational needs. He says investing in technology will empower him to connect with others, share knowledge, resources and support no matter where folks are located.

    By promoting awareness of the importance of physical activity and overall wellness, Evan hopes to inspire fellow Indigenous people to take charge of their health and work together to build stronger, more resilient communities.