2021 Social Impact Report
Courage to Love
As Animikii accelerates our scale and growth we are deeply committed to continuing to plan, co-create and measure our social impact. This report is a collection of stories to help illustrate the impact we are making.
First, we want to acknowledge that 2021 will be remembered as a difficult year for many.
We were all affected by the discovery of unmarked graves at former Residential Schools, first in Kamloops and then across Turtle Island. Our team is proud to continue to support the efforts of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, along with communities and organizations dedicated to Truth and Reconciliation.
We also worked closely with our partners who were directly affected by the climate crisis in British Columbia. A website we created pro-bono in 2020 became a crucial source of information for citizens of Kanaka Bar First Nation during the catastrophic forest fire and subsequent floods this year.
Amidst the pandemic and bad news, we also celebrated our partners achievements and continued to chart a new and hopeful path forward for Indigenous technology.
We are more committed than ever to our mission of creating positive social impact.
As we add new Thunderbirds - 19 this year! - we add more community volunteer hours, pro-bono projects, and can increase the overall contributions we make to the Truth and Reconciliation movement. As we further develop an ecosystem of Indigenous partners we can help more communities as the transition away from extraction-based industries and towards ethical technology development.
For 2022 we recognize the need to have Courage to Love. If colonization was an attack on relations and Love, one way we can decolonize is to Love with intention. We have set a lofty goal of tracking “1000 Acts of Love” across our organization as one way we can create the world and technology we want.
Social Impact Statement
Our impact focuses on creating equitable outcomes for Indigenous Peoples, and our tool of choice is technology. We achieve this impact every day through our work in supporting Indigenous-led Innovation and Truth and Reconciliation movements with our skills and resources. By being an example of an Indigenous-focused tech company, we hope to inspire the next generation of Indigenous youth to choose technology and entrepreneurship as a career path. We believe investing in technology is one path forward for economic justice, self-sufficiency, and equitable outcomes for Indigenous Peoples. Our work supports economic development initiatives that transition away from resource extraction towards knowledge-based economies.
Animikii’s company values are rooted in Indigenous knowledge and guide our business decisions.. Specifically, the 7 Grandfather Teachings from Anishinaabe culture inform our relationships with clients, partners, employees, contractors and other collaborators. Our values are Humility, Truth, Honesty, Wisdom, Respect, Courage, and Love. Learn more about how we define these in the context of our work at Animikii on our website.
One of the ways we use to express these values is using a peer-recognition program called Bonus.ly where Thunderbirds lift up their teammates with a kind note accompanied by points, which can be converted to gift cards or charitable donations ($700 donated by Thunderbirds directly). Each accolade is accompanied by a hashtag that identifies which Value we are celebrating! Here is a peak into how our team valued each other this year.
Sharing Our Stories
We reflect on the impact of our work through stories. We do this because we don’t believe impact can be measured only through metrics and statistics. Impact encompasses the influence our actions have on our communities — whether through giving back, volunteering, and Indigenous technological self-determinism.
How did we express our values through giving back?
Auntie Up! is a celebration of Indigenous women talking about the important stuff in podcast form! Aunties can be counted on to speak their truth without the sugar-coating. Animikii sponsored and created the website and the branding for the Makwa Creative produced production. The show is hosted by SirusXM’s Kim Wheeler and Joleen Banning, and Executive Produced by Tanya Talaga. The podcast was celebrated nationally and featured land defenders, food advocates and Knowledge Keepers.
Natives in Tech
We were proud sponsors of this year's Natives in Tech conference. The organization's mission is to “cultivate a tech ecosystem of Native technologists crafting free and open source technology for Native communities.” In past years members of our team have enjoyed speaking at the conference, so this year we decided to give back by sponsoring speakers fees for the youngest speakers at the conference. The virtual event connects Indigenous tech ideas and people to one another.
Our team is dedicated to helping the next generation of Indigenous technologists and entrepreneurs make their goals a reality with a scholarship created for them. Thunderbirds volunteer to review and meet applicants and select two students to receive the award. We are excited to announce that in 2022 we will not only be doubling the number of award winners from 2 to 4, but also the scholarship amount to $1000 each.
Every year Thunderbirds are asked to speak to media, classrooms and industry leaders about our work. In 2021, we spoke to groups of art students, grocery executives, media experts and presented virtually to large audiences. Entrepreneurship, data sovereignty and decolonizing design were all topics covered this year by our Thunderbirds resulting in a total of 38 speaking engagements, collecting $21,100 for the scholarship fund.
National Association of Friendship Centres
Animikii continued to provide in-kind service to the National Association of Friendship Centres so they can develop their website. The website is important for connecting the national organization to all 100+ Friendship Centres across Turtle Island. Animikii has been supporting the NAFC for over five years.
Animikii Open: Statutory Holiday Policy & Board Diversity Policy
Last year we introduced our new Statutory Holiday Policy: our staff are able to substitute government mandated statutory holidays with days that have more meaning or significance to them. We also introduced a policy mandating at least 50% of our Board are Indigenous and at least 50% are women or non-binary people. Both of these policies are open-source through a Creative Commons License and are available on open.animikii.com for anyone to use. We have heard of several other companies and partners of ours that have implemented one or both of the policies!
Thunderbirds as Mentors
Several of our team members have been actively involved in mentoring youth this year. Animikii’s Lead Software Developer, Chuck Frank is supporting Indspire and mentoring a young programmer. Lead Designer Mark Rutledge has been supporting student designers including being the Keynote Speaker at the 2021 York/Sheridan Program in Design Graduation. Thunderbirds James Matsuba and Fabio Papa have built partnership with First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) to provide developer mentorship programs to serve Indigenous youth. The goal is to provide support to students and alumni of FNTC during and after their studies to help them get that crucial first job as a developer. The long-term vision is to increase the number of Indigenous youth selecting tech as a career path and increase the representation of Indigenous wisdom in tech.
Our Impact in Numbers
Donated to Indigenous Organizations
Hours of Time-based Giving and Volunteer Opportunities
Hours of Professional Development for our Team
36 Team Members
35% Women 43% Indigenous 49% BIPOC 19 New Thunderbirds!
Community Events (Remote)
Added to the scholarship fund through the store and speaking engagements
Awarded to 2 Indigenous Students
65 Diverse Suppliers
41% Indigeous 49% BIPOC
Across our platforms:
We reached 562,460 people, gathered 2,382 new followers, and had 78,244 visitors to our website!
The Animikii Community Continues to grow!
Interacting with our community looks a bit different in 2021 than it did in previous years. We are so grateful we’re able to keep in touch with everyone through our social platforms. Our team is looking forward to when we can start sharing news, stories, thoughts, and ideas in person again, one day soon!
Enhanced High School Programming with Edmonton Public Schools: Website & Selector App
EPSB was looking to create a platform to streamline their students for digital learning. They envisioned it to be a one stop shop access for alternative programming. We created a platform that helps the students find information quickly and re-connects students with registrars faster than ever with a custom-built selector app on the front page.
Nicola Watershed Governance Project
Animikii worked with representatives of the 5 Nicola First Nations as well as the Province of B.C. on the Nicola Watershed Governance Project (NWGP) website and communications. We were responsible for their communications strategy and building a website to communicate floor, drought and other critical water issues and information. This innovative co-governance project is particularly critical as the Nicola Valley experienced climate related catastrophic flooding this year.
Pathfinding is our custom-software needs assessment process. We used to call this “roadmapping”, but in 2021 we overhauled the process and changed the name to “pathfinding” to better reflect our more collaborative, iterative, and respectful approach to amplifying the work that our partners already do. In the spirit of building a cooperative Indigenous tech ecosystem, we now use this process to find paths forward to building better software without assuming that we’ll be the ones to do this work. As such, to respect the privacy of our partners we won’t highlight any specific projects here, but expect some cool software to come out in 2022!
Who we are working with
Indigenous Organizations Supported
Non-Profit Organizations Supported
First Nation Community Projects
Educational Institutions Supported
Individual Artists Supported
Government Organizations Supported
Moccasins, Stinging Nettle tea and the power of social procurement
As Animikii grows, our team is seeing the incredible power of our social procurement efforts. As a company we pride ourselves on sourcing from Indigenous businesses, B Corps and other innovative technology companies.
This year, with over thirty team members, we see the even larger ripple effect of our social purchasing practices.
Our t-shirt orders are steadily growing as our longtime friend and partners at Victoria-based Brandigenous notes each time we place an order. Inspired by their work as “technology for good,” we’ve kicked off a relationship with B Corp HelpScout to scale our customer service for our SaaS products.
And, we’ve strengthened our relationship with Northern Village, a web agency dedicated to social impact. Their team of five builds social purpose websites on our CMS Chinuk. Also a B Corp, their team won a province wide business award from Meridian bank for their dedicated community service during the pandemic.
Warm Feet & Hearts
One example we hope warms your heart. Each quarter our retreat committee collaborates to select gifts to send to all our Thunderbirds. The gifting is guided by the teachings of balance and health embodied in the sacred Medicine wheel. This year those selections included moccasins for each of our team members. Our original order of 30 pairs inspired many Thunderbirds to order moccasins for their loved ones. At last count: over a dozen additional pairs.
Another package this year included Stinging Nettle tea, with instructions gifted to us by a traditional knowledge keeper. This inspired much learning, thinking and reflections on tea at Animikii. It also meant we bought a lot of tea harvested by Indigenous people.
Want to Get in Touch?
If you are interested in requesting pro bono services and support through our giving back program, please tell us how we can help. If you would like to hire us to work with your organization, please contact us.
Interested to hear about our 2022 giving back projects? Don’t wait until next year’s Social Impact Report! We post updates about all of our partners and social impact projects on our social channels and blog - like us to follow along with the Animikii story.
About the Artist
Bruce Barry is our featured artist this year. He is an Ojibwe artist who works in a wide range of art expressions: painting, stone, charcoal, paper made from plant fibers and various other materials. He has taught art in Canada, the United States, on various First Nations and in his community. Bruce’s artwork is featured in institutional and private collections around the world. You can learn more about his art at: www.brucebarryart.com