The deadline for submissions to the Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP) has officially closed for this year.

Having finished up on Oct. 13, the AIP will being the selection process for who will receive funding for community-based ideas.

“The Arctic Inspiration Prize is basically an Arctic owned, run, and operated organization that provides funding to different projects across the Arctic,” said Glen Abernethy, the NWT regional manger of the AIP.

This includes the but is not limited to the NWT, Yukon, and Nunavut.

The prizes that the AIP (which is now celebrating it’s 10 anniversary) distributes fall underneath that of cash giveaways, ranging from a $1 million prize to individual $100,000 prizes.

“It’s managed by a board of trustees who are primarily individuals from across the Arctic,” said Abernethy. “We give out a number of prizes every year, we give a $1 million prize, we give up to four prizes under the Arctic inspiration category, which could be up to $500,000. We give away up to seven youth prizes that can be up to $100,000 each in the youth category. So were providing funding to Northern projects that benefit community people, the North, in general.”

What constitutes a Northern project? “That’s a little bit too vague,” said Abernethy. “But it’s also a little bit too broad.

“These are projects that Northerners, from across the entire Arctic Region, feel are going to add value to their communities,” he continued. “Whether it’s adding value to a particular group in the communities, whether it’s adding value to the whole community. If you look at the types of projects that we’ve supported over the years, they range significantly, and some of them are supporting and providing services across multiple jurisdictions.”

Abernethy provided some examples of what could make up a Northern community project, such as FOXY and the Northern Compass.

“If you look at FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression about Youth),” he began. “They’re providing services in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. So they’re providing very, very broad support to a particular target group, young people in particular.”

“If you look at the other prize that was supported two years ago (2019), the Northern Compass,” he continued. “That’s a project that has leadership in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. They’re providing valuable services to Indigenous youth in preparation to helping them get ready for universities.

“We believe that there’s really great ideas across the Arctic, we believe that there’s really great ideas at the community level, we believe that there’s really good ideas at a cross jurisdictional level. So we’re trying to support them.”

The “bulk of it comes through the charitable trust which is managed by the trustees.

“The founder of the Prize (Arnold Witzig), him and his wife (Sima Sharifi), basically donated $50 million to set up the charitable trusts,” said Abernethy.

“The interest off of that is how the the prizes are funded, but that only covers a portion,” he continued. “We also go out and fundraise, we seek partnerships through different organizations across the Arctic, and they [the organizations] come on as prize partners.

“The whole prize is co-owned by Indigenous governments, Indigenous organizations across the entire Arctic. So the co-owners also fund a portion of the prize as well. Then prize partners, organizations like SSI Canada, by way of example, has come on and are providing some funding to help fund the magnitude of prizes that we support.”

According to Abernethey, applications will most likely be reviewed (at least with regards to the NWT) on Nov. 9.

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