Funding priorities

A female Indigenous youth and a male Suncor attendee at the Indspire event luncheon at the Palliser Hotel in Calgary.

Our approach for the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) includes three funding priorities that reflect our commitment to combining community and Suncor strengths to co-create social, economic and environmental solutions.

Through our funding priorities, we are dedicated to learning from and with Indigenous Peoples and others to strengthen community – especially while communities are evolving as part of the energy transition. We are collectively experiencing the effects of many changes and believe that Indigenous ways of knowing and community strengths will help us make the adaptations required for the well-being of all.

Theory of change

For each of our three funding priorities, we depict a "theory of change” as a set of interconnecting circles. A theory of change is used by organizations as a strategy and evaluation tool, which can be helpful to envision the conditions and actions that will contribute to a desired change.

The "things we’re learning" are what we’ve been taught by our community partners, and what we are learning through our own experiences. By adding our contributions and support to that learning, we expect to see certain outcomes. These outcomes also reflect the types of organizations and initiatives to which we donate.

We have a long-term strategy that may not see immediate results, but we believe our donations will eventually help achieve a goal for each of our funding priorities. We believe pursuing these goals is a way to help create a future imagined by those we support.

Bullseye breakdown for SEF funding priorities and why they use them
Theory of Change for SEF funding priorities.

Funding priorities

Indigenous

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Goal statement

Learn from Indigenous Peoples toward Indigenous-led solutions, equity, and reconciliation and what they identify as well-being, while honouring the past.

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Intended outcomes

Our donations are aimed at organizations and initiatives for work toward the following outcomes:

  • create change across all sectors through the honouring of Indigenous culture, ways of knowing, wisdom and kinship
  • amplify younger peoples’ voices to develop initiatives for economic and social well-being
  • deepen understanding of all our relations, which supports regenerative approaches
  • remove barriers to thriving and welcome all ways of knowing.
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Things we're learning

  • Indigenous-led may at times need to be “Indigenous-only”
  • at other times, there is a need to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples together to build relationships, reciprocity and understanding
  • self-awareness must be encouraged
  • awareness among non-Indigenous people must be linked to behaviour changes and action
  • experiential opportunities support learning and relationships
  • it can be useful to consider how solutions might be adapted and scaled at a regional, provincial and national level.
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A future we imagine our donations will contribute to

  • Indigenous Peoples have self-determination
  • equity is realized, including across social determinants of health
  • decolonization is advancing / colonial institutions and structures are embracing Indigenous ways of knowing and doing.

Community

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Goal statement

Communities are supported to lead the way and people will connect to fulfill their potential to adapt and thrive through change.

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Intended outcomes

Our donations are for organizations and initiatives for work toward the following outcomes:

  • amplify the social profit sector’s capacity and collaboration to lead change
  • enhance equity, belonging and the ability to work across sectors and systems
  • transfer power to community members to decide how funds are collected and distributed
  • lean into the strengths and expertise of lived experience to co-create solutions for community well-being.
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Things we're learning

  • people will need to adapt, work and live within constant change; struggling to do so will negatively affect mental health
  • organizations aiming to serve those people will need ways of gathering and incorporating diverse perspectives and lived experience
  • self-awareness must be encouraged
  • structures and policy also need to adapt, and should be to support start-ups, social enterprises, intrapreneurs and system entrepreneurs (in addition to the more conventional charitable models)
  • there are both challenges and opportunities withing change, and complexity. No single person or group can create or implement solutions; individuals, organizations, groups and sectors will be stronger together.
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A future we imagine our donations will contribute to

  • community members understand and uphold their shared responsibilities, and are able to share diverse perspectives without polarizing
  • inclusion and belonging are given and bolster mental health underpinned by greater civic engagement
  • people broadly understand that greater equity means greater overall well-being.

Energy

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Goal statement

Communities are supported to lead through the energy transition toward sustainable social and environmental well-being.

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Intended outcomes

Our donations are for organizations and initiatives for work toward the following outcomes:

  • co-create community solutions and opportunities within the transition to net zero economies
  • collaborate across sectors to reduce impacts of climate change on communities and increase resilience
  • increase capacity and openness to the choices that will be required for more regenerative approaches
  • enhance the ways that increase equity and belonging support the energy transition.
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Things we're learning

  • community members can benefit from support as they navigate through community energy planning and climate adaptation
  • financial systems and new economic models can incentivize sustainable change
  • structural, organizational, and institutional changes are necessary for energy transition requiring collaboration across sectors, disciplines, and all levels of government
  • communities and individuals are centred in the transition. A just transition is required.
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A future we imagine our donations will contribute to

  • equitable energy systems exist in urban, rural, remote and Indigenous communities that positively contribute to well-being
  • positive economic and social development occurs in communities that have been reliant on fossil fuel development
  • participation and leadership in the energy system also comes from communities that have not yet benefited.

Apply for funding

Suncor and the Suncor Energy Foundation proudly contribute to non-profit and charitable organizations in Canada and internationally. If you have an idea that aligns with our funding priorities, apply today!

Our three funding priorities are interconnected and successful funding applications are highly aligned with one funding priority and often to two or all three.