The Shevchenko Foundation (TSF) is pleased to announce the establishment of the Canadian WWI Internment Legacy program to succeed and continue the work of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund (CFWWIRF).
The Internment Legacy acknowledges the work of numerous community stakeholders, including the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, in establishing the endowment as created by the Government of Canada and reflects the commitment of TSF to honour the mission for which it was established.
During Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914 to 1920 thousands of men, women and children were branded as “enemy aliens.” Many were imprisoned. Stripped of what little wealth they had, forced to do heavy labour in Canada’s hinterlands, they were disenfranchised and subjected to other state-sanctioned censures not because of anything they had done but only because of where they had come from, and who they were.
Established in 2008 by the Government of Canada, the CFWWIRF was entrusted to the Shevchenko Foundation as steward of the Fund. The activities of the Fund have been efficiently overseen over the term of the funding agreement by an Endowment Council which included representation from the affected ethnocultural communities and internee descendants.
In compliance with the funding agreement, the capital remains at $10M while the income earned under TSF stewardship has consistently funded a wide range of projects that inform and educate Canadians about Canada’s First National Internment Operations 1914-1920. Over 15 years the CFWWIRF has granted close to 6 million dollars in support of historical exhibits, books, commemorative plaques and statues, films, internee cemeteries, historical research, artistic endeavours, virtual and augmented reality, and educational resources.
The funding agreement with the Government of Canada expired On May 9, 2023, and as a result, the endowment will now be administered as part of the existing TSF grants program. The funds will continue to support projects that commemorate and recognize the experiences of ethno-cultural communities affected by the First World War internment and address the ongoing harm resulting from this unjust internment. Detailed information about the Legacy Fund and the application process for funding support will be found on TSF’s website.
In addition, a new knowledge portal will ensure that the research and other work funded by the CFWWIRF will be maintained and expanded, to provide resources for continuing internment education and awareness.
A Thank You
TSF expresses gratitude to the Chair of the CFWWIRF Endowment Council, Borys Sirskyj, and past Chairs Andrew Hladyshevsky, K.C., Orest Kruhlak, Ivan Grbešić, Emil Yereniuk, Andrew Harasymiw, and Boris Balan, for their effective leadership in ensuring the realization of many worthy projects that serve to educate Canadians about this tragic period in Canadian history.
TSF recognizes the contribution of all members of the Endowment Council, including representatives of the German, Hungarian, Serbian, Polish, Croatian, Jewish, and other affected communities to furthering the mission of the Fund.
A special thank you is extended to all internee descendants who embrace and share their familial histories with Canadians. Only through their stories can we truly understand the lingering effect of the internment operations on individuals, families, and their communities.
TSF looks forward to strengthening the Internment Legacy in the tradition of the CFWWIRF by promoting the values of inclusivity, excellence, and innovation in the spirit of partnership and cooperation.
For more information on the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund