Founded in 1984, to provide a gathering place and serve the needs of the Native people in Dryden and surrounding area, the Dryden Native Friendship Centre (DNFC) has become an active, thriving Urban Aboriginal Hub Agency – a Gathering Place in the City of Dryden, as well as provides outreach services to the community of Wabigoon (unincorporated).
DNFC experienced a few dark years in the mid 2000`s, was deemed a ``Centre in Difficulty``, culminating in 2007 with removal of programs and temporary closure of the facilities. The community of Dryden continued to receive minimal services, (2 programs) which were administrated by the Atikokan Friendship Centre.
In 2008, Dryden Urban Aboriginal community members – DNFC Board of Directors, with the support and guidance of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) reinstated DNFC Corporate operations, as Dryden was at risk of permanently losing Aboriginal Friendship Centre Base funding. An OFIFC contractor (S. Ledger) was secured the fall of 2008, to assist the DNFC Leadership/community to implement an action plan to reinstate Core operations and Community services & programming. Deliverables which were achieved with community support included: recruiting & registering membership, (achieved 120 members) hosting Annual General Meeting (October 2008, 51 members attended), membership election of new Board of Directors (9), maintain facilities (53 Arthur St) – open doors to public; attended to outstanding program reports, legal obligations and financial position, including negotiations with outstanding venders; Development of a Recovery Plan; and secure full time Executive Director/Management (January 2009). Based on the demonstrated community need, commitment, and support, the OFIFC was able to reinstate DNFC’s base funding.
In March 2009, the OFIFC reinstated to DNFC five (5) community programs, (namely: Life Long Care, Healing & Wellness, Health Outreach Worker, Akwe:go and Wasa-‐Nabin). New Management struggled with the inherited challenges and re-‐establishing a community Friendship Centre with limited resources/supports, culminating with his resignation in June 2009, and DNFC once again struggling. In the fall of 2009, DNFC successfully recruited a qualified/experienced manager (2008 OFIFC/ DNFC contractor, S. Ledger) who possessed significant experience in Aboriginal Community Development, Not-‐For-‐Profit organizations, and an extensive network with and knowledge of various government funding agencies. Under new Leadership and a strong manager, DNFC developed and implemented a solid Recovery Plan 2009 -‐ 2011, which maintained focus on original mandate, DNFC internal needs and community program deliverables.
Under new Leadership, DNFC steadily regained its capacity to become an effective Urban Aboriginal Friendship Centre.