Why do we have a trust

About The Trust

What is the Trust

How Does it Benefit Us?

A TRUST is a way of holding property for another person or group of people. Property held in a trust is often defined in a written agreement. The property held by the Thunderbird Trust is the money held for the beneficiaries of the trust, and the beneficiaries are the members of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (COTTFN). One of the purposes of establishing a trust is that it allows trustees to manage the property of the trust so that it benefits the beneficiaries defined by the trust.

The beneficiaries of the Thunderbird Trust are specified in section 2 of the Trust Agreement. The beneficiaries are specified as registered members of COTTFN who were born at the time that the Trust Agreement was agreed to.

The purpose of the Thunderbird Trust is found in section 4 of the Trust Agreement. It provides that the main purpose of the trust is the promotion of the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of the COTTFN.

How does the trust work

How are decisions made

Miigwech from all of us at Thunderbird Trust

Trustees are members of the community

There are seven trustees that help authorize expenditures and investments. When the trust was first executed in 2004, one of the criteria was that the trust would have seven trustees. The trustees were to be made up of five elected eligible, adult community members and two members appointed by COTTFN Chief and  Council with the majority to be living on reserve.

The role of the Trustees includes maintaining legal control and ownership of the trust property. The trustees of the Thunderbird Trust are obligated by law to act only in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the trust. Community meetings are held annually and all trustee meetings are open to the community. The Trust Agreement defines what the trustees are allowed and not allowed to do with the property of the Trust. The trustees are guided by the Trust Agreement, in their administration, investments and distribution of funding.

What is their job?

The Trustees are legally obligation to act with the utmost good faith, and in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the trust. The standard of care, skill, judgment and diligence required of a Trustee is that of a person of ordinary prudence in managing their own investments.

Authority of the Trustees is set out in section 10 of the Trust Agreement, including the authority to pay authorized expenses; to retain the services of advisors, professionals or others to assist the Trustees in the performance of their duties; to pay reasonable remuneration to the Board of Trustees for the performance of their duties; pay out the Trust Property for the benefit of any one or more of the beneficiaries.

“I like the fact that we have a community trust run by community members”

COTTFN Citizen

Does Everyone benefit

What is Considered Benevolent Purposes

The Trust Agreement has specific purposes in how the Trust benefits COTTFN. The health and wellbeing of the community is considered under section 8.8 of the Trust Agreement, also known as “Benevolent Purposes”. Under Benevolent Purposes the Trustees also have the authority to use the Trust in support of the education of Chippewas of the Thames members. Of course there is much more to benevolent purposes, such as the physical and mental health of COTTFN members.

Other Benevolent Purposes

Community Growth

Economic Development

We are a nation of people who have grown with their environment. As such, the Trust Agreement itemizes that the Trustees may, at their discretion, authorize to use the trust to support economic development with the creation and operation of COTTFN members’ owned and operated businesses.

Basic Shelter


The Trustees have the authority to use the trust property to assist and invest in housing for members. This includes the opportunity to purchase and build homes, renovate and make improvements to assist with elderly and disabled. In addition, the trustees may contribute to housing programs.

Per Capita Distribution Limitations

Do Community Members Benefit directly?

Per Capita Distribution Payments to members

Section 6.10 of the Trust Agreement sets the amount and the limitations for per capita distribution payments. Unfortunately, members who were born or registered after the day the compensation was paid into the trust account November 26, 2004,  would not be eligible for the Per Capita Distribution payment. 

Thunderbird trust is an opportunity to help our community.

The Thunderbird Trust is part of Chippewas of the Thames past, present and future. Our legal purpose as a “Trust” is defined in the trust document. Our community purpose is defined by the community.