Celebrities Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are donating $250,000 to help launch a Canadian mentorship program for Indigenous post-secondary students, the program’s chairperson announced on Tuesday.
Colby Delorme, chair of the Calgary-based Influence Mentoring Society, said the celebrities’ seed funding is an important step forward in cross-cultural understanding and support, which will help eliminate the education and employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians
“Eliminating these gaps and ultimately increasing Indigenous representation in the private sector, including in management and executive positions, should be a shared journey,” Delorme was quoted as saying in a news release.
“This speaks not only to having the resources available to support Indigenous youth, but also is a signal of true reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.”
Influence Mentoring Society is excited to announce a generous donation of $250,000 from actors and philanthropists <a href=”https://twitter.com/VancityReynolds?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@vancityreynolds</a> and <a href=”https://twitter.com/blakelively?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@BlakeLively</a>, which allows us to launch the Influence Mentoring Program. Learn more. <br>*<a href=”https://t.co/GC84ZgLNIS”>https://t.co/GC84ZgLNIS</a><br>*<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/superheroes?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#superheroes</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/mentoring?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#mentoring</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Ehb6wkPQPg”>pic.twitter.com/Ehb6wkPQPg</a>
Reynolds and Lively said they were happy to support the program, which seeks to teach Indigenous issues, culture and history to Indigenous youth across Canada and help them enter the job market after graduation.
“We are so happy to support the Influence Mentoring program that will help Indigenous youth in Canada, who are trying to successfully complete their post-secondary pursuits and enter the job market for the first time,” Reynolds said. “All too often, diverse groups are left behind in the things we take for granted. This program aims to rectify that imbalance.”
Lively and Reynolds have spent much of the past year in philanthropic pursuits. The couple donated $1 million to food non-profits Feeding America and Food Banks Canada at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, and followed that up with another donation of the same size in February of this year.
They similarly donated $200,000 to an institute at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia to help promote Indigenous women’s leadership in June 2020, and in November donated $250,000 to each Covenant House Toronto and Vancouver.
Reynolds also spent much of 2020 on social media attempting to cheer up struggling fans, as well as giving smaller donations to individuals in need during the pandemic.