British Columbian-born actor Ryan Reynolds and his wife, Blake Lively, have made a sizeable donation to a Canadian-based group to help launch a mentorship program for Indigenous post-secondary students.
The celebrity duo will be donating $250,000 to Influence Mentoring Society, an organization that is looking to “create better opportunities for Indigenous Youth in pursuit of post-secondary careers.”
The organization says that the seed funding from Reynolds and Lively will help bring the organization’s vision closer to reality.
Influence Mentoring Society says it is striving to help eliminate the education and employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians across the country.
“Eliminating these gaps and ultimately increasing Indigenous representation in the private sector, including in management and executive positions, should be a shared journey,” said Influence Mentoring Society Chairperson, Colby Delorme.
“We are incredibly grateful to Ryan and Blake for their generous donation of $250,000. 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.”
Delorme points out that mentorship has traditionally played an important role in the Indigenous community and the organization will strive to build stronger cross-cultural relationships that can help Indigenous youth as they look to enter the job market.
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“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,” said Reynolds and Lively in a statement.
“All too often, diverse groups are left behind in the things we take for granted. This program aims to rectify that imbalance,” adds Reynolds.
As part of the launch of Influence Mentoring, the organization is actively recruiting mentors, protégés, and additional funders and will be seeking partnerships with post-secondary institutions to host the inaugural mentorship pilot project.
Influence Mentoring is based in Calgary but will be connecting proteges to mentors digitally in a multitude of streams including business, technical, financial and academic.
Just recently, Reynolds and Lively also donated $1 million to food non-profits Feeding America and Food Banks Canada in another one of their philanthropic pursuits.