Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have donated $250,000 to Influence Mentoring Society, an organization that helps Indigenous youth in post-secondary education, with the goal of eliminating employment gaps faced by Canada's Indigenous peoples.
In many Indigenous cultures, mentoring is an important way in which youth are guided through the world and learn from their elders. The donation will allow the organization to launch its Influence Mentoring Program. The online program helps Indigenous post-secondary students find mentors anywhere in Canada, who work with youth to improve their knowledge on Indigenous cultures, history and issues.
"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," the couple said 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."
Proteges that want to join the program must be of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and Non-Status descent, and enrolled in post-secondary education. Want to apply? Watch here for more information!
— info (@influencementor) March 1, 2021
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's final report into the history and impacts of the residential school system made 94 calls to action to further reconciliation and "redress the legacy" of the system. Many of these involved improving access to education for Indigenous peoples, appropriate classes on Indigenous issues and history and the elimination gaps in schooling and employment 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," Colby continued. "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."
Happy to kick off this Indigenous-led and Indigenous-run women’s initiative with @CoadyStFX and @Coadywomenlead. I’m finally an X-Man. X-Person? Thank you, @stfxuniversity#IndigenousHistoryMonthhttps://t.co/vWfYwRcRRD
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) June 29, 2020
This isn't the first time Ryan and Blake have supported Indigenous employment. Last year, they donated $200,000 to the International Centre for Women's Leadership at Nova Scotia's St. Francis Xavier University to help its Indigenous programming.
"The world's changing quickly, and one thing we're sure of is that communities are best led from within," Ryan said in a statement at the time. "Indigenous women are the leaders who will develop and implement approaches to increase social capital of their own communities, organizations and nations."
That’s a wrap with our first class of Group Effort Initiative Trainees on #TheAdamProject. Thank you to the entire cast & crew for supporting this program. We look forward to continuing to grow this initiative in the future. @netflix@ShawnLevyDirect@VancityReynolds@blakelivelypic.twitter.com/BJeTVWAvhe
— Group Effort (@groupeffort) March 1, 2021
Ryan also dedicated a portion of his salary from Netflix's The Adam Project, which was shot in Vancouver, toward hiring BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) crew members through the Group Effort Intiative.
"Making a movie, well, it's a group effort. But for entirely too long, that group has systemically excluded Black, Indigenous, people of colour and a whole host of other marginalized communities, of all ages," he said in a statement at the time.
We're happy to hear about Ryan and Blake's new donation!