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RBC switches gears on scholarship program to better support Black, Indigenous youth

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RBC switches gears on scholarship program to better support Black, Indigenous youth

By Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative ReporterIori:wase

Wed., Oct. 6, 20212 min. read

Early Newspaper

One of Canada’s biggest financial institutions has ‘reimagined’ its scholarship program to make it more inclusive, the company announced last week, by doubling up on the money available to deserving young Indigenous and Black youth for their academic success.

The new scholarship programs will see one existing program get a new name and get the annual scholarship money get doubled – from $5,000 to $10,000 per year, for a maximum of four years of study.

Previously known as the RBC Indigenous Student Award, the RBC Future Launch Scholarship for Indigenous Youth will award $10,000 per year to 20 self-identifying First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth (aged 15 to 29) who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents and have applied to, or are currently attending an accredited post-secondary institution.

“The evolution of this scholarship ensures it will continue to improve the lives of young Indigenous peoples and their local communities, as it has for over two decades,” said retired Indigenous professor of Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba. “Indigenous students pursuing their career dreams today have an important and inclusive support in the RBC Future Launch Scholarship for Indigenous Youth,” said Dr. Wanda Wuttunee, who is also part of the scholarship’s selection committee.

More than $1.8 million has been awarded to 198 Indigenous youth since 1992.

“We’re excited to continue the momentum of the RBC Future Launch scholarship programs to help hundreds of young Canadians create the future they want to pursue,” said RBC vice-president Mark Beckles. “Thanks to our strong partnerships with community leaders across the country, we have been able to design three of the most impactful scholarships for young people that exist today. We cannot wait to see what these future leaders will accomplish in the years ahead.”

For more than a quarter-century, the scholarship has been shaped by influences from many Indigenous communities. The scholarship is now also supported by the Royal Eagles, RBC’s vibrant and diverse Indigenous employee community and resource group. Their contributions were integral to designing and delivering the scholarship, ensuring it will meet the needs of young people it is meant to support, an RBC statement said. In addition, Universities Canada, a national leader in scholarship management for more than 50 years, will administer the program – and work in partnership with selection committees to award the Indigenous youth scholarships.

In 2020, as part of its corporate action plan against systemic racism, RBC committed to providing $50 million in focused funding through RBC Future Launch to create meaningful and transformative pathways to prosperity for up to 25,000 BIPOC youth by 2025, with investments in areas such as skills development and mentoring. RBC also committed to allocating 40 percent of summer opportunities to BIPOC youth, with a focus on recruiting from Indigenous and Black communities.

Eligible students who apply will be evaluated by an advisory committee of Indigenous leaders from business, academic, and non-profit backgrounds. Students awarded the scholarship will receive access to additional resources in the form of mentorship and internship and networking opportunities.

For more information on the RBC Future Launch Scholarship for Indigenous Youth, visit rbc.com/futurelaunchscholarships.

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RBC switches gears on scholarship program to better support Black, Indigenous youth