by Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Colby Delorme, chair of the Calgary-based Influence Mentoring Society, announced recently that actors Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have donated $250k to the society.
A collaborative organization, Influence is a new initiative aimed at building capacity, talent, and career opportunities for Indigenous students by facilitating a mentor-protégé relationship.
“This project exemplifies the spirit of reconciliation whereby Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who believe that providing mentoring opportunities for post-secondary, Indigenous youth, adapt a two-way mentoring model, and in doing so work together to build stronger relationships while improving cross-cultural understanding and appreciation,” said Delorme in a press release.
“Further, Article 14 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People affirms this importance, stating that ’Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.’
The acting couple said that they were happy to support the program, “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.”
The pair are well known for contributing generously to philanthropic endeavours in Canada. They donated $1 million to food non-profits Feeding America and Food Banks Canada at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.
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.