National Bank’s Mission to Support Indigenous Youth Continues With $300,000 Donation

I am honored to announce that National Bank has donated $300,000 to Right To Play in support of indigenous youth.

Right To Play is a global organization that aims to use the positive power of sports and play to educate and empower youth in their local communities. The organization works in partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and urban organizations across Canada to build life and leadership skills amongst children and youth through the Promoting Life Skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program.

This year, National Bank’s partnership with Right To Play has reached a new peak. As part of our ongoing mission to support indigenous youth, a $300,000 check was given to the PLAY program during the annual Right To Play Youth Leadership Symposium in Haliburton, Ontario. The donation will help facilitate the execution of the Youth Leadership Program, which is a component of the PLAY program dedicated to children of 13 or older. Over 3,000 Indigenous children nationwide will benefit from weekly opportunities to enhance their cognitive, social, physical and emotional development.

We have had a long history of partnering with Indigenous communities across Canada. It gives me great pride to see the Bank support Indigenous youth by allowing everyone to grow up healthy, well-educated, and empowered to make a difference in their communities. Today’s youth are building our future, and we need to offer the same possibilities to all children across the country.

The PLAY initiative will consist of a training program for locally-hired youth workers in the First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities across Canada to deliver play-based programs that promote healthy living and relationships, education, and employability life skills.

National Bank President and CEO Louis Vachon described the PLAY program as follows: “From innovative bond programs reinvested into community infrastructures to funding homegrown life skills training initiatives like the PLAY Program, we’re committed to having a positive impact by advancing social and economic opportunities across our country. Thank you to all local youth workers for their dedication and for being the driving forces in the successful rollout of this program.”

For more information on how you can help, please visit www.righttoplay.ca.

Tech4Good 2019

On Saturday, April 27, 14 of us from National Bank led the way in money raised at the Tech4Good Tournament for a record breaking $430,000 raised to promote awareness and funds for Connected North.

Connected North fosters student engagement and enhanced education in remote indigenous communities. The program’s principles are built on: relationship building, empowerment and diversity of voices.

Please visit www.connectednorth.org to learn more. 

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Connected North Champion Profile

Sean St. John
It’s a hard reality in Canada that children in many of our northernmost Indigenous communities face real challenges each and every day. Social issues that stem from intergenerational trauma are compounded by the remoteness of these communities and the difficulty of reaching these youth with the resources and support they need to realize their potential.

This is not lost on Sean St. John. Drawing on his Mohawk heritage, his commitment to helping young people be the best they can be, and his passion around the importance of sports to build confidence and resilience – Sean did not hesitate for a second to get involved in supporting Connected North. By using technology to conquer the challenges of time and distance, students in the north are gaining access to much needed resources and learning opportunities.

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Pay It Forward in the New Year

While most of us in the business world have set goals related to increased productivity and profitability in 2019, I’d like to make an additional suggestion. Let this be the year you give back to your community and increase your charitable involvement.

As I look back over 2018, I am glad I took time outside the office to chair “Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer” at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. The event raised $2.7 million for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation to continue cutting edge research. I sat down with Courtny Vandervelde over the holidays and outlined a plan to grow the Bay Street participation and fundraising target this year.

Also in 2018, I co-chaired Right To Play’s “The Heroes” gala honoring Louis Vachon, National Bank’s CEO. We raised a record-breaking $2.8 million for the organization, a success that I am very proud of, and that I forward to co-chairing the event again this year, alongside members of the Sunlife team, as we honor Dean Connor.

Another event that I was thrilled to be a part of was the “Tech4Good” hockey tournament that supports Connected North, a breakthrough program reaching Indigenous communities in Canada’s remote north. We hit the ice with 350 players to raise critically needed funds that will add more schools and students to the network. Charity work and community participation is a large part of our culture at National Bank. It’s a wonderful way to spend time with your peers. Honestly, I think a lot of people engulf themselves in work, tending to neglect life outside of the office. But we all know the important aspects of life are family, friends and community.

Of course, I’ve also set professional goals for 2019. I want to help even more entrepreneurs raise capital that will build their businesses. It is such an honor to be trusted enough to play a part in someone’s success.

As for my own team, I’ll be focusing on my new role as Co-Head of Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities, as we integrate the different groups and bring together a collective strategy that will grow the business. We have a top notch group of leaders. I am excited about that new challenge as well.

Outside my career and philanthropic efforts, I will continue to spend most of my spare time with my son. As parents, we have the capacity to motivate our children in so many positive ways. Encouragement is so powerful that it can actually alter the course of someone’s life. We must carve out time to build confidence and character in our children.

Taking time to get out there, help others in the community, being involved with yourfamily –these are all important keys that will make 2019 a healthy and balanced year.

Tech4Good Hockey Tournament

I am proud to support the inaugural Tech4Good Hockey Tournament in support of Connected North – a breakthrough program leveraging interactive, high definition video to deliver education and youth mental health and wellness services to students in Indigenous communities in Canada’s remote north.

This event is on April 7, 2018. We will hit the ice with 350 other players to help raise critically needed funds to enable us to service more communities and add more schools and students to the network. Help us ensure that children in our northern-most communities have access to the support, experiences and opportunities that they deserve.