Through the EleV Program, the Mastercard Foundation is investing $500 million with the goal of reaching 100,000 Indigenous youth by 2030. To date, this includes collaborations with more than 45 partners in all regions of Canada. Our partners work in education, employment, entrepreneurship, and growth sectors identified by Indigenous youth like clean energy, eco-tourism, and digital technology. One of the key lessons the Foundation is taking to governments, policy makers, and the public is that we support success for Indigenous youth by getting behind Indigenous-led innovation.
Learn more about the transformative work our partners and Indigenous young people are leading across the country in the video series below.
Indigenous people are the youngest, fastest growing population in Canada, a tremendous source of energy, potential and positive change for everyone in the country. But Indigenous youth are not accessing post-secondary education or graduating at the same rate as non-Indigenous learners. Indigenous-led organizations, and those working in deep partnership with Indigenous youth, communities, and grassroots initiatives, are transforming educational institutions and creating new approaches grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing and doing to increase access and success for Indigenous youth in post-secondary education.
Upon completion of education or training programs, Indigenous young people may not have access to meaningful work that is aligned with their goals and aspirations or close to their communities. Due to systemic barriers, many may be unable to remain in their field of choice or to pursue a livelihood that is consistent with self-determination and sovereignty. Indigenous-led organizations, and those working in deep partnership with Indigenous youth, communities, and grassroots initiatives, are developing new, Indigenous models of employment, entrepreneurship and economic growth.
Indigenous language and culture are essential to the well-being and success of Indigenous youth. Unfortunately, more than a century of government-imposed laws, policies and practices have created a situation in which no Indigenous language is safe from disappearing. Indigenous-led organizations, and those working in deep partnership with Indigenous youth, communities, and grassroots initiatives, are taking bold and innovative approaches to revitalization of Indigenous languages and cultures, and to embedding Indigenous ways of learning, being and doing into education and employment systems across Canada.
In all our work—through education, training, entrepreneurship, meaningful livelihoods, revitalization of language and centering Indigenous knowledge—systems change is an essential and foundational component. Now is the time to work together to transform broken systems through bold solutions founded in the vision and values of Indigenous youth, communities, and Nations. Indigenous-led organizations across Canada are building these systems today that invest in youth leadership, in Indigenous expertise and local knowledge to transform education and employment systems.