TD Bank Group has made a significant gift of $400,000 in support of strategic First Nations’ initiatives at the University of Lethbridge that will enhance educational experiences for Blackfoot and other First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.
“We are thrilled to support the University of Lethbridge in its efforts to improve access to post-secondary education for Aboriginal youth,” says Monique Bateman, Senior Vice President, Prairie Region, TD Bank Group. “This gift is part of TD's broader commitment to diversity and inclusion and to ensuring all students feel valued, respected and supported.”
The new funding will support the already established First Nations’ Transition Program (FNTP) and the creation of a First Nations’ Gathering Centre at the U of L campus.
“The U of L places tremendous emphasis on the success of Blackfoot and other FNMI students,” says U of L President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Mike Mahon. “To successfully achieve this goal, an inclusive campus environment is critical. TD’s investment in this area will ensure FNMI students continue to receive enhanced supports that remove barriers to successful post-secondary outcomes.”
The First Nations' Transition Program assists Aboriginal students with the transition to post-secondary educational settings. This transition can be difficult both academically and financially. The success rate for students entering full academic programs after being involved with the program has dramatically increased since the inception of this program.
Supports offered through the FNTP include a speaker series, study skills workshops, personal counselling, career and employment counselling, academic planning, financial planning, scholarships and loans information, access to tutors and a learning facilitator.
The First Nations' Gathering Centre will create a welcoming "home away from home" for Blackfoot and other Aboriginal students, faculty and staff. The space will be appropriate for ceremony, smudging and celebration, and offer a place to gather in community and to collaboratively support one another in their educational aspirations.
“The University of Lethbridge sincerely thanks the generosity of TD for this gift and commends the organization for its important commitment to such a critical area,” says Dean of Arts and Science, Dr. Craig Cooper. “First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth represent one of the fastest growing populations in our country. Helping to ensure success for our FNMI students not only serves them well, but also our province and nation.”
TD’s support of the University of Lethbridge dates back almost 25 years and includes financial support provided to the U of L Alumni Association through TD Insurance. TD’s cumulative giving to the U of L is nearly $1 million.