Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively Donate $250K To Group Helping Indigenous Youth

Maija Kappler
·Associate LIFE Editor, HuffPost Canada
·2 min read
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds at the 2017 Met Gala on May 1, 2017. (Photo: Jackson Lee / Contributor)
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds at the 2017 Met Gala on May 1, 2017. (Photo: Jackson Lee / Contributor)

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have donated $250,000 to a Canadian group that mentors Indigenous youth.

Influence Mentoring offers support to Indigenous students looking for job opportunities by matching them with mentors who will help them in their field. The mentors are not all Indigenous, but they act according to a “spirit of reconciliation,” chairperson Colby Delorme said.

The organization says it’s guided by the calls to action put forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Article 7 calls for a strategy to “eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians,” and Article 14 states 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.

Reynolds, who grew up in Vancouver, and his wife Lively said in the statement that they’re “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.”

Residential school survivor Eugene Arcand holds up a picture of his classmates at the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation commission on Dec. 15, 2015. (Photo: Adrian Wyd / The Canadian Press)
Residential school survivor Eugene Arcand holds up a picture of his classmates at the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation commission on Dec. 15, 2015. (Photo: Adrian Wyd / The Canadian Press)

The couple have donated to charitable causes affecting youth in the past. In 2019, they partnered with the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, a Chicago-based non-profit that advocates for immigrant children who arrive in the U.S. without their parents.

Last summer, during the fallout from the killing of George Floyd, Reynolds and Lively were criticized for their 2012 wedding, which took place at a South Carolina plantation.

“It’s something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for,” Reynolds told Fast Company in August. “A giant fucking mistake like that can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action. It doesn’t mean you won’t fuck up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn’t end.”

Since then, Reynolds and Lively have continued to donate to a number of charitable causes, including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Ottawa Food Bank, an Indigenous women’s leadership program at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, and groups that work with homeless youth in Canada.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost Canada and has been updated.