On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, which sparked a global awakening to the realities of anti-Black racism. Demonstrations took place all over the world led by Black communities who already knew the true history and impacts of anti-Black racism. Organizations, municipalities and companies were asked to address systemic anti-Black racism at all levels. In response, the founders of KEATCA (Knowledge, Education and Training Canada) Fund were moved to take action and launched the Black Students in Canada Fund (BSC Fund).
Black communities have been continuously underfunded across Canada (see: Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy for more information). The BSC Fund aims to bring more philanthropic resources to Black communities and believes that post-secondary education and training can be a valuable tool to combat poverty. The BSC Fund provides grants to Black students of all ages who face barriers to attending public post-secondary institutions.
"Systemic anti-Black racism perpetuates inter-generational poverty," emphasizes the founders of the BSC Fund, "and the limited funding available for Black students to continue their education further entrenches that cycle. After listening, reading and reflecting, we knew we wanted to create something that would have a long-term impact."
how it works
The BSC Fund began with a crowd-funding campaign with the goal of raising at least $125,000 and distributing $5000 in grants each year for recipients to use toward post-secondary education and training. The aim is for the Fund to become a sustainable endowment to support Black students in perpetuity. The grantee recipients are identified in partnership with registered Canadian charities run by and for Black communities, and the only criteria is that their family income is less than $30,000 per year.
After a year of hard work and fundraising, the Black Students in Canada Fund was able to provide their first grant in 2021 for a student attending Vancouver Community College and Langara in 2021. M. Y. is a translator and interpreter originating from Eritrea. He came to Canada as a refugee in 2013 with a determination to advocate for the lives and rights of immigrants and refugees, particularly Black and African migrants. His ambition leads him to affect change not only through mass action but through the law by changing the system from within. He is an avid reader, writer and literary translator with membership in the Literary Translators Association of Canada.
And in 2022, the Black Students in Canada Fund was able to make grants to three students!
Sarah Salad is a Forestry student at the University of British Columbia who loves to garden and study plants. She has been working as a Plant Interaction Research Assistant over the past year, is a co-founder of the Black Muslim Collective, and was VP External for the African Awareness Initiative. Sarah is an advocate for many voices on campus and hopes to continue to serve the community in the best ways possible.
The second 2022 grant recipient is Temiloluwa Fatokun, an ambitious young lady from Nigeria who graduated with a 4.5 GPA. She is a lover of many things, ranging from sciences to history and even culinary arts, and started an initiative called "GREENxCLEAN" in Nigeria which tackles pollution and indiscriminate dumping of refuse. T.F. is attending the University of Calgary this fall.
Tinashe Muzah, the third grant recipient, is a recent graduate of the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta. He hails from Zimbabwe and immigrated to Canada in 2009. Tinashe has a deep passion for music, cooking and learning new things. This September, Tinashe will begin his legal education at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. He looks forward to gaining skills and knowledge to affect change in the law and the systems and institutions it governs.
make a donation
The Black Students in Canada Fund is administered by Vancity Community Foundation. To contribute, please visit our website. When donating to the BSC Fund, you can be assured that your donation will contribute to enduring support for Black post-secondary students from across Canada to meet their educational goals.
The BSC Fund is entirely volunteer run and currently composed of four dedicated individuals. They are looking for more support in grant writing, marketing, fundraising, identifying potential community partners, social media content and creation and general brainstorming on the Fund's work and future. They ask that volunteers commit at least four hours a month, with meetings and communications happening virtually. For volunteer inquiries or more information, please reach out to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BSC Fund is also actively seeking community partners across Canada, specifically organizations or groups led by and for Black folks. Partner organizations must be registered Canadian charities that have a similar goal in reducing barriers to public post-secondary education. To discuss partnership opportunities, please contact: email@example.com.