$1M Gift From Birch Hill Equity Partners Funds New Commerce Entry Award for Aboriginal Students

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Thanks to a generous gift of $1 million from Birch Hill Equity Partners, Smith School of Business has established an award to be given each year to an Aboriginal student entering the Queen’s Commerce program.

The Birch Hill Equity Partners Achievement Award provides $9,000 annually, renewable in each of the program’s four years. It is granted on the basis of demonstrated financial need, academic achievement, leadership skills and involvement in school or community activities.

Helping to open doors for Aboriginal youth is a priority at Birch Hill, especially given its role as a National Partner in the Prince’s Canadian Responsible Business Network. This organization, founded by HRH Prince Charles, is dedicated to being a catalyst for increasing employment opportunities for youth in underserved neighbourhoods across Canada. In collaboration with Aboriginal agency partners, Birch Hill was involved in mounting an Aboriginal Career Market in Toronto that attracted 241 job seekers and 33 employers in October 2015. 

“Unemployment rates among Aboriginal youth between 19 and 24 are at unacceptably high levels, reported at nearly 23% in 2011,” says Birch Hill’s cofounder and partner, John MacIntyre, BCom’78. “One of the barriers to success is a lack of family history in post-secondary education. Our hope is that this entrance award will encourage Aboriginal students to pursue a university education. Armed with a Queen’s Commerce degree, they’ll be well prepared to achieve success in their future careers.”

The inaugural recipient of the award will start classes in September 2016.