Photo above: From left to right: Karina Pelletier; Emma Cohen; Estelle Annan; Kim Mason, RBC’s Regional President, Greater Toronto Region; Toronto Mayor John Tory; Sajine Sathiesalen, Grace Likungu. Photo courtesy of RBC.
TORONTO, Ontario – Last Thursday night at the Gardiner Museum in downtown Toronto, RBC celebrated Black History Month with an event that looked back on the contributions of black Canadians of the past and present, and awarded scholarships to the next generation of Canadians as they prepare for the next step of their education.
Many dignitaries were in attendance at the event including Senator Don Meredith, Member of Provincial Parliament Joe Dickson and Mayor John Tory. A panel discussion with two prominent Torontonians, Fitzroy Gordon and Isaac Olowolafe Jr., and moderated by former consul general Kay McConney, brought some lively discussion and highlighted some significant keys to their success, most notably family and perseverance.
“Here in Canada, and especially in Greater Toronto, where approximately 400,000 people identify themselves as black, we have many important people and achievements to celebrate,” said Kim Mason, Regional President, Greater Toronto Region, RBC.
“But equally, there are many stories in our nation’s history that we all need to learn from and never forget. As Canadians, we benefit when we gain a truer appreciation and understanding for all of the threads that make up our national fabric. Black History Month is an opportunity for all Canadians to feel proud and inspired.”
Six winners of the 2015 RBC Black History Month Essay Competition were on hand to be celebrated for their success. The competition has grown from a small grassroots scholarship program to a national competition that saw winners from coast to coast. The number of scholarships provided this year grew from three to 20, and ranged from $5,000 to $500.
Scholarship winners on hand to receive recognition at the event were:
> Emma Cohen of Waterloo, Ont. ($5,000 winner)
> Nour Hanafi or Milton, Ont. ($500 winner)
> Estelle Annan of Vaughan, Ont. ($500 winner)
> Karina Pelletier of Toronto, Ont. ($500 winner)
> Sajine Sathiesalen of Markham, Ont. ($500 winner)
> Grace Likungu of Ajax, Ont. ($500 winner)
Each Friday in February, you can read five of the top essays at rbc.com/essay, including the three top scholarship winning essays on February 27.
RBC’s scholarship programs are part of our RBC Kid’s Pledge, our five year, $100 million commitment to kids and youth.
RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities.
In 2014, the bank contributed more than $111 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments
of more than $76 million and $35 million in sponsorships.