A unique partnership has been struck between the Blackfoot Confederacy, University of Lethbridge and the Mastercard Foundation.

The Mastercard Foundation is investing $15 million over the next five years to support new pathways for Indigenous youth through education and onto employment.

Programs will be delivered in Blackfoot communities and students will also be given opportunities to participate in activities at the University of Lethbridge.

“This partnership joins our EleV initiative and builds on existing strong partnerships between the University of Lethbridge and the Blackfoot Nations. Our work together will support new pathways for Indigenous youth through education and onto employment, strengthening their communities and generating lasting change. The partnership underscores our commitment to support Indigenous youth and communities leading innovation reflective of their values and aspirations,” says Jennifer Brennan with the Mastercard Foundation.

The Indigenous Student Success Program at the U of L will also receive funding to enable an additional 30 Blackfoot and Indigenous students to attend the University.

Beginning in Fall 2020, the program will launch new initiatives for children and youth to see post-secondary education as a real possibility for them by delivering programs in Blackfoot communities, as well as creating opportunities for students to participate in activities at the University. In addition, the Indigenous Student Success Program at the University will receive funding to enable an additional 30 Blackfoot and Indigenous students to attend the U of L.

The partnership was announced Wednesday (Dec. 18) at the Piikani Multipurpose Building in Brocket.

(With files from U of L release)