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RBC Foundation gives $1M to support internships for underserved students and Co-op placements at non-profits

Donation to Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen. Now to advance the university’s Beat the Odds program and Institute for Co-operative Education
October 13, 2021
By Ian Harrison, BComm 01

A $1-million gift from the RBC Foundation to Concordia University will strengthen Canada’s first university-led internship program for students from historically underserved backgrounds and will help students who seek non-profit sector experience.

The donation to the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen. Now will support Beat the Odds, run by Concordia’s Experiential Learning Office, and the Non-Profit Sector Internships Program offered by the Institute for Co-operative Education (Co-op).

“RBC’s support helps our university meet its objective to provide every student with at least one experiential learning opportunity,” says Concordia President Graham Carr. “This gift also accelerates a novel program that encourages students on the margins to succeed beyond university as well as those who wish to acquire experience at non-profit and grassroots community organizations.”

Nadine Renaud-Tinker, president, Quebec Headquarters at RBC, says: “We are thrilled to be continuing our unique partnership with Concordia and to contribute to the university’s experiential learning and diversity, equity and inclusion priorities. We look forward to seeing these innovative programs positively impact scores of students for years to come.”

Over four years, RBC Foundation’s gift will support 40 annual internships through Beat the Odds as well as nine annual internships through the Co-op’s Non-Profit Sector Internships program.

Piloted by Concordia’s Experiential Learning Office in the summer of 2020, Beat the Odds bolsters students who stand to benefit most from paid professional experience in their field of study. The program was created to counter systemic barriers that reduce opportunities for students from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds or communities.

  • WATCH: Beat the Odds student interns describe the value of the program.

“The Beat the Odds internships funded by RBC will help level the playing field,” says Nadia Bhuiyan, BEng 95, vice-provost of partnerships and experiential learning at Concordia. “RBC’s support will promote inclusiveness and address challenges often encountered by international, Black and Indigenous students, refugees, peoples of colour, students with significant financial challenges, students who are parents and students with disabilities.”

Sevda Bostanci, a Human Resource Management student at the John Molson School of Business, says that her Beat the Odds internship made a big difference: “I had a wonderful experience at the Concordia University Student Parents Centre, where I was given plenty of hands-on opportunities to apply knowledge acquired in the classroom. I came away inspired, motivated and ready for the next step on my career path.”

Non-profit sector internships supported by RBC Foundation at the Institute for Co-operative Education will strengthen a program that has allowed Concordia students to go beyond the classroom and the working world over the last four decades.

  • WATCH: How support from RBC Foundation will advance Co-op at Concordia.

“Every year, more than 3,500 students across 45 undergraduate and graduate programs benefit from four to 16 months of on-the-job education,” says Claude Martel, BA 85, MA 92, PhD 09, director of Concordia’s Co-op. “We thank RBC for empowering our university to connect more students with work-integrated opportunities at non-profits that might not otherwise have the resources to hire them.”

Paul Chesser, BA 94, GrDip 97, vice-president of University Advancement, thanks RBC Foundation for its  steadfast support. “We are grateful for this gift to the Campaign for Concordia and the assistance it provides our students.”

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