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$500,000 donation enhances Indigenous forestry students’ education

November 22, 2023 | Giving and sponsorships

BMO is actively working with Indigenous customers, colleagues, and communities to live Our Purpose – to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. We seek opportunities to build relationships and partner with Indigenous communities across Turtle Island, and we proudly support innovative programs that encourage young people to succeed academically. 

That’s why we’ve announced a $500,000 donation to launch the BMO Young Indigenous Leaders Program at Université Laval in Québec City. The program, led by Jean-Michel Beaudoin, professor in the Department of Wood and Forest Sciences and Chair of Educational Leadership in Indigenous Forestry, will provide forestry students with greater access to educational resources and partnerships to help them make progress academically and professionally. 


“For over 30 years, BMO has been building strong relationships and providing consistent support to 270 Indigenous communities. The BMO Young Indigenous Leaders Program supports progress for the next generation of Indigenous entrepreneurs, enabling them to develop their full potential through access to educational resources as well as mentoring and business network development opportunities that promote a thriving economy, sustainable future and inclusive society.”  

– Grégoire Baillargeon
President, BMO, Quebec


The BMO Young Indigenous Leaders Program will:  

  • Unlock the potential of Indigenous students, providing Indigenous communities with specialized access to highly skilled forestry experts. 
  • Support the development of a new generation of Indigenous leaders. 
  • Significantly increase opportunities for young Indigenous people to make progress through career opportunities that lead to success in business, and ultimately help them become successful leaders.  
  • Improve incomes and living conditions for Indigenous individuals, families, and communities. 
  • Develop sustainable development forestry practices and the health of the forest ecosystems that are central to Indigenous ways of life.  
  • Develop Indigenous expertise to build the capacity of forestry sector organizations to work on projects where Indigenous presence calls for new approaches. 

Grégoire Baillargeon, President, BMO, Quebec, and Sophie D’Amours, Rector of
Université Laval 

“BMO and Université Laval share a desire to showcase the voices, legitimacy, and skills of young First Nations leaders. This distinctive experiential program will strengthen the development of their forestry skills and entrepreneurial spirit. It will also foster their professional integration and position them as experts in forest regions,”

– Sophie D’Amours
Rector of Université Laval


BMO is committed to progress for Indigenous Peoples across three pillars that reflect the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action for corporate Canada: 

  • Education: We invest in training and educating our workforce to encourage understanding, self-identification and celebration of Indigenous peoples and cultures through our company-wide eLearning, Nisitohtamowin ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑕᒧᐃᐧᐣ Understanding Indigenous Perspectives in Canada, and our Indigenous employee resource group, BMO Sharing Circle. In June, BMO announced $800,000 in contributions to Indigenous educational initiatives at Ka Ni Kanichihk, Teach For Canada–Gakinaamaage, and the Woodland Cultural Centre. 
  • Employment: We are committed to hiring, developing, and retaining Indigenous Peoples at BMO. Over the last two years we have doubled Indigenous hires and grown representation year over year towards achieving our Indigenous representation goal of 1.6% of the workforce across all levels. 
  • Economic Empowerment: We are committed to doubling the size of our Indigenous Banking business by 2025 and continue to grow our procurement spending and partnerships with Indigenous-owned businesses as part of our commitment to supplier diversity. In October, BMO announced the launch of the BMO for Indigenous Entrepreneurs lending program to help eliminate barriers to capital access.  

Learn more about BMO’s commitment to supporting Indigenous communities at bmo.com/indigenous-commitments.

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