More single parents facing financial adversity will get a chance to pursue higher education, thanks to Burnaby-born developer and philanthropist Ryan Beedie.
Last year, Beedie’s scholarship foundation, Beedie Luminaries, announced it was launching a new program to help single parents facing financial obstacles go back to school.
In its first year, the SPARK Program handed out 15 scholarships worth up to $40,000 each.
This year the foundation is doubling that.
“Last year, we received an incredible amount of compelling applications from single parents facing barriers to higher education, which inspired us to double the number of scholarships that we will be awarding this year,” Ryan Beedie said in a news release on March 21, National Single Parent Day. “We are also expanding the SPARK Program across B.C. via our growing network of community partners, which will allow more parents across the province to upgrade their skills and open more doors for themselves and their families.”
Avital Kline, a Vancouver mom studying midwifery at UBC, said going back to school as a single parent can feel “insurmountable” but Beedie Luminaries has helped.
“Before receiving this scholarship, I felt like my efforts to advance my education were invisible, but the recognition and support that I have received through the SPARK Program as well as the opportunity to meet other people who are in a similar situation to me has been encouraging and moving,” she said in the release.
In addition to demonstrating financial need, single parents looking to apply to the SPARK Program need to be a parent of a Beedie Luminaries Grade 12 scholarship recipient or be referred by one of foundation’s community partners:
- BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres
- BC Council for Families
- Family Services of the North Shore
- New Relationship Trust
- South Okanagan Immigrant & Community Services
- The Cridge Centre for the Family
- Up With Women
- Urban Native Youth Association
- Vancouver Coastal Health
- Westcoast Family Centres
- The Immigrant Services Society of BC
- Mothers Matter
- YMCA of Greater Vancouver
- YWCA Metro Vancouver,
- Family Services of Greater Vancouver
- The Minerva Foundation.
In 2022, the SPARK Program will award 30 scholarships worth up to $40,000 each.
In addition to financial support, recipients will get access to mentors, Stay on Track student coaches, peer support groups and career development resources as well as access to the Beedie Luminaries online community and special events.
The program is accepting applications starting today until April 21 at 9 a.m. PT.
Successful applicants will be announced in June.
To learn more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit BeedieLuminaries.ca.
Beedie launched Beedie Luminaries with a $50-million donation on Nov. 13, 2018 to coincide with his 50th birthday.
To date, the foundation has provided scholarships and support to 330 students, including the inaugural cohort of SPARK scholarship winners last year.