Indspire and Rio Tinto renew partnership

Indspire has renewed its partnership with Rio Tinto, one of Canada’s largest mining and metals companies, to continue supporting Indigenous students and educators in a wide variety of ways.


The funding commitment has three components: one which will facilitate collaboration between Indigenous educators, one which will enable Indigenous post-secondary students to fund their education, and one which will celebrate Indigenous excellence.


“The renewal of Rio Tinto’s partnership with Indspire marks a significant commitment to celebrating Indigenous excellence and removing barriers to Indigenous students’ success,” said Mike DeGagné, president and CEO of Indspire. “Not only will it enable Indspire to extend its reach and support even more First Nations, Inuit, and Métis post-secondary students as they pursue their educational goals, it also demonstrates Rio Tinto’s ongoing commitment to celebrating Indigenous excellence and working in partnership with Indigenous organizations.”


This partnership has existed since 2008, prior to the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation’s rebranding as Indspire in 2012. In that time, Rio Tinto has provided over $2.5 million in funding for a range of Indspire initiatives, including the Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries and Scholarships (BBF) program, the Indspire Awards, the National Gathering for Indigenous Education, and Soaring, Indspire’s Indigenous Youth Empowerment Gathering.


“We are proud to renew our partnership with Indspire, furthering our commitment to finding better ways to support Indigenous communities through education,” said Claudine Gagnon, general manager, communities and social performance, Atlantic Aluminium, Rio Tinto. “This collaboration allows us to celebrate Indigenous excellence and create forums where students and educators can exchange on their challenges and their successes. We look forward to continuing our journey with Indspire and making a positive impact on the Indigenous education landscape.”


In 2018, Rio Tinto also provided $20,000 to underwrite the costs of translating Indspire’s website into French, helping to remove one of the barriers Indspire encountered in reaching Québec-based students and educators. For the past four years, Rio Tinto has provided Canadian diamonds from the Diavik Mine in NWT to be used in the Indspire Award pins that Laureates receive at the annual Awards ceremony.


The first new facet of this partnership is Rio Tinto’s $350,000 three-year pledge with commitments to multiple Indspire initiatives. First, Rio Tinto served as Host Sponsor of the 2023 National Gathering for Indigenous Education held Nov. 15 to 17 in Montréal, Que.


Rio Tinto will also continue to support the Rio Tinto Award for Indigenous Students through Indspire’s BBF program, which enables First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students to overcome financial barriers to pursuing a post-secondary education.


Finally, Rio Tinto is also a Supporting Sponsor of the Indspire Awards in 2023, 2024, and 2025.


Indspire is an Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. Indspire provided more than $27.5 million through 7,500 bursaries and scholarships to First Nations, Inuit and Métis students across Canada in 2022 and 2023.

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