Our mission

Our mission is to be a catalyst for social change by creating programs that give youth a platform to amplify their voices and take action.

Our vision

Our vision is a Canada where young people are socially engaged, included in their communities and have their voices heard. We recognize the power of the arts to raise awareness, create change and help find and implement solutions to social problems. We support programs and initiatives that give courageous young men and women a platform to amplify their voices and to take action.

We believe the arts, culture, creative ideas, innovative practices, skill building, and education can transform the lives of underserved youth, get them out of a spiral of exclusion and ignite some truly transformational leadership.

Our values

Our unique approach is focused on building bonds of trust and collaboration between young people and their communities. We are guided by our four main values:

  • Active citizenship
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Dialogue, collaboration and inclusion
  • Social and collective responsibility

We are an arts and social impact organization focused on creating a future where all of Canada’s youth prosper through the power of advocacy, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

In spotlighting solutions to marginalization and discrimination, we work to create a Canada where youth facing exclusion can experience:

  • An increased sense of belonging.
  • The power to advocate for their rights and freedoms using vibrant art, social impact, youth entrepreneurship, and sustainability and innovation programs.

The Foundation is a place where youth-led action on social justice and advocacy will mobilize Canada’s future leaders and governments alike.


Acknowledging the devastating and intergenerational impact of colonization

The Michaëlle Jean Foundation recognizes that its premises are located on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people.


10 years of high-impact initiatives!

We fund training and mentorships for socially engaged underserved youth on the transformative power of the arts as tools for social change. We encourage dialogue between youth and their communities through arts-based initiatives that foster creative and constructive connections. We act in partnership with young people facing exclusion to show them that they are not alone, but a crucial part of the solution in collaboration with organizations and other partners. We act to promote a dynamic, inclusive and accessible environment for all people.

Young Arts Entrepreneur Program
This fund was designed to funds to young Canadians who are creating businesses that use the arts as tools to create social change. This program was available from 2014 – 2017 with the support from BMO and CIBC and a partnership with Futurpreneur.
Community Art Projects
This bursary was established to provide funding, encouragement and training to young Canadian changemakers who are using the arts to address social issues
and energize disadvantaged communities. The bursary was offered from 2014 - 2017 with the support of the TD Bank Group.
National Black Canadians Summit
The Summit has been powered by the Michaëlle Jean Foundation since 2017 and is aligned with the three pillars of the International Decade (2015-2024) for People of African Descent: Recognition,Justice, Development. It is a major mobilization event, bringing together Black Canadians from all ages, sectors and walks of life to share their experiences, raise awareness and spark an inclusive national dialogue. The last Summit was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2022.

The next will be held in Montreal, Quebec, in 2024.
Power of the Arts
The Power of the Arts is a national forum that brings together Canadian youth from all walks of life who believe in the power of the arts to be a catalyst for social change. The participants are provided a platform to teach, learn, share and collaborate on how the arts can spark action. The power of the Arts Forum was last held in 2018,
in partnership with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
4th Wall: Making the invisible visible
This flagship program gives young creators a national platform by connecting them with major cultural institutions to showcase their work. Just as the imaginary fourth wall separates theatre actors from the audience, there is an imaginary wall that excludes many young people from fully participating in society. We believe their voices need to be heard. This program was last held in June 2023 at the CEE Centre in Scarborough in collaboration with R.I.S.E. Edutainment.
Stories of Resilience: Landscape of Hope
In partnership with Concordia University (Montreal), Landscape of Hope is a project that empowers marginalized youth in Quebec and the rest of Canada to share
their experiences dealing with racism, discrimination and bullying.

This initiative, in partnership with Concordia University, was piloted in the Montreal in 2021, and is currently being expanded to Chicoutimi (Quebec) and
Edmonton (Alberta).
The Arts are for Everyone
In collaboration with Ottawa Community Housing Foundation, youth creativity was encouraged through a mural project, which allowed young people to design and paint a shipping
container alongside two professional artists.
Spirit of the Capital Awards
In partnership with Youth Ottawa we support the RBC Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards. Through this partnership we sponsor the Arts and Culture category, which recognizes a local young artist building community through one or more of the following areas: vocal, visual arts, music, dance, and theatre/drama. Two remarkable individuals receive the Spirit of the Capital Arts and Culture Awards each year.
The Foundation collaborated with 20T20T by sponsoring “Inspire the Next” Live Talk Show, a project which dealt with many issues affecting today’s youth. This platform also allowed youth to connect with each other especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2021.

A reflection on our impact

Want to dive deeper into our impact year by year? Our Annual Reports provide the context in which we operated and narrative descriptions and compelling images illustrating our work.


How it began and what matters to us 

The Michaëlle Jean Foundation was born from the actions undertaken during the five-year term of the 27th Governor General of Canada, the Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean, who, with her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond, always believed in the importance of investing in youth, art, creativity and innovation for more citizen participation and social change.


Diverse, driven, and dedicated to our vision in Canada

We are diverse, driven and dedicated to our vision of a Canada in which all young people creatively contribute to a better society. Made up of business leaders, seasoned art professionals, community activists, philosophers, legal experts, former teachers, and passionate young people, we work as a team to touch lives and build stronger communities.