The Power of Youth: A Call for Change

Kick-starting a whole generation of young people whose voices deserve to be heard and whose initiatives deserve to be recognized in Canada

Ottawa, July 18, 2023 – The Michaëlle Jean Foundation is launching its Power of Youth grant program today and is inviting young people from black communities to seize this opportunity to publicize their actions, creative initiatives, and innovative practices, speaking out and taking action against the racism that afflicts them so harshly.

The purpose of the $5,000 Power of Youth grant is to celebrate young people from Canada’s black communities who are carrying out amazing projects in their neighbourhoods and communities and to recognize and endorse their commitment and the strength of their ideas. The selected projects will address the issues set out in the important Halifax Declaration for the Eradication of Racial Discrimination, a manifesto in which Black communities across Canada advocate recognition, justice and development for all, without distinction or exclusion.

“Young people from Black communities across Canada are at the crossroads of unique and daunting challenges stemming from the devastating impact of racial discrimination. Their willingness to speak out, with admirable eloquence, and to act is striking. Their contribution to the Halifax Declaration has been remarkable, in all the issues addressed and all the solutions put forward, and it deserves to be celebrated!

– The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean

According to Statistics Canada, the Black population could double from 1.5 million in 2021 to more than 3 million in 2041 – more reason to invest in the merit and dynamism of this human capital that brings together so much talent and vitality. The Power of Youth is an opportunity to do so. It is an extraordinary platform for greater awareness of the experience, realities, sensitivities, expertise, and accomplishments in these communities; innovative ideas, transformative projects, and possible solutions whose impact and spin-offs for the common good and for society as a whole must be sustained.

Applicants must be 16 to 30 years of age. We encourage them to seize this opportunity to submit their project ideas, ongoing initiatives, and undoubtedly, the Power of Youth grant will help certify their priceless value. The deadline for applications is Monday, August 14, 2023. The selection of projects is based on a competitive process, and all submissions will be evaluated by a pan-Canadian advisory committee led by young people.

“Youth have the energy and vision needed to contribute to social progress but are not always given the space or resources to do so or taken seriously. Young Black Canadians face additional barriers as a result of age discrimination and racism–which is why it’s been so important for us to give young, racialized people the opportunity to lead and engage in anti-racism efforts and community initiatives.”

– Mohammed Hashim, Executive Director, Canadians Race Relations Foundation

We will announce the selected projects in September 2023, highlighting the passion and vision driving the recipients and their determination to pave the way for positive change. For more information, updates, and access to the online application form, please visit our website at

The Power of Youth would not have been possible without our valued and steadfast partners, notably our lead presenter, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, as well as the Definity Assurance Foundation, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Vancouver Foundation. We are immensely grateful to them.

However, we have no intention of stopping on such a good path! The Michaëlle Jean Foundation is renewing its commitment to the Power of Youth by inviting all individuals and organizations who share its ambition of empowering young people to join this wonderful movement and amplify its influence. Make a donation and support our projects at

Let’s work together to build a future where young people can flourish, unlimited opportunities can be developed, and lives can be transformed, one community at a time!


About the Foundation

The Michaëlle Jean Foundation was born out of the actions taken to focus specifically on youth-led civic initiatives across Canada by the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean throughout her mandate as the 27th Governor-General of Canada in collaboration with the unwavering commitment of her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, philosopher-filmmaker, and writer. The Foundation, created in 2011, is a national charitable organization that uses a unique model of intervention, based on social change, dialogue, innovation, education, creative and social entrepreneurship, to empower young Canadians across the country who are experiencing exclusion.

For media inquiries or further information, Kadé Rémy, Communications Advisor, Michaëlle Jean Foundation,

Additional information

Origins of Power of Youth: National Black Canadians Summit and the Halifax Declaration

In its most recent edition, held in historic Halifax, Nova Scotia, the National Black Canadians Summit brought together over 1200 delegates from Black communities across the country, including 435 youth delegates who attended free of charge. A major outcome of this event was the landmark document, the Halifax Declaration—a call for change and progress for Black Canadians. Crafted collaboratively by Black community members, including lawyers, writers, researchers, scholars, journalists, and community leaders, the Halifax Declaration has been validated through extensive consultations and now stands as an official document of the UN Permanent Forum for People of African Descent. With its compelling proposals for targeted public policies, the Declaration fuels the mobilization, awareness, and action necessary to eradicate systemic racial discrimination.

Outcomes of Power of Youth: Empowering Young Black Canadians

Through the Power of Youth program, Black Canadian youth will experience unparalleled opportunities to realize projects for change within their communities. Most notably, participants will have the chance to showcase their completed projects at the next National Black Canadians Summit in Montreal in 2024, amplifying their impact and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.