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Young Canadians get creative to Make 150 Count

TORONTO, June 28, 2017 - RBC today shared the results of RBC Make 150 Count, a Canada 150 initiative designed to empower young Canadians to make a difference in their communities, in their own unique way.

'To help celebrate Canada 150 we gave $150 to thousands of young Canadians, with no strings attached, and challenged them to make a difference,' said Mary DePaoli, executive vice-president and Chief Marketing Officer, RBC. 'What they did gives us great insight into what drives this thoughtful, incredibly creative generation. It’s clear that young Canadians have a deep understanding about what is important in their communities and are passionate about making a difference.'

Three thousand young people from every province and territory were selected to participate in the program. Participants, between the ages of 14 and 25, were chosen either by their local RBC branch or by submitting ideas using #Make150Count on social media.

Their stories show Canada's youth have a desire to make a deep social impact. Over 90% focus on those less fortunate in the community, supporting causes ranging from homelessness, to women's shelters, food banks and helping community members with special needs. Of this 90%, more than half used their $150 to raise even more money for their local projects (more than $35,000 to date).

Nutrition is a topic that matters to the Make 150 Count participants. More than 25% of the projects involve food banks, breakfast clubs, groceries, vegetable gardens and meals for those in need. Caitlin Mann and Connor Murray are among the hundreds of participants finding creative ways to help address nutrition and food shortages in their communities. Mann, from Belleville, Ontario, bought $150 worth of popsicles as prizes to motivate seven area high schools to compete and gather 6,000 items for local food banks. Murray, from Barrie, Ontario, used his $150 to start a local food waste charity (gathering extra food from local restaurants) called Second Helping. 

Other leading areas of focus include:

  • random acts of kindness with participants sharing more than 500 gift cards and more than 1,000 flowers. Matthew Mosveen, a volunteer Air Cadet in Victoria, BC, delivered 150 of those flowers (red and white carnations) in style. He dropped them from his training glider while passing over a busy Beacon Hill Park.
  • animal welfare (16% of projects, involving than 112 animal shelter donations)
  • books and literacy (11% of projects and 1,200 books donated to schools, hospitals and libraries)
  • relief from the cold Canadian winter (10% of projects and 431 toques, 446 pairs of mittens and 221 blankets donated).

The results also show a surprisingly strong connection between youth and older generations. The number of Make 150 Count projects focused on bringing joy into the daily lives of seniors almost matched the number of projects focused on children. Hundreds of participants also showed their appreciation for pastimes - like knitting and baking - often associated with their grandparents’ generation. In Cochrane, Alberta, Megan White used her $150 to bake for her community's first responders. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, Hannah Estabrook ran a knitting workshop in a local women's shelter.

A large majority of participants (70%) combined their personal passion and talent for a good cause. Montreal native Antoine Marchand, a member of the Concordia University Stingers men's ice hockey team, purchased $150 in goalie equipment to help a local youth fulfill her dream of being a hockey goalie. Hamilton, Ontario native Sherry Du shared her passion for waterfalls and conservation by leading a tour of local falls for members of her community.

'Our goal with this social experiment was to do something special for Canada by giving the young people who will be shaping our future the ability to act on something personal to them that could improve their community,' added DePaoli. 'The thoughtfulness and compassion that went into these projects is inspiring. It gives us great confidence for the future of our nation, and insight into what drives these young leaders.'

In addition to focusing its Canada 150 celebrations on empowering young Canadians, RBC also recently announced a 10-year, $500-million initiative called RBC Future Launch, designed to help young people gain access and opportunity to the skills, job experience and career networks needed for the future world of work.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have approximately 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 35 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.

RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. For more information please see: http://www.rbc.com/community-sustainability/.

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For more information, please contact:
Catherine Hudon, RBC Communications, 416-974-5506, catherine.hudon@rbc.com

Brian Findlay, Stellick Marketing Communications, 416-603-9452 x301, bfindlay@gotoguys.net