Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have donated $200,000 to a leadership initiative for indigenous women.
The couple gifted the impressive sum to St. Francis Xavier University’s Coady Institute in Nova Scotia, Canada, for their new initiative, the Circle of Abundance, which hopes to amplify indigenous women’s voices and leadership.
Ryan – who hails from Vancouver, Canada – and Blake’s donation will go toward the institute’s goal of $1 million to support the institute’s International Centre for Women’s Leadership and the centre’s indigenous programming.
In a statement, the couple said: “We’re so happy to support the incredible work of the Coady Institute’s program with Indigenous Women. We’re blown away by the conversations we’ve had and the work they do and look forward to joining them on this journey.”
The donation comes as Canada’s National Indigenous History Month comes to a close at the end of June.
Coady Indigenous Program lead and graduate Karri-Lynn Paul added in a separate statement: “These indigenous leaders are inspiring renewed energy on how to move forward with our work. Their insights and grounding of our work in the realities of grassroots indigenous women’s lives is an important piece in our journey. They also talked about how we are enough, and how we need to prioritise programs that are created by indigenous women for indigenous women. This funding offers the opportunity to make that happen.”
This is not the first time Ryan, 43, and Blake, 32, have supported causes that benefit people of colour, as they recently donated another $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which is a leading US legal firm fighting for racial justice.
In a joint statement on social media, the couple – who have James, five, Inez, three, and a third daughter born in 2019 – wrote: “We’ve never had to worry about preparing our kids for different rules of law or what might happen if we’re pulled over in the car.
“We don’t know what it’s like to experience that life day in and day out.
“We can’t imagine feeling that kind of fear and anger.
“We’re ashamed that in the past we’ve allowed ourselves to be uninformed about how deeply rooted systemic racism is.
“We are committed to raising our kids so they never grow up feeding this insane pattern and so they’ll do their best to never inflict pain on another being consciously or unconsciously.
“Last week we contributed $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. We stand in awe of this organization and its leader, Sherrilyn Ifill. And this is just a start. We also pledge to stay educated and vote in every local election.
“We want to know the positions of school board nominees, sheriffs, mayors, councilpersons. We want to know their positions on justice. But mainly, we want to use our privilege and platform to be an ally. And to play a part in easing pain for so many who feel as though this grand experiment is failing them. (sic)”