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  • Pinball Foundation

American Express Foundation Announces $1,000,000 Commitment to Back Underrepresented Youth in Canada


Amex commits $1 million in grants over three years to two nonprofit organizations to help back equal futures for underrepresented communities and help them thrive.


American Express is thrilled to announce it has committed $1 million CAD in grants over three years to the Pinball Clemons Foundation and Pathways to Education to back underrepresented students in communities in Canada.

These initiatives, funded through American Express’ Backing Equal Futures community giving pillar—which provides skills and pathways to prepare them for long-term success and the future of work; and advocates to support education and workforce development in underrepresented communities—will back 600 students as they transition from high school.


“As we continue to strengthen our commitment to diversity, equity & inclusion and expand our community giving efforts, we are so excited to extend our support to underrepresented youth,” said Lisa Kalhans, President and CEO of American Express Canada. “Both organizations provide unique opportunities to back the next generation as they pursue their postsecondary ambitions and we’re eager to work with them to deepen our impact on communities in Canada.”


The grants, made possible by the American Express Foundation, will support Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC), newcomer, and 2SLGBTQ+ students, and those experiencing generational poverty by providing them with the financial, educational, professional, and personal skills needed to thrive in their future.

Pinball Clemons Foundation provides marginalized youth with resources and support to help them successfully enter the workforce and gain employment in careers they desire. To address some of the barriers preventing marginalized youth from succeeding in a postsecondary environment, the American Express Foundation grant will provide access to mentorship opportunities for program participants covering finance, career guidance and academic support, as well as scholarship opportunities to 100 students in Canada pursuing postsecondary education.


“It is certainly a generous thought to ponder the opportunity to change one life while we’re here on earth,” said Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons, founder of Pinball Clemons Foundation. “We’re thankful that the American Express Foundation has committed $500,000 to changing the lives of 100 marginalized youth. Not just for today, but for generations, as it could change the trajectory of their families forever. We could not be more proud to receive this unbelievable three-year grant, and our gratitude is as wide as our smiles.”


Pathways to Education currently serves over 6,000 students living in low-income communities in Canada. The award-winning Pathways Program helps youth graduate from high school and transition to post-secondary education, training, or employment. With an investment of $500K over the next three years, the American Express Foundation grant will support Pathways programming—including Indigenous-focused programming—and will enable 500 Pathways students in their final years of high school to overcome barriers to education and build the foundation for a successful future. This support will also help build inclusive communities through education and prepare young people today to become the future leaders of tomorrow.


“Pathways to Education is grateful to the American Express Foundation for its commitment to supporting BIPOC youth in Canada to graduate from high school and transition to postsecondary education, training, and employment,” said Quinn Bingham, Acting CEO, Pathways to Education Canada. “At a time when the education gap for youth living in low-income communities has only increased, focus on our future workforce to help fuel economic growth is critical.”


Following the positive impact of American Express Canada’s Blueprint: Backing BIPOC Businesses program and the Backing International Small Restaurants grant, this new program to support underrepresented youth reinforces American Express Canada’s commitment to backing our communities.

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