Beedie Luminaries is offering $44,000 scholarships to refugees and new immigrants in B.C.

RISE applicants need to be between 20 and 35 years old to be eligible for the award.

“People come from various challenging backgrounds so we wanted to identify those students who could excel if they were given the opportunity,” Ryan Beedie, president of Vancouver-based Beedie Luminaries, says of the scholarship foundation’s newest program for refugees and new immigrants. “We wanted to target students that were facing adversity—maybe they’re B or B+ students that might not qualify for other scholarships because they’re not straight A students, but they would be straight A students if they had the same opportunities.”

The RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Student Education Awards) program is looking to award 10 scholarships worth $44,000 each. It’s a higher amount than previous awards because the organization is adjusting all program offerings for inflation and rising costs of living. RISE is targeted towards refugees and new immigrants who immigrated to Canada in their 20s or 30s, who want to go back to school but are facing economic and circumstantial barriers to doing so. Recipients get financial support as well as access to mentors, student coaches, peer support groups and career development resources. 

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Since launching in 2018, Beedie Luminaries, which has a 99 percent retention rate—meaning 99 percent of the students that joined the program are still in school—has supported 487 students through their Grade 12 and SPARK programs that offer scholarships to high school students and single parents in the province.

RISE applicants need to be between 20 and 35 years old to be eligible for the award, and they also need to be referred by one of the foundation’s community partners (such as Immigrant Services Society of BC or Mosaic). Applications are expected to open in the fall and winners will be announced in December. It’s just important to create equal opportunities for people who want to strive and get ahead,” says Beedie.