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Gift will go towards First Peoples House and Indigenous Student Career Transition Program VICTORIA, June 15 /CNW/ - Indigenous students at the University of Victoria (UVic) are benefiting from a $500,000 donation from TD Bank Financial Group. The gift will help fund the university's First Peoples House and the Indigenous Student Career Transitions Program that assists UVic's Indigenous students with employment. "We are grateful to TD Bank Financial Group and delighted they have chosen to support UVic's indigenous students," says David Turpin, UVic's president and vice-chancellor. "This generous gift will assist us with a strategic initiative of the highest priority to meet the educational needs of Indigenous youth and increase the number of Indigenous peoples graduating with a degree from UVic. Our greatest aspiration in achieving this goal is to build the First Peoples House and create programs to help Indigenous students transition from their home communities and adjust to life as students in one of Canada's leading universities." The First Peoples House will be a gathering place for Indigenous students, a highly visible hub of campus life and a centre for program and service delivery, strengthening the existing support and providing a welcoming learning environment for Indigenous students. Half of the bank's gift will support the implementation of the Indigenous Student Career Transitions Program. UVic's goal is to ensure that all Indigenous students gain the necessary skills to make a successful transition from student life into meaningful and productive employment. The program will focus on the development of employment-readiness skills that Indigenous students need to move into the work force and then carry out a lifetime of effective career management. "These initiatives are about improving access to education," says Raymond Chun, senior vice-president TD Canada Trust. "As literacy and education is one of TD's Community Giving areas of focus and with UVic's Indigenous student population growing exponentially, we're delighted to be working together with UVic to contribute to these educational opportunities and helping to develop tomorrow's leaders from the community." UVic's strong relationships with Indigenous communities are built on the mutual belief that future economic opportunity and social prosperity for Indigenous peoples is based on education and training. The number of Indigenous students attending classes at UVic has increased from 89 students in 1999 to more than 600 Indigenous students today. TD Community Giving: Making a Difference Together Children's health, literacy and education, and the environment are the three main areas of focus for TD's community giving. Flagship programs within these areas include: TD Children's Hospital Fund; TD Friends of the Environment Foundation; TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup; TD Canadian Children's Book Week; TD Canada Trust Scholarships for Community Leadership; and the TD Summer Reading Club. With support from customers and employees, TD is involved with a host of national, regional and local causes benefiting diversity, arts and culture and other community programs. In 2008, TD donated $35 million to more than 2,100 organizations across Canada. For further information: Media Contacts: Chris Thackray, Development Communications at (250) 721-6247 or; Fran Hunt Jinnouchi (Director, Office of Indigenous Affairs) at (250) 721-6326 or; Gregory Harrison, TD Bank Financial Group at (416) 308-8597 or

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