Shane Scott Pride Fund

Every student should have access to post-secondary education. Period. Unfortunately, the cost to pursue higher education is often a deterrent, and for many, it is a huge barrier. For LGBTQ2S+ students, this barrier is also just one of many. Ultimately, Queer youth often need to need to take on debt to pay for school and are more likely to carry that debt longer. 

This was my experience, and the student debt I needed to take on is still a burden years after graduating. It is this exact situation I hope to prevent or make a little more manageable for students like me, through the Shane Scott Pride Fund. 

By donating today, you will be able to support LGBTQ2S+ students in accessing post-secondary education for years to come. Every dollar donated is endowed, meaning it will be invested and will continue to support the Shane Scott Pride Awards – and subsequently students – forever. Like forever-ever. Together, we have the opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives, so let’s do it. Donate now.

 

The Award/s

The Shane Scott Pride Awards are bursaries that are distributed annually to support LGBTQ2S+ students in Edmonton and northern Alberta in affording their post-secondary studies. To be eligible to receive an award, students must:

  1. Be someone who self-identifies as an LBGTQ2S+ person,
  2. Be planning on or currently attending a post-secondary institution in Canada,
  3. Be an active member within their community,
  4. Demonstrate financial need.

While not a requirement, preference will be given to students who are following in Shane’s footsteps, including those who:

  • Are involved in student government or an advocacy position of some kind,
  • Or those who have overcome some type of adversity in their lives.

The amount and number of awards given annually will depend on the overall value of the fund. Each year the endowed funds pay out a percentage of the total amount invested. Our initial goal is to raise $10,000, which will result in a $400 annual award. If we exceed this goal, the award can be of higher value or we can award multiple recipients. To learn more about how the Edmonton Community Fund funds work, click here.

Shane’s Story

On February 7th, 1995, I was born into the world on a cool sunny day in Florida. Born at 7lbs and 7ozs and on the 7th, I often joke about being the embodiment of “lucky 7s”. I am the third child and youngest after my brother and sister. 

As a family led by a single mom for many years, we moved around before settling in Calgary, Alberta. Our reality meant there was not that much to stash away but we always had what we needed. Landing in Calgary, we quickly made it our home and before I knew it, our once new neighbour would become my dad and my life would be all the better because of him.

Growing up as an in-the-closet gay kid had its obvious issues, many of which were only complicated by family dynamics and experiences at school. Like many kids, I experienced bullying and homophobia – most of which occurred before I even understood who or what I was. As I grew up, I turned to school and clubs to find a safe space. This coping mechanism taught me a lot about leadership and evolved into a passion for community service, advocacy and inclusion. I was involved in a lot of things in junior high and high school, ranging from drama club to students council, and everything in between. Whenever I noticed a gap in supports for students, I stepped up to fill it. This included banding together with my friends to establish a principal’s advisory council and later Forest Lawn High Schools first Gay-Straight Alliance. I carried this passion for advocacy through university, representing students as Vice President Academic of my Students’ Union. When I look back, I realize now how crucial scholarships and bursaries were for me – without them, I wouldn’t have been able to afford the cost of post-secondary, and I would have missed out on the opportunities that have gotten me to where I am today. 

One of the most profound experiences in my life and likely the motivation for much of my advocacy was coming out in high school. In fact, I came out with a bang, presenting on the issue of homophobia during a school-wide anti-bullying assembly, voluntarily outing myself in the process. While this did lead to more bullying for me personally, it actually started a much broader conversation about diversity and inclusion in school. I am still inspired by the solidarity and action many people took to make school a safer space for everyone. To this day I am grateful every day to the friends who supported me through my coming out journey and consequentially some of the darkest days of my life, and the teachers and other adults who gave me space to translate my confusion, frustration and often sadness into action. 

While this is only one story, it is also the experience for many LGBTQ2S+ people like me.  I have always vowed to make the world a better place for those who come after me, and thus, the idea for the Shane Scott Pride Fund was born. 

Barriers for LGBTQ2S+ Youth

For many queer youths, the cost of education is just one of many barriers to pursuing post-secondary education. LGBTQ2S+ youth still experience immense discrimination, particularly when it comes to their personal safety in schools and at home, and potential rejection from their families or communities. LGBTQ2S+ youth are also more likely to experience homelessness, suffer substance abuse issues, commit self-harm or take their lives. Experiences like these are only compounded and worsened when we look more closely at the journey for trans, non-binary, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) youth.   

Some facts:

  •  In 2019, more than 11% of all post-secondary students identified as something other than straight. Some estimates of younger populations place that proportion even higher. (Statistics Canada, 2019).
  • One-third of LGBTQ+ students experienced discrimination based on gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation in the post-secondary setting – nearly twice the rate of discrimination reported by straight, cisgender students. (Statistics Canada, 2019).
  • Transgender students reported feeling more unsafe than cisgender students on campus, be it in general, while walking alone or while taking transit. (Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, 2019)
  • Queer students reported that their academic performance was negatively impacted (e.g., lower grades, incomplete or dropped courses) by physical or sexual assault, and discrimination at a significantly higher rate than their peers (Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, 2019).
  • Queer students are likely to have a higher student debt when leaving school (66% with 10,000+ in student debt, compared to 50%), and are more likely to graduate with higher debt overall, with 9% of Queer students graduating with over $70,000+ in student debt, compared to 1% of their peers (Forum Research, 2018).
  • Those who are LGB+ are more likely to have taken on a second job to pay off their debt (28% compared to 23%) [Forum Research, 2018].
  • Queer students who had experienced discrimination based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation were two or three times more likely to become anxious, depressed, or fearful as a result, or to have experienced suicidal thoughts (Statistics Canada, 2019).

 

 

Photos provided by: Lissa E. Photography

Donate to This Fund

Fill out the form below to contribute a one-time donation, or set up a recurring monthly donation to the Shane Scott Pride Fund.

Donate to This Fund

Fill out the form below to contribute a one-time donation, or set up a recurring monthly donation to the Shane Scott Pride Fund.

Please note: Donations made to any fund listed on our online directory will be processed by www.canadahelps.org. You will receive an electronic tax receipt directly from CanadaHelps for the full amount of your donation. The fund you are supporting will receive the net amount of your donation less the CanadaHelps processing fee.

Donate to the Shane Scott Pride Fund