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TELUS Friendly Future Foundation offers $1 million to address the most critical issues facing youth today

The "Livable Communities for our Youth" Challenge aims to help improve the lives of youth by connecting innovative entrepreneurs to Canadian charities overwhelmed with demand

EDMONTON, Alberta, Feb. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, TELUS Friendly Future Foundation launched the "Livable Communities for our Youth" Innovation Challenge, a $1 million funding opportunity to help address some of the most pressing social challenges youth in Canada are facing today, including lack of access to mental health support and housing, low academic achievement and barriers to employment. "Liveable Communities for our Youth" encourages out-of-the-box thinking and collaboration between innovators, entrepreneurs and youth focused charities, connecting them to help meet the needs of Canadian charities overwhelmed with demand.

"As we move into a new stage in the global pandemic, it's clear that youth have been disproportionately affected by major social and economic upheaval over the last few years," says Shanan Spencer-Brown, executive director, TELUS Friendly Future Foundation. "This coupled with increasing economic uncertainty and social injustices, it's no wonder that youth-serving organizations have been sounding the alarm as they work to do even more with even less. Our youth deserve better. For many of the most pressing social problems we now face, the solutions require new ways of thinking and collaboration."

The Innovation Challenge uses a unique crowdsourcing platform, HeroX.com, that encourages entrepreneurs and innovators to come forward with new approaches that can help make communities across Canada more livable for youth, in one or more of the following areas:

"Innovators and entrepreneurs have a critical role to play in navigating the way forward in society. Our $1M Innovation Challenge provides the platform to bring together expertise across business, academia, entrepreneurs and charities," says Ashif Mawji, chair, Board of Directors, TELUS Friendly Future Foundation. "Entrepreneurs' creative approach to problem solving, coupled with the incredible scale and scope of TELUS and the Foundation's support will unlock new, powerful, integrated and outcome focused solutions to address these pressing challenges."

Entrepreneurs, innovators and charities are invited to apply to the "Livable Communities for our Youth" Innovation Challenge until March 31. Up to five winners will be chosen to partner with a registered charity in Canada, with the total prize purse of $1 million being awarded to fund the most compelling approaches.

"Since my organization first received funding from TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, we have grown from supporting 50 children a year to more than 5,600, providing critical support for youth and families facing increased mental health challenges, housing instability and economic uncertainty," said Liz O'Neill, executive director, Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton. "Having an opportunity to collaborate with other sectors to develop new, innovative ways of solving these challenges is very exciting. With the growing need and sector-wide strain, I applaud TELUS Friendly Future Foundation for launching this Innovation Challenge. Our organization's remarkable growth and ability to positively impact the lives of thousands of local youth, has only been possible because of the generous and unwavering support of these powerful partnerships."

To learn more visit herox.com/SolutionsForYouth.

About TELUS Friendly Future Foundation

TELUS Friendly Future Foundation is a Canadian registered charity that believes all youth, regardless of circumstance, deserve an equal opportunity to reach their full potential. That is why we're committed to helping connect youth to a world of opportunities. By funding more than 500 charities each year that provide education and health programs, many enabled by technology, TELUS Friendly Future Foundation is helping more than 2 million youth in communities across Canada build skills, gain confidence and feel a sense of belonging. In 2022 alone, we provided more than $10.6 million in grants to charities across the country.

For more information on TELUS Friendly Future Foundation visit friendlyfuture.com.

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