Kayla SmithLaw student Kayla Smith told a Senate committee that young Canadians offer more than money to charities.

Law student addresses millennial support for charities before Senate committee

Second-year Windsor Law student Kayla Smith may officially be off for summer, but that doesn’t mean she has stopped working.

She kicked off summer break with an appearance before the Special Senate Committee for the Charitable Sector in May, where she served as a witness to contribute to its examination of federal and provincial policies governing charities, non-profit organizations, foundations, and the overall impact of the voluntary sector in Canada.

Smith, who volunteered as writer and fundraising research assistant for Imagine Canada in 2017, conducted research on giving by millennials — people coming of age in the early 21st century — and shared her findings in an online blog. That work earned her an invitation to appear before the Special Senate Committee.

Smith’s testimony summarizes her personal experiences in the charitable sector and her research on the subject area.

“It's important to me that young people today value the importance of giving back,” said Smith. “The charitable sector is an invaluable engine, which I believe forms the backbone of any given community. Without the generous donations and support of volunteers, our societies would lack some essential services that are often taken for granted.”

The hour meeting consisted of an opening statement and several rounds of Q&A.

Smith has always had a heart for community service and charitable giving and has organized events to assist Habitat for Humanity in Brampton, youth homelessness in Ottawa, and fundraising drives for food banks, and school supplies for students in Jamaica. 

She emphasizes that millennials do indeed give to charity and can contribute more than money.

“Our time, energy, expertise, innovation, and creative minds are resources that can be leveraged in the voluntary sector in unprecedented ways,” says Smith.

Marcie Demmans

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