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It's been a long haul. For 15 months, Canadians have faced challenge after challenge, experiencing moments of despair, hope and frustration. Today the prospect of a vibrant, confident future is palpably close. As we near the finish line, one thing has been certain: We couldn't have done this alone.

Everything has been hit hard by the pandemic – small businesses, personal relationships, mental health and financial security have suffered under the strain of the crisis. But Canadians have come together in creative, generous and heartfelt ways, helping those in need with everything from support, meals, care, surprises, funding and more. While the future it hopeful, it’s more important than ever that everyone maintains the spirit of generosity and compassion that has sustained us so far.

An enormous thank you is owed to those individuals, families, business owners, non-profit organizations and corporations who have all stepped up during difficult times. As a leader in the Canadian community, RBC has not only remained a committed corporate citizen, but has doubled down on intentional, targeted, game-changing support for Canadians, their families and their businesses — where and when it’s been needed the most. Partnering with organizations that have been tireless in their pursuit of positive outcomes, RBC has made it clear that we’re truly in this together.

While the pandemic has had a profound impact on all Canadians, it has disproportionately affected young people, underserved populations, low-wage workers and emerging artists. Through large-scale initiatives, local community movements, employee giving campaigns and targeted support, RBC has been a tremendous force for good, helping Canadians cope through challenging times and emerge to welcome a hopeful future. We’re committed to be there for Canadians – our approach has been to partner with organizations that excel in these spaces, to support them in reaching Canadians.

A spotlight on community investment

Youth Mental Health

Young people across Canada have faced unprecedented stress, anxiety and disruption through the crisis, leading to significant impacts to their mental health. Already committed to empowering Canadian youth through RBC Future Launch, RBC has directed additional funding and resources to organizations that support youth mental wellness, including, Kids Help Phone, New Path, CAMH, YouCAN, Strong Minds, Strong Kids, KW Counselling and The Black Youth Alliance. You can read more about RBC’s support of youth mental health here.

Small Business

Small businesses are the heartbeat of Canadian communities and economies. With lockdowns, capacity limits and extended periods of uncertainty, they have struggled mightily to survive. RBC rallied the support of over 50 organizations to raise Canadian consciousness and support small business owners through its Go Canada United campaign, and provided profile and mentorship through the #SmallBusinessMatters podcast hosted by Tony Chapman.

Food Security

Canadians across the country have experienced hunger and food insecurity over the last year and beyond. Through numerous local initiatives, RBC has donated nearly $1.5 million to help Canadians feed their families.

Black Communities

The pandemic cast an even greater light on inequities and systemic racism that hold so many people back from living the life they deserve. RBC made a $100 million commitment to fund small business loans to Black entrepreneurs, along with access to experts and community engagement through the Black Entrepreneurship Program. RBC has also sponsored the Black Atlantic Experience, a video series highlighting the stories, challenges, and triumphs of some of Atlantic Canada’s emerging Black leaders in an aim to educate and inspire a new generation.

Emerging Artists

With live music on pause during the pandemic, the creative community was in need of support more than ever. First Up with RBCxMusic is a program designed to uplift emerging Canadian artists. In addition to financial support, the program provides a platform for these artists to perform, the media exposure to reach new and diverse fans, access to mentors and industry experts. It’s one way RBC is enabling our homegrown Canadian talent to continue to hone their craft and progress their young careers.

This is just a handful of the community initiatives introduced by RBC since last March that have lifted up Canadians, their families and their businesses through the pandemic. RBC has also provided support to Indigenous communities, victims of human trafficking, women entrepreneurs and LGBTQ+ organizations over the past year.

With a deep sense of responsibility and pervasive culture of giving throughout the organization, RBC is proud to have been part of a movement of caring and generosity that has the strength to carry those in need over the finish line. Let’s all rally together to continue helping those in need and inspiring each other to keep up the momentum..