Top Hat Announces Sponsorship for Third-Annual Shannen’s Dream Scholarship

The scholarships provide financial assistance to help First Nations youth realize their dreams of pursuing a college or university degree.

TORONTO – January 29, 2024 – Top Hat, a leader in student engagement solutions for higher education, is partnering with the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society for the third consecutive year to provide funding for the Shannen’s Dream Scholarship. The scholarship was launched in 2022 to assist First Nations youth with the costs of post-secondary education and is named in honor of Shannen Koostachin, a courageous young leader from Attawapiskat First Nation who sparked a national movement to establish safe and comfortable schools for First Nations students. Top Hat, along with the Collure family of Richmond Hill, ON, will be providing funding for four scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each to assist First Nations students with the cost of pursuing a college or university degree.

“We know that higher education transforms lives, yet too many students continue to face barriers that keep them from achieving their dreams,” said Maggie Leen, Chief Marketing Officer at Top Hat. “We are honored to play a role in helping more deserving students realize the incredible benefits of a strong education—for themselves, their families, and their communities.”

The need to improve access to higher education for First Nations youth in Canada couldn’t be more urgent. Due to a host of systemic and financial barriers, only 13 percent of First Nations, Metis and Inuit aged 25 to 64 have a post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree, compared to 64 percent for non-Indigenous people.1 The Shannen’s Dream Scholarship is taking steps to change this reality. Open to First Nations youth 30 years of age or under, the scholarship is awarded to applicants who demonstrate academic and extracurricular achievement and a track record of giving back to their communities. A unique condition of the award is for recipients to “pay-it-forward” by making a measurable contribution to Shannen’s Dream or a related First Nations initiative within one year of receiving their scholarship.

“The Shannen’s Dream Scholarship not only helps ensure that First Nations youth have equitable opportunities to succeed, it also works to cultivate the leadership and experience to enable them to become agents of change and transformation within their own communities,” said Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the Caring Society. “We are grateful to the people at Top Hat and the Collure family for the support they continue to provide in making higher education accessible to more First Nations students.” 

Applications for The Shannen’s Dream Scholarship are now open and can be submitted up until March 31, 2024. To learn more, please visit

About Top Hat

As the leader in student engagement solutions for higher education, Top Hat enables educators to employ evidence-based teaching practices through interactive content, tools, and activities in in-person, online and hybrid classroom environments. Thousands of faculty at 750 leading North American colleges and universities use Top Hat to create meaningful, engaging and accessible learning experiences for students before, during, and after class. To learn more, please visit


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Eric Gardiner


  1. Statistics Canada. (2022). Highest level of education by Indigenous identity, Indigenous geography and labour force status: Canada, provinces and territories. Table 98-10-0423-01. Retrieved June 14, 2023, from


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