Jillian Harris sets up award fund to support underrepresented students

By Public Affairs | August 20, 2021

Jillian Harris holding a Jilly Box

A much-coveted subscription box from Canadian influencer and Kelowna local Jillian Harris will open up more than just surprises for recipients, but opportunities to support a generation of historically excluded students at Okanagan College with every subscription sold. 

Jillian Harris, through her fall Jilly Box, is raising $50,000 to create awards for Indigenous students, Black students and students of Colour at Okanagan College. 

The Jilly Box is seeding the fund with $15,000 and subsequently, will match donations up to $10,000. When the goal of $50,000 is reached, the fund will offer two annual awards of $2,500 as well as opportunities for mentorship, to OC students for the next 10 years.  

"We donate a portion of our proceeds from The Jilly Box sales each quarter and this year we wanted to support the social issue of racial equity," explains Cynthia Pottinger, Community Coordinator on behalf of Team Jilly Box. 

"We believe that access to post-secondary education plays a major role in creating a more equitable and fair society so we are thrilled to work with the College to support students and relieve some of their financial burdens as they pursue their educational endeavours." 

So far, more than $19,000 has been raised, including the seed funding, with fundraising continuing into the fall. 527 customers of The Jilly Box have donated as part of their purchase and the expectation is to grow this number significantly by the end of the campaign. 

The Jilly Box is running a contest this weekend (Aug. 20 - 22) giving away one (1) sought-after Winter 2021 Jilly Box. Each $5 donation made by a member of The Jilly Box Insiders Club between Aug. 20 and Aug. 22, 2021 through The Jilly Box website will gain one chance to win. Participants can increase their chances by donating as many times as they want. Sign up for free to become an insider at jillybox.com

"We will keep fundraising for this award fund in hopes that it will grow to become a self-sustaining fund that can grant additional and larger awards for years to come,” says Harris.  

“It is my hope that many individuals and companies will be inspired to donate. Thank you for supporting The Jilly Box Award and I look forward to making a difference with you!" 

Sophie Wilson, OC student, with her daughter

Sophie Wilson is a Sylix Okanagan College business student and a member of the Penticton Indian Band. Wilson says student awards have been an incredible support in her journey as a student. 

“Caring for my daughter as a single parent, bursaries and awards really help us on a day-to-day basis,” says Wilson. “For me to be able to provide for her, pay bills and rent. I am really thankful for the support.” 

Wilson adds that awards specifically for Black, Indigenous and Students of Colour will help by increasing access to awards, creating more opportunities for international students as well. 

Helen Jackman, Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director, says the new award fund is an important part of the College’s ongoing commitment to enhancing justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. 

“These awards will support our efforts to advance an equitable and inclusive environment for all of our students,” says Jackman. 

“Our thanks to Jillian and her team for supporting student success.” 

To learn more about The Jilly Box Award or to donate, visit https://trellis.org/jilly-box-award.

Tags: OC Foundation, Financial Aid & Awards, Inside OC



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