Mackenzie Investments and StudentAwards have selected Abirami Kirubarajan of Mississauga, Ont. as the winner of the sixth annual Canada’s Top Teen Philanthropist contest, the two organizations said Wednesday.

The contest recognizes a group of young philanthropic powerhouses who have spent countless hours volunteering, making a positive impact in Canada and around the world. With more than 58 per cent of Canadian youth offering time, money or both to support charity, this contest highlights the outstanding work being completed by a group of inspiring teen philanthropists.

Kirubarajan was awarded $2,500 for personal investment and an additional $5,000 for her volunteer work with Peel Multicultural Council (PMC). Through her work, she founded the PMC Youth Advisory, which helps immigrated youth integrate into Canadian culture while overcoming the stresses of a new world. To date, the program has benefited more than 600 students.

“It is truly amazing to see the outstanding work that young Canadians are doing from coast to coast. These young volunteers are the leaders of the future,” says Brad Offman, vice president, strategic philanthropy, Mackenzie Investments.

This year, five runners-up were awarded $500 and an additional $500 for the charity of their choice for going above and beyond in supporting their communities and contributing to volunteer initiatives. They are:

  • Leah Davidson, Sherbrooke, Que, Students on Ice Foundation.
  • Oksana Kishchuk, Saskatoon, Sask., Free the Children
  • Shivani Mysuria, Burnaby, B.C.: Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness.
  • Divya Shah, Markham, Ont.: Pencils for Kids (P4K) Markham.
  • Vivian Tsang, Vancouver, Humanitarian Organization for Providing Empowerment (HOPE).

Canada’s Top Teen Philanthropist contest was launched in 2008. Every year, applications are submitted by youth aged 13-19 from across Canada who have donated money, goods, services and/or time to support a charitable cause. The finalists are selected by a panel of judges based on specific criteria, including: the breadth of their volunteering and fundraising efforts; leadership and creativity; hands-on involvement in their philanthropic pursuits; length and level of their involvement; and impact on their community and their charity.

Mackenzie Investments is a member of the IGM Financial Inc. (TSX: IGM) group of companies. Winnipeg-based IGM is a financial services comapny with $131.8 billion in total assets under management as at Dec. 31, 2013.