Manitoba

After 15 years of 'connecting hearts,' Ladybug Foundation founder Hannah Taylor winds charity down

Hannah Taylor was only eight years old when she started the Ladybug Foundation to help the homeless. Now, after 15 years, she says it's time to wind things down.
Hannah Taylor founded the Ladybug Foundation in 2004 with help from her family and a supportive teacher. (Submitted by the Ladybug Foundation)

Hannah Taylor was only eight years old when she started the Ladybug Foundation in Winnipeg to help people experiencing homelessness.

Now, after 15 years of work — and millions of dollars raised — she says it's time to wind things down.

"I don't really remember my life without the foundation, so it's a big change for sure," Taylor told Information Radio's Nadia Kidwai Tuesday morning. 

"I've had a chance to learn so much about what it means to dedicate yourself to working for others, and I'm ready to take that knowledge and understanding and apply it to new ways to doing work."

In the fall, the 23-year-old is heading to law school at the University of Manitoba's Robson Hall, where she hopes to specialize in human rights law. 

"I would love to use my law career to work for the rights of Canadians experiencing homelessness," she said.

'Age doesn't define what you can do'

Saturday was the foundation's last day as a registered charity. It celebrated the occasion by giving its final gift to Siloam Mission — the first organization Ladybug ever donated to. 

"It was really special that it came full circle," she said, adding that she believes the organization's completed its mandate "by connecting hearts and doing work for Canadians experiencing homelessness."

Taylor met with Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2004 and has since spoken at hundreds of events to raise money for her cause. (Adrian Wyld/The Associated Press)

Since founding the Ladybug Foundation in 2004 with help from her family and a supportive teacher, Taylor has travelled the country speaking to school groups and crowds as large as 16,000, and met with two prime ministers — Paul Martin and Stephen Harper — all the while raising money for Canadians experiencing homelessness.

Now, as an adult moving on to something different, she still wants kids to know that their ideas matter. 

"We get a lot of messaging that you have to grow up to make a difference," she said.

"Your voice is powerful right now. You don't have to wait until you're older. Age doesn't define what you can do."

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With files from Information Radio and Andre Nault

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