This may sound strange, but I measure my success by what I can afford at the grocery store. Getting to the checkout and knowing that I can pay for everything in my cart without worrying that I might have to take things out—that’s what I call success.
The Fondation des jeunes de la DPJ is proud to announce that it has received an extraordinary $100,000 gift from Martin McNicoll, a successful businessman, who has turned his rough start in life into a truly inspirational story.
Success, however, was not always a given for the former youth in care, who grew up financially insecure and deprived of love.
Today, Martin McNicoll is sharing his story with the business community to encourage other entrepreneurs to help vulnerable youths who are reaching the age of majority. In Quebec, one out of three youths in care will end up homeless once they age out of the system.*
Double separation and the DYP
Martin was 12 when he entered youth protection. His parents’ separation, combined with the fact that they were in a precarious situation, resulted in the siblings being split between the parents. Two of the four children ended up in foster care.
In his last three years of high school, Martin went through at least four foster homes without being able to really connect with any of his foster families.
An exponential rise
Joining the Cadets gave him what he was missing: a feeling of belonging and discipline. Martin had a job while in school, worked hard, and later served as an infantry officer with the Canadian Forces. In college, however, he really struggled with math. Fearing that he wouldn’t be able to go to university, he worked even harder, and was eventually accepted in the Bachelor of Automated Manufacturing Engineering program.
Martin held various positions with top IT consulting firms before founding Gurus Solutions, a cloud solutions company he sold in 2022. Seeing no limit to his dreams, Martin is now embarking on an ambitious and unprecedented project: making the best whiskey in the world—in the Eastern Townships!
The donation as a business move
Aware of the help he got growing up, Martin now wants to give back to the community.
I was able to live in supportive housing and received bursaries to support me in my efforts, but all that costs money. It is our responsibility to reach out to those youths. Even more so when we’ve done well for ourselves.
I see this $100,000 donation as a business move. An investment in the future.
After serving on the Board of Directors of the Fondation des jeunes de la DPJ, Martin wanted to make a significant contribution to support the programs of the Fondation, which he regards as a valuable ally of youths in care.
What I like about the Fondation des jeunes de la DPJ, is that it takes concrete action to help youths in Montreal and other regions of Quebec. It knows how to use the funds to make a difference in their lives.
One out of four youths in care in Quebec received help from the Fondation
In 2022, one in four youths transitioning to adult life received support from the Fondation.
It’s wonderful that businesspeople like Martin trust us and are aware of the societal issue that is at the core of our work. But what’s even more touching is that a former youth in care has chosen us to give back to youths whose lives are as hard as his was.”
*Study on the future of youths in care, Chaire-réseau de recherche sur la jeunesse au Québec, Report on youths participating in the youth qualification program