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Sobey family expands access to education with $6.5M philanthropic investment at NSCC – the largest in NSCC's history

September 21, 2017 – Media Release

Halifax, NS – The Donald R. Sobey Foundation, The Sobey Foundation, and Frank, Heather, Karl and Ann Sobey will collectively contribute $6.5 million to empower generations of Nova Scotia Community College students through socio-economic transformation. Building upon an existing partnership between the Sobeys and NSCC, these new strategic investments will establish a broad legacy around access to education for all Nova Scotians.

A $4 million gift from the Donald R. Sobey Foundation will directly recruit and assist individuals who are facing barriers to attaining a post-secondary education. Working in partnership with community agencies and law enforcement organizations from across Nova Scotia, the Donald R. Sobey Foundation Fund at NSCC will enable individuals who have never considered a college education an attainable goal. The first Donald R. Sobey Foundation bursaries will be funded through a personal gift provided by Rob Sobey. Once the endowment fund is fully implemented, more than 80 bursaries valued at $2,000 each will be provided annually to individuals referred to NSCC by community agencies working in this space.

"By providing individuals who face barriers an opportunity to access a college education, we hope to enhance their path to employment and independence," says Donald Sobey. 

"We are making this investment because we believe education has the power to transform lives. We have chosen to work with community and law enforcement organizations across the province to break down the barriers to entry that have left people behind for generations. Identifying and recruiting talented young people at the grassroots level ensures we will make the biggest impact possible."

A $2 million gift from the Sobey Foundation will evolve food services education at NSCC. It will support NSCC's refurbishment of Sobeys Culinary Centres at six campuses across Nova Scotia. The gift will also provide a dedicated fund to finance bursaries for students who choose to study Culinary Arts at NSCC.

"Over the past 12 years, more than 2,300 students have honed their hospitality skills in Sobeys Culinary Centres at NSCC," says Sobey Foundation Chair Frank Sobey. "These talented graduates contribute to our province's economy through their work in commercial kitchens and dining rooms across the province. If we're to grow our tourism and hospitality sector here, we need culinary professionals."

A $500,000 gift from Frank, Heather, Karl and Ann Sobey will establish a legacy of access to education in memory of their parents, Doe and Bill Sobey. Students in financial need who are studying at NSCC's Marconi and Pictou Campuses can apply for the Doe and Bill Sobey Inspiration Awards to help cover tuition and related college expenses.

The children of Doe and Bill Sobey have chosen to target access to opportunity at these two NSCC campuses to ensure that regions of the province important to their parents are able to attract and retain skilled and knowledgeable workers.

"The generosity of the Sobey Family will make an extraordinary impact on those who wish to embrace and benefit from post-secondary education," says NSCC President Don Bureaux. "Their support will serve as a catalyst, making a new beginning possible for deserving students in need. As NSCC starts a new school year, the timing of this commitment is inspiring."

About NSCC

NSCC is committed to building Nova Scotia's economy and quality of life through education and innovation. Serving the province through a network of 13 campuses, the College offers 120+ programs in five academic schools — Access, Business, IT & Creative Industries, Health & Human Services, and Trades & Technology — reflecting labour market needs and opportunities in Nova Scotia. NSCC's primary goal: student success. In an annual survey of its graduates, the College has found 87% are employed, most in their field of choice, with 92% of those employed living and working in Nova Scotia.

For More Information, and photos, please contact:

Skana Gee, Communications Advisor
NSCC Foundation & Alumni Relations
902-491-3214 (o)
902-223-5234 (c)

Kathleen Cameron
NSCC Manager, External Relations


Prospective Community Partners

NSCC will work with community organizations and law-enforcement agencies across Nova Scotia to identify and support individuals facing barriers, for consideration for the Donald R. Sobey Foundation Bursaries. Discussions are under way with the following organizations (but not limited to):

  • Federation of Community Organizations (FOCO)
  • Halifax Regional Police
  • YWCA
  • YMCA
  • Pathways to Education
  • PeopleWorx, Annapolis Valley
  • United Way of Halifax
  • Phoenix Youth Programs
  • Hope Blooms
  • Boys & Girls Clubs (Halifax, Truro & Colchester, Sydney)
  • 211 Nova Scotia

Supporting Quotes

"This fund is very much aligned with United Way Halifax’s vision of a compassionate community that is rich in opportunity and free of poverty. By working with grassroots organizations – including those who are part of the United Way movement – NSCC and the Donald R. Sobey Foundation can create opportunities for the most vulnerable in our community to build a better future for themselves and their families."
Sara Napier
President & CEO, United Way Halifax
"This gift is a game changer, not just for the individuals it will help, but for the communities who serve them! This is a call for action, an invitation to community leaders to come together and find new ways to help people overcome barriers to employment. This is an investment in the resiliency and the potential of young people throughout Nova Scotia; people who may not have the resources and encouragement in their lives to pursue their goals. This gift is someone standing up and saying ‘I believe in you’ – and that kind of message can transform lives."
Julianne Misner
Personal Development Counsellor, PeopleWorx, Annapolis Valley; member, NSCC Foundation Board of Directors
"Every day, 211 receives calls from people facing barriers that prevent them from enjoying those things that most of us take for granted. Frequently, gaps in basic needs like food or adequate housing can be traced back to a financial barrier that prevented them from getting a better education. We are excited about helping Nova Scotians access these new bursaries, which will benefit people in every region of the province and vastly improve access to education."
Mike Myette
Executive Director, 211 Nova Scotia
"Everybody has the right to education. Everyone should have access to financial aid. This enables students who otherwise would not be able to study, to do so. Students have dreams and financial aid will allow them to work towards those dreams and improve their quality of life. We all have been a student at some point in time, and some require just a little help to accomplish their educational goals."
Akash Pandey
Ivany Campus Student Association President (Graphic & Print Production, Class of 2018)
"This presents a wonderful opportunity for our Boys & Girls Club to help young people achieve their dreams. We watch them grow up, and we know that, in many cases, they aspire to higher education. Finances are often the main barrier. We hope to work with NSCC to allow more students to overcome that obstacle, with support from the Donald R. Sobey Foundation."
Joanne Thibeau
Director of Operations, Boys & Girls Club, Truro and Colchester
"Thank you for your generosity. This award will relieve financial stress and will allow me to focus on my studies. I hope to one day give back as you have given to me."
Danika Campbell-Linklater
previous NSCC Foundation bursary recipient (Continuing Care, Shelburne Campus, Class of 2018)

Fact Sheet

The Donald R. Sobey Foundation gift:

  • The Donald R. Sobey Foundation has challenged NSCC to find new ways to assist youth facing barriers who, without financial aid, would not consider attending college
  • Prospective bursary recipients will be referred from organizations with mandates to support youth. These agencies will recommend applicants who have potential to successfully complete an academic program at NSCC
  • The $4 million gift will be permanently endowed. Income from the fund will finance Donald R. Sobey Foundation bursaries on an ongoing basis
  • College staff will work with and support prospective bursary recipients as they navigate the NSCC application and student assistance processes

The Sobey Foundation gift:

  • The Sobey Foundation’s $2 million investment will create a $1 million endowed fund to finance bursaries for NSCC culinary students and provide $1 million fund for the refurbishment of six Sobeys Culinary Centres at NSCC
  • Sobeys Culinary Centres are located at six NSCC campuses across Nova Scotia: Akerley in Dartmouth, Kingstec in Kentville, Marconi in Sydney, Pictou in Stellarton, Strait Area in Port Hawkesbury, and Lunenburg in Bridgewater

The Frank, Heather, Karl and Ann Sobey gift:

  • $500,000 endowed to finance the Doe and Bill Sobey Inspiration Awards for students in need at Marconi and Pictou Campuses
  • These awards have been established to create an education legacy in memory of their parents, Doe and Bill Sobey

The NSCC Foundation:

  • The NSCC Foundation is the philanthropic arm of NSCC. It raises and manages funds that finance bursaries and scholarships for 1,000+ students annually. In 2016-17, the Foundation disbursed more than $1 million in student financial aid: www.nscc.ca/foundation/

Student Aid at NSCC:

  • NSCC, with financial support provided by NSCC Foundation donors and partners, offers more than 1,000 student bursaries and scholarships annually to students who are entering, returning to, or graduating from NSCC
  • With some exceptions, annual tuition for full time studies at NSCC is approximately $3,300. Student fees, books, materials, tools, and personal safety equipment constitute additional expenses for students
  • Bursaries and scholarships available to students range from $500 to full tuition or more
  • More information about financial aid for NSCC students can be found at nscc.ca/awards
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