News / Halifax

Sobey family gives $6.5 million to NSCC in record-setting donation

The figure includes $4 million to help reduce barriers for those wanting to attend the post-secondary institution.

Rob Sobey of the Sobeys empire addressing the crowd during Thursday's NSCC funding announcement.

Spencer Osberg / For Metro

Rob Sobey of the Sobeys empire addressing the crowd during Thursday's NSCC funding announcement.

The Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) received its largest ever donation Thursday when the Sobey Family unveiled $6.5 million in various contributions.

“This gift that you’ve announced today is an absolute game-changer,” said Don Bureaux, NSCC president, before a crowd of hundreds of students, staff and media attending the announcement at the college’s Ivany Campus in Dartmouth.

The largest portion of the donation, $4 million, will be used to establish a permanent bursary program to recruit and assist students who may have not have considered postsecondary education an option for themselves otherwise.

The plan is for the NSCC to partner with community organizations and law enforcement across the province to identify more than 80 people each year for the program, and assist them with grants of $2,000 each.

Some $2 million of the donation will go toward establishing bursaries and refurbishing Sobey Culinary Centres at six NSCC campus, with remaining $500,000 to provide financial assistance to students at the NSCC’s Marconi and Pictou Campuses specifically.

Donald Sobey, whose father Frank was the driving force behind the expansion of the supermarket chain in early 1900s, said that despite this success his father’s education ended at Grade 8.

“After that, when he got in the grocery business he knew he needed some more education, but he wanted a business education” said Sobey. There was no community college available at the time, so his father ended up attending night classes at a school in New Glasgow.

It was his drive to be a success himself that helped Frank Sobey identify the importance of formal education, said Donald, and with this donation the Sobey family aims to help cement his legacy in Nova Scotia.

“By providing individuals who face barriers an opportunity to access a college education,” he said, “We hope to enhance their path to employment and independence.”

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