In 1968, Bob Barrett founded Polytainers Inc., a successful company that has been providing industry-leading packaging to customers for more than 50 years. Influenced by his father’s philanthropy, Bob learned about the importance of generosity and committed throughout his working years to support others. In 2013, he founded The Barrett Family Foundation along with his wife Francine Rouleau-Barrett, and his daughters Kim and Rebecca.
Bob and his family believe that education is critical to the success of all Canadians. As a result, education is one of the Foundation’s main areas of support. From providing scholarships to children of Polytainers’ employees to supporting various postsecondary programs and institutions, the Foundation seeks to improve the lives of students. In particular, through Bob’s decades of experience in manufacturing, he has seen the evolution of technology firsthand and knows there continues to be a need for students to learn advanced skills in order to have successful careers.
In January 2016, The Barrett Family Foundation made a transformational commitment to polytechnic education at Humber College. Their initial $5 million donation supported awards and scholarships for students in technology-related programs and provided funding for the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation, a place where students, faculty and industry could come together to learn from each other and solve real-world business challenges.
Bob, along with the rest of the Barretts, was drawn to Humber because he saw in the college a trait that is at the core of Polytainers success: passion. Bob notes that he, and his employees, have an incredible passion for Polytainers, and that he sees the same thing at Humber. From their executive team to students in classrooms, he could see the passion that students and staff have for what they’re doing at the college.
In November 2018, The Barrett Family Foundation increased their support to $10-million, making it the largest private donation in Humber’s history. Their commitment supports a range of student scholarships, skills mentorship programs, and leading-edge equipment and technology within the Barrett CTI.
“We chose to partner with Humber because we believed that they had the vision, the power, the energy and more importantly, the dream to make an extraordinary impact in education,” says Barrett. “It’s been refreshing working with Humber. Together, we are supporting students to gain practical skills so they can build meaningful lives for themselves and their families. We believe that Humber is the best place for forward-thinking skills development, especially in technology.”
The Barrett Family Foundation was the catalyst to the development of a leading-edge facility dedicated to technology and innovation that will provide opportunities for students to gain experience and learn advanced skills that employers demand in a rapidly changing workforce.