The Barrett Family Foundation is demonstrating its continued and longstanding support of Humber College by bestowing the largest donation to an Ontario college with a $30 million gift.  

Combined with their previous donations to Humber’s Unlimited Campaign, the Barrett Family Foundation has given a total of $42 million, making their donation the largest in Canadian college history.   

Bob Barrett is the president and CEO of Polytainers and founded the Barrett Family Foundation along with his wife, Francine Rouleau-Barrett, and his daughters, Kim and Rebecca. The foundation supports educational, environmental, and humanitarian causes as well as health and the arts.

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“We have a longstanding relationship with Humber, and we believe in, and have witnessed the success of their polytechnic model of education,” said Bob Barrett, co-founder, the Barrett Family Foundation. “We are investing this additional $30 million so Humber can continue to positively impact the lives of students and future generations through access to education, greater knowledge, innovation and industry-relevant skills, and we are delighted to facilitate these opportunities.”

Gift will fund more than 100 annual scholarships

The gift will support several of the College’s priorities, with most of the funding going towards student support through financial assistance and experiential learning opportunities.  

Hoang Thuy Linh Nguyen is in her final year of the Computer Engineering Technology program at Humber. The international student received a Barrett Family Foundation Leadership Scholarship last fall worth $2,000. Since 2016, the Foundation has supported Humber students through hundreds of scholarships to foster the development of future industry leaders and encourage scholarship recipients to continue to achieve their goals.

The scholarship has been extremely helpful as she pursues her post-secondary education.

"I'm very happy and so grateful for it," said Nguyen. "I feel very lucky to have received this scholarship and it means I don’t have to worry as much about the cost of tuition and can continue to focus on my education.”

Nguyen says putting the scholarship money towards her tuition helped relieve some of financial pressure and allowed Nguyen to focus on her studies and work toward graduating. It also helps her family back home in Vietnam who have been paying some of the cost of her post-secondary education.

Following graduation, Nguyen hopes to continue her studies and earn a degree with the goal of working in IT in the future.

With this latest donation from the Barrett Family Foundation, there will be more opportunities to support students.  

The funding will provide for more than 100 annual scholarships. There will be 40 entrance scholarships as well as 40 scholarships for current students, 12 Bachelor of Engineering entrance scholarships, and 12 Bachelor of Engineering pathways scholarships. Each is valued at $3,000 and will be given out annually.

There will also be grants for experiential and work-integrated learning opportunities each year as well as student grants for skills training programs plus skills program support and mentoring grants. These will provide access and increase retention and pathways to education to create exposure to new thinking and activities to broaden and enhance skills development.

Supporting the Barrett CTI

The Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation (Barrett CTI) is home to the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Consortium a group of nine leading industry partners who are working with the college to train students and employees of Canadian companies. The building has become a living lab for mechatronics, automation, and advanced manufacturing as students learn alongside representatives from leading companies in robotics, 3D printing, and collaborative digital technologies. This technology and training has prepared students to be world-class leaders in STEM fields.  

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The Barrett CTI was made possible by a $10 million donation from the Barrett Family Foundation – which at the time was the largest private donation in the history of the College. Their seed fund helped catalyze an additional $7 million in funding from the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

Beyond scholarships, the gift will also be used to support a team of specialized individuals at the Barrett CTI who will ensure the vision of the Barrett Family Foundation is captured in the everyday activities of the building while also fostering and expanding partnerships to bring the latest trends in technology and equipment to Humber that will provide students with a rich educational experience.

“This gift will provide the needed resources and support to further position the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation as a dynamic hub for innovation and collaboration focused on helping academia, industries, and communities benefit from the transformative impact of new technologies and develop breakthrough solutions to complex challenges,” said Neal Mohammed, director, Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation.  

“The gift will also ensure Humber students have access to the latest technology as they prepare for the careers of the future,” Mohammed continued. “It will help to continue to equip the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation with the latest, cutting-edge technology that is critical to industry and training the next generation of skilled workers. Humber is preparing our students to be leaders in the science, technology, engineering and math fields and we are grateful to the Barrett Family Foundation for their gift."

The collaboration between industry and Humber students and faculty is critical to helping secure the talent businesses need to remain competitive in the global economy.

“The Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation is a leading force in Canadian innovation. This transformative contribution to the work and opportunities brought about by the Barrett CTI is an investment in the future of Humber students that will strengthen industry, the economy, and our communities,” said Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, president and CEO of Humber College. “We’ve seen the results of the Barrett family’s previous acts of generosity and how they have helped reinforce Humber’s leadership in technology and polytechnic education. We look forward to what we can accomplish together next.”

The Barrett Family Foundation has supported scholarships for students in technology-related programs, work placement opportunities, and Skills Mechatronics mentorship training.

The importance of the longstanding relationship between Humber, the Barrett family and their company Polytainers was highlighted late last year when the atrium at the Barrett CTI was named the Polytainers Atrium. A plaque sharing the Polytainers story was also installed.

Find out more about what the Barrett CTI offers by visiting its website.