Throughout The W. Garfield Weston Foundation’s history, the Weston family has maintained a strong interest in education. Since the early days the Foundation has supported programming for both children and young adults, without advocating one method of schooling over another.
Through its current Education mandate, the Foundation endeavours to address critical gaps in higher education through new, ground-breaking initiatives that support Canadian talent. Support is directed to programs that remove barriers and strengthen Canadians’ ability to innovate and contribute in a changing workplace.
Within the Education mandate, the Foundation’s grant-making is streamlined into two areas of focus:
- Championing scholarships that position students to become global leaders
- Creating competitive advantage for students entering the skilled workforce
The Foundation has supported a number of scholarships and awards which recognize and facilitate educational achievement, community involvement, and leadership, such as:
Since 1997, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has funded college awards,
supporting over 50 students annually. The W. Garfield Weston Award recipients
show academic strength and take leadership in their schools and within their communities.
- The Foundation has ensured ongoing support of Canada’s youth through endowments established at 24 institutions across 7 provinces, supporting 60 scholars annually. For over 25 years, students across the country have benefited from foundation-supported scholarships and awards.
In response to a growing need for skilled trades people in Canada, the Foundation has embarked on pilot projects which will explore how to effectively support students pursuing the technical and skilled trades.
Over the next three years the Foundation will work with Loyalist College to shape a program that will help over 60 talented individuals to build lasting careers in the skilled trades. The W. Garfield Weston Fellowship Program will provide incentives for students to go beyond a one-year certificate to earn a diploma or complete apprenticeship training, enabling them to turn a job into a career.
The Foundation is also supporting a pilot program at the University of Toronto. The W. Garfield Weston Fellowship Program is Canada’s first and only fully-funded travel award for doctoral students. The program presents an important opportunity - enabling our most promising students to further their research, their perspectives, their skills and experience, and their collaborative networks, in a global setting with up to one full year of study abroad.
To compliment ongoing support to scholarships and programming, the Foundation has also been a lead donor to several education-focused capital projects:
- In September 2011, The Weston Family Learning Centre at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) opened to the public. The Foundation’s generous lead gift of $12 million helped create a new vibrant home where people of all ages will come together to explore their creativity and the arts. The Foundation’s gift also established the AGO’s first ever education program endowment fund. The Weston Foundation Teacher Training Fund supports teacher workshops centered on the AGO’s special exhibits and collections enabling teachers to integrate the arts into the classroom curriculum.
In 2004, the Royal Ontario Museum, received a special gift for its 90th birthday. The Hon. Hilary M. Weston, Chair of Renaissance ROM, announced a donation of $20 million, consisting of $10 million from Hilary and Galen Weston and $10 million from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.
- In 2003, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation announced its commitment of $15 million to the Ontario Science Centre building on the family's legacy of community support, as well as its strong commitment to education. The Weston Family Innovation Centre continues to inspire young people and sustain their fascination with science.