In recent years, the Board of the Foundation has become more proactive and more narrowly focused in its grant-making. It was felt that by defining its mandate, the Foundation would be able to maximize its impact and benefit Canadians in a more meaningful way.
Education has always been highly valued by the Weston family. Reta Weston was a school teacher, as were several of her daughters and grandchildren. Through organizations that provide endowments and national scholarship programs the Foundation has invested in the future of hundreds of college and university students. Education continues to be an area of focus within the Foundation, with an emphasis on impactful scholarships and the skilled trades.
A love of nature, instilled by their parents, has led to a sustained focus on land conservation. An investment of over $100m has enabled Canadian charities to acquire over 100,000 acres of sensitive landscapes across Canada. The Foundation is committed to the stewardship of these and other green spaces to provide opportunities for Canadians to connect with the wonderful nature that surrounds them.
The launch of the International Polar Year in 2007 was a response to a widespread concern about the decline of research in the North. It was at this time that the Foundation entered into a dialogue about Canada’s North. In response to this growing concern, the Foundation has adopted a goal of supporting institutions that advance northern science and research in Canada’s North.
The Weston Brain Institute continues the Foundation’s long history of supporting medical research. The Institute funds institutions that focus on translational research that accelerates the development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Learn more on their website.
The Weston Family Microbiome Initiative provides support for innovative microbiome research in Canada. Funded institutions sponsor projects typically focus on the development of new therapies to treat disease, and preventative strategies to improve overall health such as diet modifications.
Innovation, excellence, leadership, and a sense of community are at the core of Director giving in this area. Directors direct funds to specific causes that reflect the overall values of the Foundation, for the benefit of Canadians.
The Weston Family's philanthropic initiatives began in the 1950s by Willard Garfield Weston and his wife Reta, with a donation of shares from the family company, George Weston Limited.Learn More