About

The Sobey Foundation is dedicated to fostering transformative change in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, our home region. Our five-year strategic plan is focused on investing in five initiatives that build capacity for primary healthcare delivery and community development.

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Frank and Irene Sobey were dedicated to supporting their community. Their values inspired The Sobey Foundation’s philanthropy and its focus on hometown.

Fostering Transformative Change in Pictou County, Nova Scotia

The Sobey Foundation’s new five-year strategic plan focuses on building capacity in healthcare delivery and community development

Our roots in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, run deep. It’s where our families live and where we know neighbours by name. It’s where The Sobey Foundation started.

It’s our home.

The Sobey Foundation was established in 1982 by Frank H. Sobey, his wife Irene, their sons Bill, David and Donald and daughter, Dianne. Since then, The Foundation has provided funding to a wide scope of initiatives across a broad geographic range, supporting countless communities and organizations.

The people in this rural, northern part of Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada, have always been supportive of The Sobey Foundation, and we have worked together on countless projects.

But we knew that with a deeper understanding of our objectives, we could make a more meaningful and lasting impact. And so, in late 2021, we began an intensive strategic review aimed at sharpening our focus. 

This intensive process has allowed us to align around the objective of fostering transformative change in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, our home region. 

This five-year plan, launched in 2024, is built around five strategic partnerships the Foundation has formed with organizations dedicated to building capacity for primary healthcare delivery, and investing in community development and sustainability.

The five strategic partnerships are:

We chose these partnerships following extensive conversations with the people of our region, who are already working to make a difference every day. These people gave their time and their expertise to help guide our decision-making process, ensuring that our five partnerships encompass the core areas required to build a strong and healthy foundation for the future of our region.

Over the next five years, we will be investing in these transformative initiatives to help build a sustainable future for rural and small-town communities in our home region. It is our belief that this strategic commitment to our hometown community will provide the catalyst for generational change.

This is a five-year pilot that will provide us with the experience and guidelines needed to eventually roll out comparable capacity-building strategic plans in other rural communities and small towns across Canada. 

While our focus for the next five years is in Pictou County and the five capacity-building initiatives, it is not exclusively so. We continue to provide critical funding to Family of Support, a national initiative that addresses the child and youth mental health crisis across Canada.

Family of Support is a ground-breaking initiative funding innovative mental health programs in 13 hospitals across the country. Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations, Empire Company Ltd., and The Sobey Foundation have partnered to help support mental health programs aimed at helping kids while they're still kids, giving them the best possible chance to thrive. 

Both the national mental health initiative and our five-year strategic focus on Pictou County hold the promise of fostering generational change. It’s work that both humbles us and fills us with pride. 

We invite you to join us on this journey.

Who We Are

We are a family-led Foundation dedicated to fostering transformative change in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, our home region. We are focused on investing in initiatives that build capacity for primary healthcare delivery and community development. Founded in 1982 by Frank H. Sobey, his wife Irene, their sons and daughter, The Sobey Foundation honours a legacy that reaches back more than a century and is deeply intertwined with the fabric of our region.

Our Mission

Our mission is to be an active partner in the transformation of our home region of Pictou County, Nova Scotia. Our five-year strategic plan is focused on five collaborative partnerships that are aimed at making a lasting impact by addressing the core issues that challenge our rural communities and small towns.  

Our Vision

Our vision is to be a leader in strategic partnerships that drive capacity-building initiatives for rural and small-town communities. During our current five-year strategic plan, we are focused on fostering generational change in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, our home region. This experience will enable us to roll out comparable initiatives to communities across Canada in subsequent phases of our strategic plan.

Do you have questions about The Sobey Foundation, who we are, and what we do? We invite you to read our FAQ section.

 

Where is Pictou County

Pictou County, in northern Nova Scotia on Canada’s east coast, is rich in culture, history, warm beaches and welcoming communities. 

 

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Pictou County has benefited hugely from the generosity of The Sobey Foundation. They are a piece of the fabric of the community.

Carol Curley

Associate Vice President, Home & Community Care, VON Nova Scotia

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We’ve been blessed with this rare opportunity to make a significant shift in the quality of life for our friends, our neighbours, and our families.

Murray Hill

Chair, Citizens for a Healthy Pictou County

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It means so much to have The Sobey Foundation as part of the project. You couldn't ask for a better partner. It keeps that local connection, that feeling of community. They're part of the family.

Vern Shea

Project Manager, Ship Hector Society

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You look at The Sobey Foundation and it's an inspiration that you can do more. That you can be better, and that you get out of things what you put in.

Wade Tibbo

Chief Executive Officer, Pictou County Partnership

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This is just a perfect place to have kids. It allows you to slow down and make sure you are balancing your work life and family life. You have time for the little things.

Bahati Maganjo

Registered Nurse, Aberdeen Hospital

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The Sobey Foundation has a commitment to home and that is something that means a lot to the people of Pictou County.

Crystal Murray

Chair, Board of Directors, deCoste Entertainment Centre Society

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The Sobey Foundation understands that art and culture isn't just an embellishment, it can actually be a major driver to the health of a community.

Troy Greencorn

Executive Director, deCoste Performing Arts Centre

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There's a recognition from The Sobey Foundation that this is really a way to foster civic pride.

Eric Stackhouse

Chief Librarian for Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library

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Trustees

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Frank C. Sobey

Chair

Frank C. Sobey is a Corporate Director at Empire Company Limited and a member of the Trebek Council. Mr. Sobey was Vice President, Real Estate of Empire Company Limited until his retirement in 2014 after 36 years with the Company. Mr. Sobey also served as a trustee and Chairman of Crombie REIT from 2006 to 2019, as Chairman of the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, as well as a board member of the Canadian-U.S. Fulbright Program. Mr. Sobey graduated from Harvard University Business School’s Advanced Management Program and earned the ICD.D designation. He holds an honorary degree from Dalhousie University.

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Carmen Marron

Trustee

Carmen thrives on connecting with partners worldwide, embracing her Mexican roots with pride. She's the driving force behind a business that brings Mexican alcohol to new markets, fuelled by her love for international collaborations. When she's not busy with business, you'll find Carmen volunteering with the National Ballet of Canada and Canada’s National Ballet School, indulging her passion for classical arts. Giving back is at the core of Carmen's values, as shown by her involvement with the Sobey Family Engagement Committee. With an MBA from McGill University, Carmen blends her academic achievements with her entrepreneurial spirit to make a difference in both business and community.

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Heather Sobey-Connors

Trustee

Heather Sobey-Connors has done volunteer work in her community for the greater part of her life. For many years, she canvassed door-to-door for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia, eventually taking on the role of local lead. Mrs. Sobey-Connors has served on the boards of the Aberdeen Hospital Foundation, and the IWK Foundation, and as trustee of The Sobey Art Foundation. Together with her husband, Lauchie, and their children, Daniel and Matthew, Mrs. Sobey-Connors established the MSC Paediatric Oncology Research Fund associated with the IWK, where she also played a role in creating the Sobey Family Child & Adolescent Mental Health Outcomes Chair. She was active in launching the Family of Support initiative with Canada’s Children’s Hospitals Foundations.

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Janis Sobey-Hames

Trustee

Janis Sobey-Hames is a graduate of Mount Saint Vincent University, BSc Nursing. She was a Director of the Aberdeen Hospital Foundation and National Director, Fathers of Confederation Buildings Trust. Ms. Sobey-Hames served on Mount Saint Vincent University’s Board of Governors, and was Co-Chair of the Leaders of The Way campaign, Pictou County United Way. She is a member of the David Sobey Centre Endowment Committee and the Sobeys Scholarship Endowment Fund Committee at Saint Mary’s University, as well as Chair of the David and Faye Sobey Foundation.

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Kent Sobey

Trustee

Kent Sobey is founder of Farmhouse Productions. He is a corporate director of Hollywood Suite and Blue Ant Media. He served as a trustee on the board of Crombie REIT for 10 years from 2009 – 2019 and previously served on the advisory board of Empire Theatres. He is a trustee of The Frank H. Sobey Awards for Excellence in Business Studies. He previously served on the board of directors of The North York Harvest Food Bank.

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Michael Medline

Trustee

Michael Medline was appointed President & Chief Executive Officer of Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc. in January 2017. Mr. Medline is a proven leader with a strong track record of success in Canadian retail. He has held senior retail leadership positions at Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC), including President & Chief Executive Officer of CTC. He began his career working with the Ontario Securities Commission, followed by two years practicing law with McCarthy Tétrault. He was Corporate Counsel for PepsiCo Canada before moving to Abitibi Consolidated Inc. where he held a variety of roles including Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development. Mr. Medline serves on the Board of Directors for Scotiabank, the Board of Trustees for SickKids, the Board of Governors for Huron University College at Western University, the Board of Directors for The BlackNorth Initiative and The Sobey Foundation. He is past Chair of the Retail Council of Canada as well as The Grocery Foundation, and was formerly on the Board of Governors for Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and Board of Directors for SickKids Foundation. Mr. Medline holds an MBA from Raymond A. Mason School of Business, William & Mary; an LL.B. from the University of Toronto; and a BA from Huron University College at Western University.

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Paul Sobey

Trustee

Paul Sobey is a Corporate Director at Empire Company Limited, where he also served as President & Chief Executive Officer from 1998 until his retirement in 2013. Mr. Sobey serves as a trustee of Crombie REIT, holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Dalhousie University and graduated from Harvard University Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He received an honorary Doctorate of Commerce from Saint Mary’s University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Nova Scotia. In 2013, Mr. Sobey received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

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Rob Sobey

Trustee

Rob Sobey is a Corporate Director at Empire Company Limited, and served as President & Chief Executive Officer of Lawton’s Drug Stores Limited from 2006 until his retirement in 2014. He serves as a director of SeaFort Capital and the Institute of Corporate Directors. Mr. Sobey is Chair of the Sobey Art Foundation and the DRS Foundation, a member of the Queen’s Smith School of Business Advisory Board, and is an Honorary Colonel of the Canadian Army. He holds an undergraduate from Queen’s University, an MBA from Babson College and the ICD.D designation.

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Bernard Doucet

Secretary

Bernard Doucet is Executive Director of the Sobey family foundations and Trustee of the Sobey Art Foundation. He is an internationally recognized philanthropy and arts’ administrator who believes that the visual arts provide boundless opportunities for the foundation of human and community connections. Mr. Doucet has been a central figure in the evolution of the contemporary Canadian art ecosystem for the past decade, and is a trusted leader in Canadian Arts and Philanthropy. Mr. Doucet holds a BA Hons in German Studies from McMaster University and an MBA, Finance from Dalhousie University.