Skip to main content

The donors: Robert, Francine, Rebecca and Kim Barrett

The gift: $25-million

The cause: World Vision Canada

Story continues below advertisement

The reason: To support youth programs in Latin America

When Robert Barrett was growing up near Boston he learned a lot about business and philanthropy from his father Wilmer.

“Entitlement was not part of our beginnings,” Mr. Barrett recalled. When the time came for his father to divide up his estate everything went to a local church, a university and a hospital. “That kind of set the stage for us.”

Mr. Barrett, 78, came to Canada in 1967 to run an offshoot of the family’s packaging business. He thought it would be a temporary posting but he never left and eventually became a Canadian citizen and settled in Toronto. The company grew into Polytainers Inc. which the family still owns.

Over the years Mr. Barrett and his wife Francine gave to various charities, but in 2013 they decided to focus their donations and they set up a family foundation with their daughters, Rebecca and Kim. The family’s goal was to become more engaged with charities and fund projects that wouldn’t happen without their financial support. That led them to World Vision Canada, which was developing a program in Honduras and El Salvador that provides training, mentoring and internships for young people at risk. The Barretts took a trip to Honduras to see the program in action and were so impressed that they committed $25-million from the foundation over 10 years. The money will help expand the initiative into more countries.

Mr. Barrett said the trip was harrowing at times as World Vision operates in some of the country’s most violent neighbourhoods. Despite the danger, he was blown away by the “level of excitement they have and the achievements they are making.”

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter