$500,000 gift from Janes family funds new scholarships and bursaries for Indigenous students

Main Content
Tom Janes Bursaries for Indigenous Learners cheque presentation

New financial awards are now available to Indigenous students at George Brown College thanks to a generous donation from the Janes family. These awards include entrance scholarships, bursaries to help cover emergency costs and funding to support students’ visits to their home communities. 

Karen and Lembit Janes, philanthropists and the former owners of Janes Family Foods donated $500,000 to fund the Tom Janes Bursaries for Indigenous Learners over five years starting in the 2022/2023 academic year, with $100,000 distributed per year. The awards are named in honour of Lembit Janes’s late brother. The donation was celebrated on September 14 at George Brown’s student-focused fine-dining restaurant The Chefs’ House, a fitting location as Tom Janes was a culinary connoisseur and a key member of the Janes Family Foods business.  

"Our family is dedicated to increasing access to post-secondary education and supporting Indigenous learners at George Brown College,” Mr. and Mrs. Lembit and Karen Janes said in a statement. “We’re pleased to provide financial support to help students achieve academic success and to contribute to their well-being by helping learners maintain strong connections to their home communities, family and friends.” 

George Brown College President Dr. Gervan Fearon, George Brown College Indigenous Initiatives Director Audrey Rochette, George Brown College Foundation President Dr. Cindy Gouveia, George Brown College Board of Directors member Ray Williams (Managing Director and Vice Chairman, Financial Markets, National Bank Financial), along with other representatives from the college joined the Janes Family for the celebration. 

“I wish to express my deepest gratitude to the Janes family for this incredible gift,” Fearon said. “The Tom Janes Bursaries for Indigenous Learners supports our students and directly aligns with the goals of George Brown College’s Indigenous Education Strategy. We are proud to have the Janes family as a partner in our effort to take meaningful steps towards reconciliation.”  

The Janes family has in the past funded George Brown College scholarships for young people affiliated with Janes Family Foods, who either worked at the company or whose family members worked at the company. 

How do I apply for the Tom Janes awards for Indigenous students? 

Each year, $100,000 will fund the following three Tom Janes Bursaries for Indigenous Learners: 

  • Tom Janes Emergency Funds for Indigenous Learners (15 awards per year): This award provides emergency funding for Indigenous students, including unforeseen costs such as illness, loss of income, and increases in tuition. 
  • Tom Janes Home Visit Bursary (15 awards per year): This award supports Indigenous students’ visits to their home communities. Many Indigenous students hail from remote communities and do not have the financial resources to return home during breaks in the semester or in the summer.  
  • Tom Janes Indigenous Student Entrance Scholarship (eight awards per year): This award is an entrance scholarship available to full-time students who identify as Indigenous. 

Full-time students who identify as Indigenous can apply for this award by visiting the How to Apply for Awards and Scholarships Page

Visit the Indigenous Student Awards page to learn about other financial awards available. 

“I would like to thank the Janes family for their generous donation. Accessing support for Indigenous learners notably through the emergency bursary option and return to home communities enables us to provide unique services in challenging situations” Rochette says. “These bursaries and scholarships will have a positive impact on many students and will help care for learners in a way that goes beyond academic needs.” 

Photo: (L-R) Audrey Rochette, Director, Indigenous Initiatives; Dr. Cindy Gouveia, President, George Brown College Foundation; Dr. Cory Ross, Provost; Dr. Gervan Fearon, President; Allan Penning, Chief Development Officer, George Brown College Foundation; Karen Janes; Lembit Janes; Ray Williams, GBC Board Member and Vice Chairman and Managing Director - Financial Markets at National Bank Canada