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Three members of Sobey family to receive humanitarian award

Published on August 10, 2017

From left, Rob Sobey, Frank Sobey and Paul Sobey are the recipients of the Canadian Red Cross 2017 Humanitarian Award for Nova Scotia, to be awarded in November.

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STELLARTON – The Canadian Red Cross has announced that business leaders Paul, Frank and Rob Sobey will be co-recipients of its 2017 Humanitarian Award for Nova Scotia for maintaining and expanding a family tradition of improving lives through their support to numerous health, education, cultural and community causes.

The Sobeys will receive their awards at the Power of Humanity dinner, a fundraising event that will take place in November at the Cunard Centre in Halifax. Proceeds support Canadian Red Cross services throughout Nova Scotia. 

Recipients are selected by the Canadian Red Cross among nominations from the public. The awards seek to recognize volunteerism, advocacy or philanthropy, and leadership that inspires others to pursue humanitarian goals.  

The Sobeys are members of a family whose business has grown from a single store in Stellarton in 1912 to more than 1,500 stores under 17 banners across Canada, but who maintain Nova Scotia roots and a tradition of improving the lives of Atlantic Canadians through personal, foundational and corporate initiatives supporting health, education, cultural and community causes. 

In addition to post-secondary scholarships, research chairs and academic chairs across the Atlantic provinces and beyond, the Sobeys support programs to advance health care such as the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, the Sobey Cancer Support Centre in Halifax, the Alzheimer's Caregivers Society, and the Aberdeen Health Foundation in Pictou County. They also promote Canadian culture through initiatives in the visual arts including the Sobey Art Foundation, Donald R. Sobey Foundation and the Sobey Award, all of which help ensure public access to the best in historical and contemporary Canadian art, at home and around the world.

The Sobeys have supported Canadian Red Cross disaster responses, including the recent ice storm in New Brunswick and wildfires in Alberta and British Columbia, and global disasters such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013. They contributed to a campaign improving Red Cross disaster response capacity in Nova Scotia, and the Health Equipment Loan Program by which the Red Cross offers free loans of wheelchairs and other mobility aids to those recovering from illness or injury.

In 2014 Rob Sobey retired as president of Lawton's Drug Stores. He also chairs a capital campaign for Nova Scotia Community College as well as the Sobey Art Foundation and D and R Sobey Scholarships at the University of Kings College and Queen's University. He’s privately supported First Nations art initiatives and is honorary chair of Venture of Canada, serves on an advisory board for the Queen's University School of Business, is a member of the World Wildlife Fund's Atlantic Council, and is Honorary Colonel of the 1st Field Artillery Regiment of Halifax.  

Frank C. Sobey is chair of Crombie REIT, a corporate director of Empire Co. Ltd., chairs the Sobey Foundation, is director of the Sobey Art Foundation and is on the board of the Aberdeen Health Foundation. He has also chaired the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation for 17 years.

Paul D. Sobey worked for 31 years at Empire Co. Ltd, including as president and CEO from 1998 until retirement at the end of 2013, and is currently the Chancellor of Saint Mary's University.