BMO donates $500,000 to SFU Beedie to support Indigenous business education

Feb 08, 2018


Andrew Peter, President of SFU, Mike den Haan, Vice President, Advancement and Alumni Engagement, Ali Dastmalchian, Dean of the Beedie School of Business, and Mike Bonner, Senior Vice President and Regional Head, B.C. & Yukon Division, BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Financial Group has made a commitment of $500,000 to support Indigenous business education at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. SFU Beedie will use the gift to fund new research and education materials at the school, as well as creating a new permanent award of $10,000 for a student taking the Executive MBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership each year.

BMO made the donation in honour of the organization’s former Vice-Chairman and Honorary Director John Ellis. Ellis, 102, has supported SFU since the university’s foundation, as an SFU Convocation Founder, a member of the first Senate, and an honorary degree recipient.

The donation follows the recent appointment of Joy Cramer as Director, Indigenous Programs at SFU Beedie, and will provide resources for her to develop the school’s Indigenous business education offering. In particular, it will be used to address the lack of existing academic research and case studies specifically addressing Canadian Indigenous business, to support the school’s teaching of Indigenous issues across all programs.

John Ellis, former Vice-Chairman and Honorary Director of BMO Bank of Montreal, presented with Indigenous artwork by senior SFU leadership

“We are deeply grateful to BMO and John Ellis for their generous support over many years,” says Ali Dastmalchian, dean of SFU Beedie. “This gift will enable us to make significant progress towards our goal of developing a world-leading offering in Indigenous business education.”

The donation was celebrated at an event on February 7, 2018 at the Segal Graduate School in Vancouver. The building has close connections to BMO, having started life as the bank’s regional headquarters in Vancouver, before being purchased and later donated to SFU by philanthropists Joe and Rosalie Segal. John Ellis, who worked in the building for several years, attended the event, which included speeches from SFU President Andrew Petter.

“BMO has a long history of giving back to our communities, and this donation reflects that ongoing commitment,” says Michael Bonner, Senior Vice President and Regional Head, B.C. & Yukon Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. “Education and business offer opportunities to transform lives, and I am excited to see the impact this funding will have in supporting the development of Indigenous business education and empowering positive change in Indigenous communities here in B.C. and across Canada.”