Give and don’t count the cost.
Oakville lawyer and engineer, E. Anthony Ross, has been doing a lot of that in the last few years without paying much attention to how much he’s donating.
A supporter of a few charities and causes which he shies away from publicizing, Ross recently made a significant financial contribution to help students at the University of Toronto’s New College experience an experiential learning opportunity in Belize.
The E. Anthony Ross Fund for Community Engagement will allow students to travel to Belize to learn hands-on about indigeneity, health and food sustainability. New College has supported the program for several years without stable funding.
“I am from the Caribbean and I know the struggles that people there face,” said Ross. “I could very well have been in those circumstances had it not been for my father who was a building contractor. I was able to not feel the economic squeeze which has deprived so many people of an opportunity to advance themselves.
“There is always a requirement for some type of funding assistance when you go through a university. When I see something that is of interest to me and something that I can relate to, I develop a focus for it.”
Beginning in the early 1980s, Ross has visited Belize on a number of occasions.
The program, offered in partnership with the Institute for Sustainable International Studies in Belize (ISIS), allows 10 upper-year students in Aboriginal, Caribbean and Equity Studies and the Human Rights program to spend a week in Belize working with Indigenous and other communities, visiting farms and community organizations and participating in discussions.
On their return to Toronto, they will share their experiences with the U of T community, broadening the program’s impact.
“My time in Belize solidified my commitment to Caribbean food sovereignty and security,” said program participant, Mark Chatarpal. “It gave me the scope and capacity to apply the concept of food security in a space where I was surrounded by top area scholars and people who were open to explaining intricate issues that are not always discussed in a classroom.”
Equity Studies program director and Belize program faculty advisor, Dr. June Larkin, has witnessed firsthand how the program impacts students.
“Students return to the College with new perspectives on food and indigeneity issues and organize follow-up events that benefit other students,” she said. “Many students go on to complete individual research projects with the ISIS faculty director. The E. Anthony Ross Fund for Community Engagement in Belize at New College will provide the support needed to ensure our students continue to have access to this rich learning experience.”
Ross hopes his gift will empower students to help others and reduce economic barriers for Belize’s Aboriginal communities.
“It’s up to the students to take it and make something useful out of it,” he said. “I hope my support gives them the capacity to be free to think, free to dream and free to advance their own causes, whatever they may be.”
Ross migrated from St. Kitts in 1961 to pursue studies in Canada. He graduated with a Master’s in environmental engineering in 1970 from the Technical University of Nova Scotia, where he was student council president two years before graduating and Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Laws in 1973.
He spent four years in St. Lucia as the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s first managing judge.