Members of Sobey family among those to receive 2017 Humanitarian Award

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(Editor’s note: This story has been modified from the original. The press release indicated it was Rob Sobey who chaired the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, and in fact that was Frank Sobey.)

HALIFAX – 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.

The award, announced today by the Canadian Red Cross, is for maintaining and expanding a family tradition of improving lives through their support to numerous health, education, cultural and community causes.

As well, Cheyenne Hardy, 16, of Dartmouth will receive its 2017 Young Humanitarian Award for Nova Scotia for her campaigns against stigmatization of her community and the disadvantaged locally and abroad, as well as her support to campaigns against community violence.

The Sobeys and Hardy will receive their awards this fall at the Power of Humanity dinner, a fundraising event planned for November 2, 2017, at the Cunard Centre in Halifax, with proceeds supporting Canadian Red Cross services throughout Nova Scotia.  More details about the recipients and awards event are online at

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 preventative, curative and palliative 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 BC, and global disasters like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013. They have 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.

Robert G.C. (Rob) Sobey retired in 2014 as president of Lawton’s Drug Stores and chairs a capital campaign for Nova Scotia Community College as well as the Sobey Art Foundation and D & R Sobey Scholarships at the University of Kings College and Queen’s University, and has privately supported First Nations art initiatives. He’s 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 and is director of the Sobey Art Foundation and is on the board of the Aberdeen Health Foundation; he has 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.

In 2016, Cheyenne Hardy created a video that was widely viewed on social media celebrating the people of north-end Dartmouth and countering its reputation as a neighbourhood known for crime and violence.  She’s a member of the Ceasefire anti-violence group, participates in the Between the Bridges project addressing challenges faced by some families in north-end Dartmouth, and volunteers hundreds of hours per year at a community food bank, animal shelters, the IWK Health Centre, and the Special Olympics.  Hardy is also a member of the Halifax-based charity Challenge AIDS and Malaria in Africa (CHAMA) that partners with local groups in Africa to provide orphaned and stigmatized children with medical care, clothing and food.  In spring 2017, she raised $2,000 to cover the cost of live-saving surgery for a child in Africa, in part by asking family and friends to donate cash rather than presents for her 16th birthday.  She’s also a member of Girl Guides, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, and plays drums with the Dartmouth All City band and the Halifax Multicultural Drummers.

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.


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