Donor Don McIntosh creates award as bridge to a sustainable education


Don McIntosh

"This is just my way of saying thank you to the schools that helped me in my life."

When it comes to endowing a university award, Don McIntosh assumed what many of us might: it is a privilege afforded only to the wealthy.

He was delighted to be wrong. McIntosh was already donating a “modest” monthly sum to Royal Roads University when a staff member from the university’s Advancement team asked if he would like to bundle his gift into a research award focused on anything he liked.

He didn't hesitate. The Sustainability Bridge Award was born: an annual $1,000 grant for a graduate student researching environmental sustainability, green technologies or food security.

“I grew up on a farm, and sustainability is something I have always had great concern for,” says McIntosh, who graduated from Royal Roads University with a Master of Business Administration in Executive Management in 2009.

McIntosh hails from Leroy, Saskatchewan, a town of just 500. Leaving to study pharmacy at the University of Saskatchewan was full of revelations, like the sight of Saskatoon grocery stores stocked with treats like strawberries in the dead of winter. As a farm boy accustomed to food that came with the rhythms of nature, he couldn’t help but wonder about the environmental cost of shipping food around the globe. 

Today he's a management consultant based in Calgary, specializing in change management.

“I’m a bit of a science nerd and I follow current events,” he says, adding that today he is concerned about the effect climate change is having on day-to-day life.

He’s delighted that his donation might help shape a more sustainable future.

While $1,000 might not go far on a research project, McIntosh learned that it could be a bridge to other grants. Funding bodies that offer large awards are looking for researchers with a track record, and even small prizes contribute to establishing a novice investigator as a good candidate.  

For McIntosh, donating to his alma mater is part of a larger philosophy of giving back to the institutions that gave him the great advantage of a good education.

“The benefits of a university education—a career that is relatively well-paid and enjoyable, where you get to help people—are great. So this is just my way of saying thank you to the schools that helped me in my life.”


This year you’ve already helped raise more than $700,000 in new student award commitments. It’s not too late to give. All donations made before Dec. 31, 2018 will be included in the Power of One initiative to make a life-changing difference for students. 

Donate now toward the area of the university that means the most to you, or get in touch with us to find out how you can set up your own fund.