Skip to main content

Scotiabank Donates $250,000 to Support Land Based Learning & Reconciliation Space at RDP

May 07, 2024
A group shot of Stuart Callum, Lloyd Desjarlais, Caitlin Fox and Scott Bollman

Left to Right: Stuart Cullum (President, Red Deer Polytechnic), Scott Bollman (District Vice President, Scotiabank), Caitlin Fox (Instructor, Red Deer Polytechnic) and Lloyd Desjarlais (Dean of Indigenous Initiatives, Red Deer Polytechnic). 

Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) has received a significant boost in education and cultural enrichment with a generous $250,000 pledge from ScotiaRISE, Scotiabank’s social impact initiative that helps remove barriers to career advancement and employment. The funding will contribute to the establishment of the Land Based Learning and Reconciliation Initiative that aims to create a dedicated space on campus for learning, community engagement and the promotion of Indigenous traditions and teachings.

“Elders and staff at RDP have identified an on-campus location which is an ideal setting for an Outdoor Learning Space, located on the south side of the campus adjacent to Waskasoo Creek, the space features a natural amphitheater, pathways and ample open space suitable for a range of programming,” comments Lloyd Desjarlais, Dean, Indigenous Initiatives. “The space, surrounded by abundant wildlife and access to naturally growing medicinal plants sacred to Indigenous communities, will serve as a dynamic venue for integrating cultural and Indigenous perspectives across all of our academic programs.” 

Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic, emphasized the significance of Scotiabank's contribution: "We are immensely thankful for this generous donation from Scotiabank, which will allows us to offer distinct educational and cultural experiences to our students, faculty, staff, and the wider community. This area will not only be a vibrant centre for land based learning and social interaction, but it will remind us of our responsibility to advance reconciliation and deepen the ties between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities." 

Under the guidance of an Indigenous Steering Council, the initiative will enhance collaborations with Indigenous organizations and communities. The Outdoor Learning Space is designed to provide a welcoming and inclusive gathering place for educational and cultural engagements, including ceremonies, arts, and community gatherings, fostering deeper understanding and respect for Indigenous knowledge and traditions. 

"Scotiabank, through ScotiaRISE is honoured to partner with Red Deer Polytechnic on the Land-Based Learning Initiative, furthering Indigenous student inclusion and engagement, and building understanding for all students of traditional Indigenous learning experiences. The Land-Based Learning Initiative helps build brighter futures for students of Red Deer Polytechnic, and further reconciliation here in Central Alberta," says Scott Bollman, District Vice President, Scotiabank. "I thank Red Deer Polytechnic for the opportunity to be involved." 

RDP's partnership with Scotiabank represents a significant advancement for the Polytechnic in its continuous efforts to incorporate meaningful reconciliation initiatives and educational enhancements on campus.

Media Inquiries

Communications Team

Phone: 403.342.3389

Email Us

Related News

Members of the Donald Family, RDP, and government stand next to a commemorative photo.
Historic Gift Establishes the Donald Family Institute for Healthtech Innovation
Long-time friend and supporter of Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP), the Donald Family, has given a record-breaking $20 million gift, the largest ever received by RDP, in support of healthcare and healthtech programming and applied research. “We are immensely grateful for the Donald Family's transformational gift,” comments Stuart Cullum, President, RDP. “With this gift, we will establish the Donald Family Institute for Healthtech Innovation where we will bring together diverse teams of experts, practitioners, and interdisciplinary researchers, to develop and deliver innovative healthcare education, training and applied research in Alberta.” Cullum continues, “By supporting the health industry as it evolves beyond the status quo, RDP is contributing to the region’s economic diversification and providing the innovative solutions, education and training that will benefit generations of residents here in central Alberta and across the province. On behalf of all of RDP’s students, staff and faculty, I would like to thank the Donald Family for their incredible generosity and support in helping us bring this important healthtech concept to life.” One of central Alberta’s most well-known community leaders and philanthropists, Joan Donald, along with her late husband Jack Donald, and their children John Donald and Kathy Lacey, have been supporters of education and
A group shot of smiling members of the ZS Holdings group with RDP President. The group holds a cheque for $50,000
ZS Holdings Donates $50K for International Student-Athlete Scholarships
In a significant act of generosity and commitment to education, Zainul & Shazma Holdings Ltd (ZS Holdings) has pledged $50,000 to establish the ZS Holdings 50th Anniversary International Student-Athlete Success Fund at Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP). This donation marks a new chapter in the longstanding partnership between ZS Holdings and RDP, specifically aimed at supporting the bright futures of international student-athletes. Fifty years ago, founders Afzal and Gulzar embarked on a journey from Tanzania to Canada, laying the groundwork for what would become a successful family-run business encompassing seven hotels and two restaurants across Alberta. Inspired by their parents' entrepreneurial spirit and resilience, daughters Zainul and Shazma have continued to build on this legacy through ZS Holdings, a testament to the family’s dedication to community development and support. This generous donation from the Rajan family, through ZS Holdings, celebrates Afzal’s own journey to Canada and his family’s desire to give back to the community that has supported them. During the next five years, the ZS Holdings 50th Anniversary International Student-Athlete Success Fund will provide scholarships for international student-athletes at RDP, ensuring they have the resources needed to succeed both in their studies and in their respective sports within the Alberta
A student is pulling a 3D printed RDP logo out of a 3D printer while a faculty member watches
Provincial Funding to Expand RDP’s Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing
Expansion of Red Deer Polytechnic’s nationally recognized Technology Access Centre will provide more than 2,400 students direct and indirect innovative learning opportunities by 2030, significantly boosting applied learning and research opportunities. Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) is celebrating a significant capital investment of $13 million by the provincial government to expand RDP’s Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing-Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC). The funding was announced today as part of the Government of Alberta’s 2024 budget. “Red Deer Polytechnic is playing a critical role supporting technological innovation while creating opportunities for students. That’s why Alberta’s Government is making a strategic investment to expand CIM-TAC and give RDP even greater capacity to train apprentices and help sectors across our economy remain competitive,” says the Hon. Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Advanced Education. “We thank the Government of Alberta for the $13 million provided in Budget 2024 to expand our Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing–Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC). This funding will help create new and innovative teaching and learning spaces at Red Deer Polytechnic, while expanding our applied research capacity to support Alberta based companies,” said Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic. “Because of this investment, Alberta based manufacturers across multiple sectors will have greater