TAC Foundation 2016 Spring Update

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

At the 2016 TAC Spring Meetings, the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Foundation Board met to review existing priorities, and to strategize on new programs and initiatives.

Seeking New Supporters

The TAC Foundation continues to seek new supporters while maintaining its current donor base. Since the Foundation was established in 2003, $2.7 million has been committed to its programs and $2.25 million has been received. 

New donors secured in 2016 to date are:

  • ColasCanada with a three-year commitment of $16,500; two $2,500 community college/cegep named scholarships per year for the three years
  • Transoft Solutions with a five-year commitment of $15,000; $3,000 per year in support of the general programs of the TAC Foundation
  • WSP with a five-year commitment of $27,500; $5,500 per year to support a named scholarship

2016 Scholarships

Since the TAC Foundation began awarding scholarships in 2005, a total of 400 scholarships valuing $1,641,500 have been provided at the graduate, undergraduate (university and college) and entrance level in transportation-related disciplines. The Foundation anticipates awarding approximately 35-40 scholarships valued at about $150,000 this year. A total of 118 scholarship applications are ready for review, and scholarship recipients will be announced in July/August.   

TAC and Esch Foundation Leveraged Scholarships

New programs being delivered in partnership with the Esch Foundation to McMaster University and University of Windsor were launched in 2015. The McMaster program offers five (5) scholarships worth $15,000 each annually to graduate students focused on transportation engineering. The TAC / Esch Foundations contribute $2,500 of seed funding to each award, while the balance is paid for by McMaster’s School of Graduate Studies and the Government of Ontario’s Graduate Scholarship Program. The University of Windsor program awards five (5) annual scholarships of $5,000 each, targeted to undergraduates. Half of these funds are provided by the TAC and Esch Foundations, while the remaining half is contributed by the University of Windsor. Recipients of both awards are selected by the respective universities. 

New Student Activities Fund and Policy Approved

A new fund and related policy encouraging students to engage in activities to learn more about transportation-related disciplines has been approved by the TAC Foundation Board. $10,000 has been allocated in 2016 to the Student Activities Fund. The new approved policy details who can apply, the type of activities supported, and the eligibility requirements and application guidelines.

Online forms to help students or student groups apply to the new Student Activities Fund are being developed and will be available soon.

The TAC Foundation Board is optimistic that the Student Activities Fund will help the Foundation broaden its level of awareness and influence among college and university students, and promote transportation as an attractive career choice. 

Working with Young Professionals

One of the priorities emerging from an April 2015 planning session was to identify up and coming professionals and/or past scholarship winners to become involved with the Foundation. As a result three new Directors were elected to the Foundation’s Board in April 2016: Vimy Henderson (Golder Associates); Ryan Essex (The Miller Group); and Jim Weir (Morrison Hershfield).

At the Foundation’s 2016 strategic planning session, a key topic discussed was how to identify and define the increasingly diverse set of skills that will be needed by transportation professionals in the future. Participants also agreed that as our transportation or mobility challenges become more and more complex, that these problems will be solved by teams of both transportation and other types of professionals working in an integrated fashion. The Foundation will seek the input of TAC’s Education and Human Resources Development Council on how to adapt its operations and programs to prepare for these future challenges. 

The Foundation Board and its committees will meet at the upcoming TAC Fall Meetings, held in conjunction with the 2016 TAC Conference & Exhibition in Toronto, September 22-26.