University of Toronto alumnus, 26, establishes inaugural endowment fund for African Studies undergraduates

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Isaac Olowolafe: “I believe that a solid education empowers people to make good decisions in life.” (Photo: Dave Chan)

The African Studies Program at New College offers an annual award for students thanks to a donation by a 26-year-old real estate entrepreneur and graduate of the University of Toronto.

Isaac Olowolafe Jr., who studied economics at U of T Mississauga, sees the award both as an expression of gratitude and an investment.

“One of the mandates of Dream Makers is to give back to the community,” Olowolafe says, referring to his real estate firm. “And what better way to give back than by supporting promising students. I believe that a solid education empowers people to make good decisions in life and affect positive change for their families and community.”

Born in Ibadan, Nigeria, Olowolafe came to Canada at age 4. He grew up in Woodbridge, Ont., where he still lives. He works with his father and role model, Isaac Sr.

Olowolafe has pledged $ 25,000 to establish the endowment fund. This amount is matched by an equivalent grant from the Ontario Trust for Student Support (OTSS), a program of the Ontario government. The value of the annual award is based on investment income from the total endowment of $ 25,000.

The Dream Maker Realty/Olowolafe Family Award will be given by New College to a Canadian student residing in Ontario who demonstrates financial need. Preference will be given to students pursuing a major or specialist program in African Studies.

“This is the largest endowment fund supporting students in the African Studies Program at the university,” said program director Thomas Kwasi Tieku. “Having someone so young support us is very encouraging. Isaac’s commitment also signifies the value he places on access to education.”

Dream Maker Realty is a Toronto brokerage specializing in services for first-time buyers and investors, including international students.

Published Summer 2010