Clarien Donates $150,000 To Local Causes

May 17, 2021 | 12 Comments

[Updated] The Clarien Foundation has donated a total of $150,000 towards a number of local causes, including making donations to charities and launching the Clarien Education Fund, which is “committed to the investment in educational endeavors for Black Bermudians.”

A spokesperson said, “The Clarien Foundation is committed to supporting initiatives and organisations that help improve the lives of Bermudians and its residents and make positive contributions to the island we call home.

“For the last 10 years, the Foundation’s giving strategy has been to focus on youth development, education, the prevention of systemic familial community issues, supporting Bermuda’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and aligning our giving to Clarien’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion [DEI] Programme.

“At a time when a global pandemic has caused critical disruption and the demand for social justice is heard around the world, the Foundation has reaffirmed its commitment by donating a total of $150,000 to help 10 worthy causes. Providing support when our community is most in need and supporting equality initiatives are important to us, and have helped define who we are and how we have chosen to give.

Donation Recipients

“Today, the Clarien Foundation is pleased to announce the following donations:

  • Family Centre – $25,000.00
  • The Reading Clinic – $25,000.00
  • Ignite Bermuda – $25,000.00
  • PALS – $15,000.00
  • Meals on Wheels – $10,000.00
  • Tomorrow’s Voices – $10,000.00
  • WindReach – $7,500.00
  • Young Men’s Social Club – $5,000.00
  • Action on Alzheimer’s & Dementia – $2,500.00

The Clarien Education Fund

“Clarien Bank has also announced the launch of the Clarien Education Fund, which is committed to the investment in educational endeavors for Black Bermudians.

“Beginning this month, Clarien has pledged an annual investment of $25,000 in local private schools for allocation to Black Bermudian students or students of underrepresented communities. Disbursements of $5,000 will be made to the following schools in May of each year for the next four years; each school will determine the recipient:

  • Warwick Academy
  • Bermuda High School for Girls
  • Mount Saint Agnes Academy
  • Saltus Grammar School
  • Somersfield Academy

“Clarien’s Education Fund was formed to align with the Bank’s core purpose, values and DEI programme. The Fund will continue to consider initiatives that directly impact our community by focusing on diversity, improving representation and bridging access to opportunities.

Stacey-Lee Williams, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Somersfield Academy, said: “We at Somersfield are extremely grateful for the opportunity to support Clarien Bank’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative. Somersfield holds DEI at the forefront of how we interact with our students and faculty, and we commend Clarien Bank for providing the opportunity for a Bermudian student at Somersfield to benefit both academically and financially as a result of their outreach and commitment to equity.”

Jane Vickers, Director of Development at Warwick Academy, said the school was “extremely grateful” for the donation to the school’s Bursary Fund. “One of the many strengths of Warwick Academy is the diversity of our student body,” Ms. Vickers said. “The Bursary Fund is the best way to make sure our school family stays together and affords students the opportunity to receive a world class education that prepares them for their next step; whether it is entering the work force or moving on to the best university or college that they are accepted at. Thank you, Clarien Bank, for keeping our family together.”

Linda Parker, Head of School for Bermuda High School for Girls, said the school was pleased to be a recipient of this donation from the Clarien Education Fund, describing it as “a meaningful programme that so closely aligns with our mission and vision of inspiring future leaders of Bermuda”. “We are grateful that Clarien has prioritised support of diversity in education, and look forward to continuing our own Diversity, Inclusion and Equity initiatives with them,” Ms. Parker added.

Denise McAdoo, Director of Advancement at Saltus Grammar School, stated: “We were thrilled to learn of the newly formed Clarien Education Fund and the Bank’s desire to provide financial assistance to students at Saltus. All of us at Saltus are incredibly grateful to Clarien for opening doors to Bermuda’s youth through education and opportunity.”

Susan Moench, the Mount Saint Agnes Academy Principal, said: “MSA is appreciative of this opportunity created by Clarien which will provide Bermudian students with a chance to experience the world class curriculum offered at our school. The opportunity to receive an Alberta High School Diploma through their studies at MSA will offer individuals extensive post-secondary and career opportunities. This diversity initiative will benefit our whole school community, by providing a potentially life altering opportunity for a student who may not otherwise have the opportunity. We commend Clarien for taking the lead on this, at a time when it is vital to address the needs of our community.”

The Power of Community

“Clarien believes in the power of partnering with local organisations to better our community through bi-annual corporate donations to local registered charities, as well as quarterly outreach activities for employees.

Michael DeCouto, Clarien’s EVP, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, concluded: “We have supported many worthy local organisations and causes for over a decade, and we are excited about the launch of the Clarien Education Fund. We believe strongly in the development of Bermuda’s youth through education and mentorship. It is our hope that through this Fund we are able to inspire the future leaders of Bermuda.”

For more information on Clarien, please visit www.clarienbank.com.

Social Justice Bermuda Response

Update 5.30pm: A spokesperson said, “Social Justice Bermuda commends Clarien Bank for its voiced support to invest in educational endeavours for Black Bermudians. However, we fundamentally disagree with Clarien’s approach of funding private school bursaries as the way to do this. The idea that the best way to promote educational endeavours, improve representation and access to opportunity is by funding a select few Black Bermudians to attend traditionally white private schools is rooted in the same racist ideologies that lead to Aboriginal and Native children being removed from their homes and communities in Australia, Canada and the United States to be educated at Anglo schools.

“The vast majority of Black Bermudian students attend public school. If Clarien wants to support Black Bermudian educational endeavours in Bermuda, its $100,000 [$25,000 per year for the next 4 years] would be more effective if invested directly into the public education system, where it could impact far more Black Bermudians, or by addressing root causes of racial inequality in Bermuda generally. Instead of schools receiving $5,000 that will only address a fraction of school fees for a single child, that same $5,000 or any portion of that annual $25,000 commitment could be invested in projects that could impact hundreds of Black Bermudian children in the public school system.

“All this does is help the private schools with their image problem – a legacy of centuries of entrenched racial power. It is not lost on us that all the private schools in question are traditionally white schools, while the primarily Black private schools are conspicuously excluded from this financial support.

“This isn’t about Black education empowerment – it is mere tokenism that does nothing to address the inequality on our island and in our education system.

“Furthering the educational endeavours of Black Bermudians is certainly a worthy cause. However, this isn’t that. We call on Clarien to seriously rethink their approach to addressing this matter and to commit to actually addressing racial inequality in Bermuda rather than subsidizing private schools and engaging in tokenism which excludes the majority of Bermuda’s Black student population.”

Update | Clarien Responds

A Clarien spokesperson said, “Clarien’s Education Fund was designed to meet a need where individuals, specifically black and underrepresented segments of the population, were attending private schools, but could not financially afford to continue their studies at these establishments. It was not our intent to offend, and certainly not to discriminate as has been suggested by some.

“We were remiss in not including Bermuda Institute into the programme and have committed to do so. We accept that this is a sensitive issue and we will be working with various stakeholders and engage in constructive discussion to enhance our community giving programme.”

“Clarien has also engaged the Human Rights Commission to provide guidance and education as we continue to evolve our giving and education initiatives in support of all demographic sectors of our community. The Clarien Foundation gives annually to a broad range of charitable organizations which has a direct impact on the lives of many Bermudians and residents ranging from family services, education, youth development and health.”

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Comments (12)

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  1. Nope this needs a redo says:

    Why do you feel that Black students or underrepresented students need to attend schools that do not represent them or have a history of not accepting them. They will only accept the best from public schools therefore draining what is good of public schools.

    This is not a good move!

  2. What happen to Bermuda Institute says:

    If this is genuinely about private schools, what about Bermuda Institute?

  3. Fers says:

    Ok I understand and appreciate what Clarien is doing but to just support a certain sector when many Bermudians in all races are suffering. I think it is a bit unfair to just support one group of people when there are many kids that could succeed with this donation. This stuff is happening in the us and I see now it has hit our shores.

  4. Fers says:

    To me this is not representing Diversity in any form which is the whole point. To leave out any race is racist and I think you will see that most people are scratching their heads wondering where will they bank now.

  5. J Starling says:

    This is problematic. I’m not sure they really thought through how funding historically white private schools constitutes supporting Black educational endeavors.

    Just seems like a good idea (support Black educational endeavors) done, at best poorly and at worst counter-productively.

    Surely they could have done something to instead support public education or one of the Black private schools?

    • Question says:

      You don’t think black children should be supported then if they want to attend the schools listed? They should be segregated in black schools?
      Nice.

      • Yes says:

        The red birds should not mix with the blue birds else we get the problematic purple birds!!!!!!

    • truthhertz says:

      I didn’t realise there were black and white private schools. I know of one that is primarily black whilst the others are evenly split. They are not funding ‘historically’ white schools, they are funding students.

      And if you have such a problem with it, I suggest you get off your never ending soap box and donate resources to a school of your choosing.

      • Quinton Butterfield says:

        They say ignorance is bliss so you must have such a happy privileged life. All private schools in Bermuda, except Bermuda Institute barred black students from attending until segregation in schools were outlawed in the 70’s. So yes, they were historically white.

        • Ok but it’s no longer like that says:

          Hate much? Give it a break – 40 years is a generation- get over it and stop boring us with your violin song! Enough!!!!!!!

  6. Vote for Me says:

    Well done Clarien??
    Clearly any assistance to help students achieved their educational potential must be applauded. But this seems to invoke the ‘law of unintended consequences’ – well intended but poorly executed?

    A few questions
    If intended to support private schools, why exclude Bermuda institute?
    If intended to support black students, why exclude pubic schools excluded?
    Is their inherent assumption that all white students are fully funded or do they believe Bermuda financial institutions are inherently biased against black Bermudians and thereby limit funding for black students?

  7. Sayitaintso says:

    Couple of thoughts:
    1. How will “blackness” be determined? Will, for instance, a seemingly white student who has only one black great, great grandparent (and the rest of the family is white) be considered “black enough” to be eligible for the scholarship? Or alternatively, should a seemingly black student who has a white parent/grandparent be disqualified because they have some “privileged white” blood?

    2. Is this scholarship that is aimed at assisting black students developed and promoted by the Department of Education or Clarien Bank? Whoever it is, shame on them for supporting this overt discrimination.

    3. Wouldn’t it be more fair and less divisive for the scholarships be open to all Bermudian students, based on need?

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