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26 November, 2019

50th Anniversary – Ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving

For many Bahamians, [the] Lyford Cay Foundations has been and continues to be the place they can turn to “knock and have the door of opportunity opened” to them. As the Foundations came together to celebrate its 50th anniversary with a service of thanksgiving, Catholic Archbishop Patrick Pinder said the Bahamian public was grateful to those people that had the vision to initiate the Foundations and the people whose energy, commitment and sacrifice perpetuate the Foundations and the work they continue to do in and for Bahamians.

“The work of organizations such as [the] Lyford Cay Foundations can and does lead to that admirable aspect of any community – namely, the flourishing of the human spirit,” said Pinder during their recent service at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. “Fifty years of philanthropy in a culture not famous for its philanthropic spirit is a remarkable achievement and an excellent example and a much-needed example. Your example of private commitment to the public good is a standard of leadership and it is pacesetting. Fifty years in a nation not yet itself 50 is a cause for celebration and for giving thanks. Fifty years of philanthropic activity in a culture not particularly known for its philanthropy is simply remarkable.”

To date, over the course of its 50 years, the Foundations which comprise 3,000 donors has seen $80 million donated with $50 million disbursed – $23 million through the Lyford Cay Foundation and $16 million through the Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation – the two organizations which comprise [the] Lyford Cay Foundations.

The Foundations’ programs include FOCUS (Forward, Onward to College, Upward to Success), an out-of-school time enrichment program aimed at college readiness and access for students of demonstrated potential and need – 240 students are supported for eight years of summer and Saturday programming; Cutillas Scholars, college preparation and full scholarships for public school students to attend either the University of The Bahamas (UB) or the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI); Scholarships, partial awards to qualified Bahamian high school graduates for post-secondary study internationally and nationally; and Community Grants, small grants to Bahamian non-profits who are dedicated to the transformative power of life-long learning.

The programs have seen more than 3,000 Bahamian students benefit from post-secondary scholarships to attend international institutions as well as UB.

The archbishop reminded worshippers at the service of the golden rule – do to others whatever you would have them do to you. And of the importance of the work of the Foundations, which he said has a deep and lasting impact not only on the individual, but on a whole network of social relationships of which Foundations recipients are a part.

He singled out the FOCUS program and the Cutillas Scholarship which he said aim to ensure that individuals become the first generation in their family to achieve post-secondary education.

“It is particularly noteworthy that both these programs target students in public schools. The future of our nation passes through our schools. The greatest part of that future passes through our public schools. The quality of information and the range of opportunity afforded students in public schools certainly will make a significant difference in what our citizenry will look like in the future, so we must be thankful for the FOCUS program and the Cutillas Scholarship. But these are not all that the Foundations provide – there are many other scholarships and grants provided by the Lyford Cay Foundations to individuals and organizations certainly stated by deeds more than words that this investment in the lives of Bahamians is making an impact on the development of The Bahamas for generations to come.”

He said the Lyford Cay Foundations are an excellent example of what is referred to in the Catholic social tradition as a voluntary private association; and in their contemporary secular terms, part of civil society.

Basil Goulandris, Lyford Cay Foundation, Inc. chairman, said the Foundations believes that a better Bahamas for all starts with a strategic investment in education. But that they also believe that government despite its leadership, commitment and resources, cannot undertake the responsibility alone. He said that philanthropic investment in education is a crucial component of the long-term development of a prosperous, safe and healthy Bahamas.

“Lyford Cay Foundations is a philanthropic organization. We serve the country, and demonstrate our love for The Bahamas through philanthropy, a word meaning love for mankind. We choose to demonstrate this love by supporting education opportunities for Bahamians who can benefit the most.”

Goulandris said the work of the Foundations over the past 50 years would not have been possible without their board members, donors and partners.

“We are grateful to the nearly 3,000 donors who over 50 years have made a profound difference in the lives of Bahamians. All have played a part in uplifting the lives of the beneficiaries and we know our donors share great pride in what you have achieved. While there is much work to be done – with continued donor support and generosity, we are confident we can accomplish even more over the next 50 years,” he said.

Goulandris said they were fortunate to support some of the best and brightest in the nation as they work to shape The Bahamas in small and large ways for the betterment of all.

Tim Unwin, president, The Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation, reminded people that [the] Lyford Cay Foundations [is] in fact one organization, but two distinct legal entities.

The U.S. Foundation at 50 years old was originally the American Friends of The Bahamas. The Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation was established 10 years after that and they’ve been working together ever since.

“We help with educational opportunities for our most deserving students, and on behalf of all these Foundations, it is a privilege and honor for us to do this,” said Unwin.

While Lyford Cay Foundations is most known for its scholarships, it is also responsible for two other initiatives, including community grants and college access programming.

Community grants was the Foundations’ inaugural program in the early ‘70s. They have supported some 250 community organizations throughout the country. The newest program is in college access.

Both Goulandris and Unwin spoke to the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Dorian on Abaco and Grand Bahama and of the response by the Foundations’ donors. Unwin spoke to the organization’s mobilization of their donor base and response with a combined relief recovery fund that exceeded $2.5 million.

“While tremendously saddened by the events, we are extremely grateful for our donors who stepped up immediately,” said Unwin.

He also noted that they were providing financial assistance grants to students from Grand Bahama and Abaco who are enrolled in colleges and universities internationally and whose family support had been diminished as a result of the hurricane.

“We were anxious that their studies be continued and completed with this assistance,” he said.

The service of thanksgiving was the first of its kind for the foundation.

Written by Shavaughn Moss
The Nassau Guardian
Nassau, Bahamas

13 May, 2019

GAIN AN EDGE: Achieving College Dreams Through Summer Learning

Thanks to StemForce Bahamas, a grant from Lyford Cay Foundations and support from other donors, Bahamian public-school students like Carmetta Barry have developed a passion for learning science while also carving a path to higher education.

Carmetta Barry, pictured above, is a member of the Class of 2019 of FOCUS, a Lyford Cay Foundations’ college access programme. The 2018-2019 Head Girl of C. R. Walker Senior High is also the first Junior Minister for the Environment, who while in grade 11 was selected to participate in StemForce.

How did you learn about the StemForce programme?

When I was in Grade 8 at H.O. Nash Junior High School, a recruiter from StemForce visited and invited students to apply for their summer programme held in the US. I was immediately interested because I love science, geology and the environment.

What were the requirements to apply?

I had to submit an application, my report card and an essay on why I wanted to be involved. I went above and beyond the requirements by including copies of my science certificates and a photo of my trophy case. I was so happy when I learned I was accepted!

Tell us more about your experience in StemForce.

During the programme, we visit various locations and study science topics. We are tested daily and at the end of the summer, there is an overall test. We have to score at least 80 percent to be invited to return the next summer. I have scored an A grade each summer!

I have attended sessions in: Austin, Texas, where we studied rock types; Arizona, where we studied land formations, layers of sedimentary rocks and the development of beaches and sand dunes; and Portland, Oregon, where we studied volcanoes. I got to see an entire lake made of obsidian; it was beautiful because it looked like a huge black glass!

What has being a part of StemForce helped you develop or learn?

I’m shy around new people, but these programmes [FOCUS and StemForce] have helped me develop people skills. I met new people and broadened my horizons, gained knowledge on important scientific issues and narrowed down my career choice.

What advice do you have for students who want to explore science but may be afraid?

Science can be difficult because there is so much information; but if you have a passion for it, work hard, view tutorials on YouTube, and join science programmes at school, you will be just fine.

StemForce Bahamas started in 2015 when Geoforce, an outreach programme of The Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin, partnered with the Bahamas Ministry of Education.

To select just the right students for this tuition-free, four-year summer programme, applicants had to go through a competitive process. Qualifications to be considered for StemForce included being a top performing Grade 9 student with at least a 90 percent average in core classes. Students had to also demonstrate interest by writing an essay outlining how they believed the programme would contribute to their career goals.

The programme ambitiously seeks to help students master complex geology and science concepts, gain exposure to college style learning and experience personal growth. StemForce participants have been testing their own limits each summer in The Bahamas and throughout Texas, Arizona, Utah and Oregon. Every day students independently managed their schedules, waking up on their own, preparing for intense 15-16 hour learning days and setting time to study. Being so far from home taught many to push their own boundaries and discover a new realm of capability.

Advanced principles were introduced daily such as the Law of Superposition, differential erosion, plate tectonics and volcano processes, crossbedding and much, much more. Summers began with a pre-test and each day ended with a test on material covered that day.

Although it’s been challenging work, students have loved learning up close in breathtaking locations that have included famous canyons, national parks and even craters. But most importantly, the students have demonstrated dramatic leaps in knowledge with pre-tests scores on topics averaging 43 percent and post-test scores soaring to an average of 83 percent.

When surveyed by StemForce, all students reported they plan to attend college, cited enjoying team building activities and expressed undeniable excitement about beginning their final StemForce summer.

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14 February, 2019

Creating The Next Generation Of Problem Solvers

Technical and Vocational Education also involves transferable skills through academic study, as the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute explains.

A huge part of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) involves academics that focus on being innovative and solving problems. Simply put: TVET is not solely hands on.

The very nature of TVET integrates Math and Science concepts into the instruction. In fact, Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) are integral in preparing students for TVET, which transfers into 21st century skills. Such skills bolster the country’s human capital, which in turn has the ability to turn economies around.

Some students choose TVET because they expect plenty of hands-on experience. However, before gaining experience in a laboratory or workshop, they must possess basic Math and English skills – transferable skills, no matter the career path.

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7 January, 2019

Succeeding at UB, what does it take?

Le’Andra Mackey’s determination to become a medical doctor, specializing in anesthesiology, remains resolute. That determination is demonstrated by her fervent studies to maintain a 3.5 GPA in her biology and chemistry classes. Just like an anesthesiologist constantly monitoring blood flow, breath and the heartbeat of a patient undergoing surgery, Mackey’s current rhythm of classes, rigorous study and volunteerism keeps her focused and driven.

The eighteen year-old high flyer from Government High School, who is the first in her family to attend university, was awarded a $40,000, four-year scholarship and inducted into the prestigious University of The Bahamas (UB) President’s Scholars Programme (PSP). In her first year, she’s thriving in all aspects of university life, but not without sacrifices. When asked what it takes to succeed in university, she reflected and said, “time management is the key. I create a weekly schedule where I allot time to complete assignments and study which is usually between Mondays and Fridays. I reserve my weekends for community service and volunteer work which I usually do with the Rotaract Club.”

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Press Releases

13 June, 2022

Lyford Cay Foundations pays tribute to late Board member Loretta Anne Rogers

Lyford Cay Foundations was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mrs. Loretta Anne Rogers, Director and former Chairperson of The Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation.  Mrs. Rogers, 83, passed away on Saturday 11th of June 2022 in Toronto, Canada. She was a committed friend of The Bahamas, a long-term member of the Lyford Cay … Read full story Lyford Cay Foundations pays tribute to late Board member Loretta Anne Rogers

10 May, 2022

Lyford Cay Foundations launches LEAP

NASSAU, The Bahamas ­- As a part of our strategy to address learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and school disruptions, Lyford Cay Foundations has launched a new education enrichment initiative for selected public school students in grades one to four. LEAP (Learning Enrichment to Accelerate Progress) is an educational pilot programme that offers … Read full story Lyford Cay Foundations launches LEAP

25 January, 2022

Lyford Cay Foundations announces new graduate and technical scholarships programme

NEW PROVIDENCE, The Bahamas, 25 January 2022 – The Lyford Cay Foundations (LCF) announces the launch of the “Resilience and Excellence Bahamas Education Programme,” a new scholarship initiative focused on graduate and technical studies in Canada. Over a four-year period, the Programme will provide for a total of 10 graduate and 10 technical scholarships to … Read full story Lyford Cay Foundations announces new graduate and technical scholarships programme

20 January, 2022

Lyford Cay Foundations’ FOCUS programme moving ahead swiftly to assist students with learning recovery amid learning disruptions

Lyford Cay Foundations is doing its part to assist in learning recovery in The Bahamas by intensifying one of its signature education programmes, FOCUS, to help meet the needs of students in a challenging COVID-19 environment. For more than 10 years, Lyford Cay Foundations has been engaging young people in the public school system across … Read full story Lyford Cay Foundations’ FOCUS programme moving ahead swiftly to assist students with learning recovery amid learning disruptions

10 September, 2021

Nearly 1/3 of all Lyford Cay Foundations 2021 scholarships go to technical training

The desire to possess job-ready technical skills may have hit a new high with nearly one third of this year’s Lyford Cay Foundation scholarship winners opting to earn a technical degree. The Foundations awarded 26 new scholarships this term to students pursuing a diverse range of studies in Canada and the United States. This year, … Read full story Nearly 1/3 of all Lyford Cay Foundations 2021 scholarships go to technical training

19 July, 2021

Abaco Students Thank Lyford Cay Foundations for Helping Rebuild Central Abaco Primary School

With hand-painted signs held high, students at Central Abaco Primary School welcomed representatives of the Lyford Cay and Canadian Lyford Cay Foundations, thanking them for generous donations that helped rebuild the school destroyed by Hurricane Dorian.  It was a celebration nearly two years in the making.  “We were so touched and moved to see what … Read full story Abaco Students Thank Lyford Cay Foundations for Helping Rebuild Central Abaco Primary School

10 May, 2021

600+ Apply for Lyford Cay Foundations Scholarships

For immediate release on or after May 10, 2021 COVID-19 turned the world upside down, closing schools to in-person learning, shutting down tourism and forcing countries to ramp up healthcare operations. But there is one thing it did not dampen – Bahamian students’ desire to go to college. More than 600 applicants in The Bahamas … Read full story 600+ Apply for Lyford Cay Foundations Scholarships

23 April, 2021

Lyford Cay Foundations to Build Partnerships with Historic Kemp Road Community

For Immediate Release on or after April 23, 2021 With the recent tragedy impacting the Kemp Road community still fresh, Lyford Cay Foundations today met with influential civic leaders and announced plans to form partnerships that will develop and showcase the potential of the historic community’s young people. The initiative to build results-oriented partnerships was … Read full story Lyford Cay Foundations to Build Partnerships with Historic Kemp Road Community

4 March, 2021


For Immediate Release Lyford Cay Foundations is pleased to announce that Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle commenced her tenure as Executive Director on Monday 1st March, 2021.As Executive Director, Dr. Virgill-Rolle will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Foundations, guiding the ongoing partnerships, outreach and programmes and working with the Boards of Directors to further … Read full story NEW LYFORD CAY FOUNDATIONS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR COMMENCES WORK

2 December, 2020

Executive Director Selection

For Immediate Release The Boards of Directors of the Lyford Cay Foundation Inc. (LCF), and the Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation (CLCF) are pleased to announce that Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle will become the next Executive Director for Lyford Cay Foundations. LCF Chairman, Basil P. Goulandris underscored, “Dr. Virgill-Rolle is the quintessential leader for Lyford Cay Foundations. … Read full story Executive Director Selection

1 December, 2020

Honouring 50 years of philanthropy

LYFORD CAY FOUNDATIONS HONOURS 50 YEARS OF PHILANTHROPY IN THE BAHAMAS For Immediate Release 2020 has not provided many opportunities to celebrate. With so much uncertainty and scarcity of good news, this week Lyford Cay Foundations honors the impact of the generosity of its donors over the past five decades. At its core, Lyford Cay … Read full story Honouring 50 years of philanthropy

26 November, 2019

50th Anniversary – Ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving

For many Bahamians, [the] Lyford Cay Foundations has been and continues to be the place they can turn to “knock and have the door of opportunity opened” to them. As the Foundations came together to celebrate its 50th anniversary with a service of thanksgiving, Catholic Archbishop Patrick Pinder said the Bahamian public was grateful to … Read full story 50th Anniversary – Ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving

22 July, 2019


Eight years ago, Carmetta Barry said she happily ran to the FOCUS (Forward and Onward to College, Upward to Success) bus for the first time not knowing what to expect. She recalled experiencing a number of emotions – the most dominant, fright. But as she walked onto that bus, she said, she was welcomed by … Read full story FOCUSED

7 April, 2019

A College education is worth every penny!

By Selvin I. Basden Director of Human Resources & Training, Bahamasair Holdings, Inc. and past recipient of a Lyford Cay Foundations’ scholarship. It feels like only yesterday that I walked across the stage at Lincoln University to collect my college diploma. It was 1996 and I had just completed my lorem ipsum dolor sit. Fusce … Read full story A College education is worth every penny!

14 March, 2019

So who should go to college? Everyone!

When you’re at the top of your high school class and your parents are college graduates, college often seems like the next natural step after graduation. For many of us, education after high school isn’t even a thought. Or, if it is, it’s a dream that’s quickly tossed away once we consider the challenge of … Read full story So who should go to college? Everyone!