The Krembil Foundation’s generous support has strengthened U of T’s innovative work on freshwater pollution and healthy communities, and enabled key medical research on major brain disorders.
Founded in 2000 by Robert Krembil, the Krembil Foundation was initially interested in supporting novel health research with a primary focus on neuroscience, as this was an underfunded area of study. They expanded their granting to fund other areas of interest that seemed promising, then narrowed their focus to two main funding pillars: neurodegeneration, and autoimmune and arthritic diseases. This change reflected the foundation’s strategic funding plan, but they maintain some nursing and community outreach projects.
Investment analyst Robert Krembil co-founded Trimark Financial Corporation in 1981. Well known on Bay Street for his stock market acumen and client-first approach, as chair and CEO he led Trimark to become one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies in the 1990s. In 2008, he was a partner in the founding of EdgePoint Wealth, another highly successful financial firm. In 2005, he received the Order of Canada.
Mark Krembil (BA 1988 UTSC) has been the CEO and President of the Krembil Foundation since 2001. He serves on the boards of Brain Canada and biotech startups such as NoNO Inc., a U of T biotherapeutics company. He also previously served on the boards of organizations such as the University Health Network Foundation, the Earth Rangers Foundation, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and on U of T’s Governing Council.
At U of T, the Krembil Foundation has supported environmental science, student space and neurodegenerative disease research. A gift of $1.6 million to U of T Scarborough supported groundbreaking imaging technology to research environmental degradation in aquatic ecosystems. This gift helped purchase a tandem mass spectrometer to measure the metabolisms of tiny freshwater fleas, which are incredibly sensitive to small changes in water quality. The technique, called metabolomics, will help provide speedy and early warning of pollution issues in Canada’s millions of lakes.
In 2016, a further gift of $1 million permitted U of T Scarborough to build the Krembil Student Commons in Highland Hall. The innovative community space features both quiet and collaborative study areas, as well as facilities for students to participate directly in the University’s vital research on suburbs, migration and globalization.
The Krembil Foundation is a significant benefactor of the Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, supporting UofT researchers and their efforts toward further understanding of the brain. Notably, in 2019, the Krembil Foundation established the Krembil Family Chair in Alzheimer’s Research at the University of Toronto with a generous $2-million donation. This gift enabled the Temerty Faculty of Medicine to hire the world-renowned neuroscientist Graham Collingridge as the inaugural chair, and as Director of the University’s Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Collingridge’s work in synaptic plasticity is providing key insights into how major brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and fragile X syndrome develop. The visionary Krembil gift not only added to the high level of talent collaborating in Toronto, but also enabled Collingridge to attract further funding investments in this key area, driving discovery.
The Krembil Foundation’s incredible impact has positioned the University to both support students and to make key scientific discoveries offering hope to millions.