About ARFI

The Automotive Retailers Foundation Inc. (ARFI) is a registered charitable foundation in Canada. The mission of the Automotive Retailers Foundation Inc. is to “engage in the receipt of donations and to conduct charitable activities in Canada for the purpose of advancing education and relieving poverty in Canada, specifically with respect to the automotive trades sector”.

Among its other activities, the ARFI provides for bursaries and scholarships to aid students and prospective students in automotive trades training. The bursaries aid low-income individuals enrolled in a post-secondary automotive repair and service training-program. The scholarship(s) recognizes and awards academic achievement.


Bob Clarke

It all began with Bob Clarke. Bob served the ARA for many years. He was tireless in working to build a viable automotive industry in B.C. He was, to many, the one who helped them get a start, the much-needed helping hand in beginning a career.

He saw the potential in people and helped them to achieve that potential. We’ve heard stories of how Bob encouraged and inspired people and helped fund training.

When he left the ARA, the Board created the Bob Clarke Memorial Scholarship in his name. It was the first scholarship offered by the Association and has been awarded annually ever since.

In 2018, two new memorial scholarships were added: Ed Coates (Lordco) and William (Willie) Freeburn (Payless Glass). The gentlemen these two scholarships are named after never forgot where they came from and worked hard to build B.C.’s automotive industry. Many people credit them for getting their first job, training, skills and a career to support themselves and their families. It is not too surprising that even after their passing their names continue the legacies.

And, in 2019, industry support for the ARFI continued to grow, with four new bursaries introduced.

Ed Coates
Willie Freeburn
Scroll to Top