John MacBain

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John H. McCall MacBain, OC (born c. 1958) is a Canadian businessman and philanthropist who is the founder of the McCall MacBain Foundation and Pamoja Capital SA, its investment arm.[1][2] Prior to establishing the McCall MacBain Foundation, he founded Trader Classified Media.


McCall MacBain is a Rhodes Scholar and received an MBA from Harvard Business School (1984),[3] an MA in Law from Oxford University[3] and an Honours BA in Economics from McGill University (1980)[3]. He holds honorary degrees from Dalhousie University[4], the University of Ottawa [5], Brock University [6], McGill University [7] and Monash University.[8]

He served as president of the Students' Society of McGill University, as well as valedictorian. While at Oxford, he was co-captain of the university's ice hockey team.[9]


From 1987 to 2006, McCall MacBain was the founder, president and CEO of Trader Classified Media, the world's leading classified advertising company.[3] Starting with his purchase of three small publications in Montreal in 1987, when he was 29 years old, he developed the classified business to include 500 print titles and 57 internet sites in over 20 countries, including in Argentina, Australia, China, France, Hungary, Italy, Russia and Spain.[10]

After its IPO in 2000, Trader Classified Media was publicly traded on NASDAQ and the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange.[11] In 2006, McCall MacBain sold the company and set up the McCall MacBain Foundation.[1]

Prior to founding Trader Classified Media, he worked from 1984 to 1987 as director of marketing at Power Corporation.


Since its formation in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2007, the McCall MacBain Foundation has made tens of millions of dollars of grants to fund projects relating to education and scholarships, health and climate change, and the environment. In addition to his role as a director and chair of the foundation, McCall MacBain is the Founding Chair of the European Climate Foundation,[12] Chair of the McGill University Principal's International Advisory Board, a member of the Advisory Board for the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy[13] and a Foundation Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford.[14] Additionally, he is a director of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation in Cape Town.[15]

McCall MacBain, a Canadian Rhodes Scholar (Quebec and Wadham, 1980), donated $120 million to the Rhodes Trust in order to help fund the scholarships and to aid in the expansion of the program to Brazil, China, Japan and Russia. He made that gift in September 2013, during the Rhodes 110th anniversary celebrations.[16][17] He was named Second Century Founder of the Rhodes Scholarships in honour of that significant gift.[18] McCall MacBain was honoured in 2014 as a Fellow of the Chancellor's Court of Benefactors at Oxford University, at Rhodes House, where his portrait hangs and a room bears his name.[19] The McCall MacBain Graduate Centre at Wadham College, Oxford, was endowed by him.[20]

McCall MacBain has also donated more than $1.2 million to fund McCall MacBain Loran Scholars through the Loran Scholars Foundation.[21]

On June 30, 2016, McCall MacBain was named an Officer of the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston for "his achievements as a business leader and for his contributions to academic institutions as a philanthropist." [22]

On February 13, 2019, John and Marcy McCall MacBain donated $200 million, the single-largest gift to a Canadian university, to McGill University for a graduate scholarship program.[23]


  1. ^ a b "McCall MacBain Foundation: About". Archived from the original on 2012-06-24. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  2. ^ "Pamoja Capital: About". Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  3. ^ a b c d "Small ads, big news - Telegraph". London: 2005-06-05. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  4. ^ "October 2010 Honorary Degree Recipient". Dalhousie University. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Our Spring 2018 Honorary Doctorate recipients". University of Ottawa. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Brock will honour John McCall MacBain at Fall Convocation". Brock University. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  7. ^ "14 individuals to receive honorary degree from McGill". McGill University. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Honorary doctorates conferred upon international philanthropists John McCall MacBain and Marcy McCall MacBain". Monash University. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  9. ^ "A to Z Encyclopaedia of Ice Hockey". Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  10. ^ "John MacBain - The Classified Ad King". Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  11. ^ "History of Trader Classified Media". Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  12. ^ "ECF Founding Chair". European Climate Foundation. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy". Yale University. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Wadham Foundation Fellow receives University's highest award". Wadham College, University of Oxford}accessdate=7 December 2018.
  15. ^ "Mandela Rhodes Foundation Trustees". Mandela Rhodes Foundation. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Rhodes Scholarship gets donation of $120 million". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  17. ^ "Giving it up for Cecil". The Economist. 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  18. ^ "Second Century Founder - The Rhodes Scholarships". 2013-09-19. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  19. ^ "Two Rhodes Scholars honoured at the Chancellor's Court of Benefactors - The Rhodes Scholarships". 2014-10-10. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  20. ^ "Record breaking donation by Wadham alumnus secures a bright future for Rhodes scholars". 2013-09-19. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  21. ^ "John and Marcy McCall MacBain - Loran Scholars Foundation". Loran Scholars Foundation - Fondation Boursiers Loran. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  22. ^ Globe and Mail Staff (June 30, 2016). "Canada's Honour Roll". Globe and Mail.
  23. ^ Sarah Leavitt (February 13, 2019). "McGill University receives $200M donation for graduate scholarships". CBC News.