Susan Sarandon, Dakota Johnson, Robbie Robertson, Yannick and Shantelle Bisson, George Stroumboulopoulos, and more came together for a monumental evening that celebrates and supports the advancement of education in Haiti
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TORONTO, Sept. 8, 2019/PRNewswire/ – The 11thannual Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) Festival Gala, presented by Labatt Breweries of Canada, raises an impressive $1.1 millionfor education in Haiti. This year’s APJ Gala was held at the Windsor Arms Hotelin Torontoand was co-chaired by Natasha Koifmanand Suzanne Boyd.
APJ co-founder Deborah Rennardand Natasha Koifmanopened the gala, taking the stage to express gratitude for supporters and guests, many of whom had been involved with APJ for more than 11 years. The 2019 gala theme, as explained by Rennard, focused on going back to the roots of the organization and looking at all that has been accomplished. The Academy for Peace and Justice has graduated more than 1,000 students since its inaugural year.
“I am incredibly grateful to have been part of the APJ family since day one. We went back to our roots this year, celebrating more than a decade of generous contributions and impactful support for APJ,” said Natasha Koifman, Canadian Board Chair, US Board of Directors and Festival Gala Co-Host. “The sense of purpose and unity in the room this evening was really special. Over the past 11 years, we truly accomplished what we set out to do: we bought our land, we built the Academy for Peace and Justice, and we will continue to provide education to the people of Haiti.”
Highlights from the evening include:
- Canadian filmmaker and activist Norman Jewisonwas honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to him by former Canadian Changemaker Award-recipient David Daniels.
- Shamier Andersonand Stephan Jamespresented Norman Jewison with his very own custom Roots varsity jacket, and spoke to the wonderful impact he has made to the world of global cinema through his iconic films that spark meaningful dialogue and challenge convention, and his unwavering commitment to causes near and dear to his heart.
- Diane BaldandMichael Budmanwere presented with the Canadian Changemaker Award, which celebrates the remarkable philanthropic contributions of some of Canada’smost inspiring individuals. The honour was presented to Diane and Michael with a heartwarming celebratory video created by their children, highlighting their unwavering support of Canadian philanthropic initiatives and charities around the world. The award was presented by Robbie Robertsonand Janet Zuccarini, who spoke highly of the couple and attributed their relationship to an introduction made by Diane and Michael.
- Showcasing the first-hand impact of APJ on the lives of youth in Haiti, Jimmy Jean-LouisintroducedMeloundja, a remarkable young woman who graduated the Academy for Peace and Justice, and now attends university as a full-time student in Montréal. In her remarks, Meloundja shared that she planned to bring her experience back to Haitiand contribute to her hometown and community.
- Danny Mantellaand Rose Mantellacommitted a generous $250Kto the cause and Rose will join the APJ Board of Directors.
- Cesare Fazaripledged an additional $250Ka year for five years to support education for numerous students. Cesare will join the APJ Advisory Board.
- Mandy Rennehancontributed $25Kto APJ’s 14thYear program, which supports high school students at the Academy for Peace and Justice as they transition to their future careers and higher education.
- With a surprise contribution, the Faculty of Music at the University of Torontodonated $25Kto fund a grant program focused specifically on music programs in Haiti.
- The evening opened with a performance by Slaight Music performer Sam Drysdaleand The Feldman Agency’s Tyler Shawtook the stage while guests enjoyed dinner.
- The gala concluded with a memorable performance from Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne, who was a key player in the record-breaking inaugural Montrealgala where Arcade Firewas honoured, and over a quarter of a million dollars was raised to benefit APJand The KANPE Foundation. This year’s Torontogala also generously supported The KANPE Foundation.
APJ’s mission is to encourage peace and social justice, working to alleviate poverty around the world. This simple yet impactful mission, has inspired many celebrities to join the organization, including Ben Stiller, Susan Sarandon, Olivia Wilde, Javier Bardem, Madeleine Stowe, Maxwell, Nicole Kidman, Pierce Brosnan, Jude Law, Penelope Cruzand many more. APJ believes that youth, especially those living in abject poverty, deserve liberty and equality to build a better life for themselves and for their families. By developing partnerships with local leaders in communities in-need, APJ works to create real opportunity with Valuable Education, Meaningful Employment, Inspiring Voices and Ethical Leadership.
Generous sponsors for this year’s gala event include Presenting Sponsor Labatt Breweries of Canada, Official Airline Sponsor Air Canada, Audi, the Windsor Arms Hoteland NKPR. For more information on the organization or to make a donation, please visit http://www.apjnow.orgor follow @artistsforpeace on social.
About Artists for Peace and Justice
Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) is a non-profit organization that encourages peace and social justice and addresses issues of poverty around the world. APJ’s immediate goal is to serve the poorest communities in Haitiwith programs in education, healthcare, and dignity through the arts. The organization is committed to long-term, sustainable development in direct partnership with the Haitian people. The model is simple: APJ believes in empowering local communities, fostering economic growth, and the power of education to change a nation. To learn more, visit www.apjnow.orgor follow @artistsforpeace on Instagram and Twitter.