SamaritanMag Spotlights Gary Slaight
The Slaight Family Foundation has provided more than $200-million in grants to humanitarian and cultural organizations in Canada and beyond. SamaritanMag's Karen Bliss sat with the Foundation's CEO for a frank discussion about the family's philanthropy and his own unbridled passion in supporting Canada's upcoming tier of musicians and songwriters.
By Karen Bliss
The benevolence demonstrated by Gary Slaight, this year’s Humanitarian Award recipient at the Juno Awards last month, and the Slaight Family Foundation over which he presides, can be summarized by a single word: Incalculable.
And the number of people throughout Canada and other parts of the globe whose lives have been enriched and improved by the Slaight largesse since the Foundation’s launch in 2008? Inestimable.
To date, the Toronto-based charity has committed gifts in the neighbourhood of $200 million to a list of causes and beneficiaries so numerous that it is impossible to list them all within the confines of this article.
What makes this collective munificence from the Slaight Family – Gary and his wife Donna, his mother Ada, his father Allan, his stepmother Emmanuelle Gattuso and his daughters Ali and Chrissy – especially extraordinary is the broad spectrum of sectors earmarked for donation.
There are the hospitals, including a $22 million donation in 2009 to establish the Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital and an additional $50 million pledged over 10 years in 2013 to advance the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s Personalized Cancer Medicine Initiative.
That’s not counting five more gifts of $10 million each to Toronto and General Western Hospital (Slaight Family Centre for Advance MRI), St. Michael’s Hospital (the Slaight Family Emergency Department), the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (The Slaight Centre For Image-Guided Brain Therapy and Repair), the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) (to establish the Slaight Family Centre for Youth in Transition) and Mount Sinai Hospital (the Slaight Family Labour & Delivery Unit).
These are in addition to the legacy of the Standard Broadcasting Radiothons spearheaded by the then-president and CEO, which resulted in $25 million-plus being raised over 22 years for Toronto’s SickKids Hospital, commemorated by the Slaight Family Atrium.
“When you go in there and see all the kids and see all the good that that hospital does, you can’t help but feel good about it,” Slaight remarks.
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