United Way: Youth, Community & Art

We have a long and proud relationship with United Way Greater Toronto, donating over a $1,000,000.00. Some of our contributions are directed to specific programs and services such as the 519 Church Street Community Centre, Toronto Rent Bank and The Remix Project which provides at-risk youth access to innovative, impactful arts programming to build their talents in the arts and create meaningful careers for themselves. Through this support, 118 young people have built their talents in the arts and created meaningful lives and careers for themselves.

The 519 Church Community Centre 
The 519 Church Community Centre was able to conduct the Community-Led Programs Review. The purpose of the project was to better understand and integrate staff-led and community-led initiatives and find effective ways to provide more support to the community groups that operate out of The 519. That three-year review ensured a broad spectrum of responsive, expandable and flexible programming to LGBTQ+ communities, and to the greater Church–Wellesley neighbourhood. The review process provided better connection among the many community groups and programs operating out of the Centre, allowing for more robust service delivery and community-building opportunities.

Creative Arts Stream
The support of the K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation was critical to the success of the Creative Arts Stream. Since 2006, due to popularity, the stream has grown into two additional streams: the Art of Photography and the City Life Film Program. Graduates of the Creative Arts Stream had also gained valuable work experience by participating in Remix’s social enterprise projects.

The Remix Project
Our support enabled Remix to increase the number of participants of the Creative Arts Stream from 20 in 2006 to 50 youth in 2011. In 2012, 20 youth worked within the general Creative Arts stream, 10 youth participated in the City Life Film Project and 20 youth studied within the Arts of Photography program. The Creative ArtsStream’s focus was creative writing, journalism, graphic design, and fine art. By offering a range of training sessions and workshops led by well-known artists and Remix’s program leaders, as well as encouraging important industry networking, the stream was able to offer educational and professional experiences in a real-world setting. Graduates have gone on to do everything from graphic design for rap artist Drake to curating gallery shows to designing for well-known clothing label French Connection and Canadian singer and songwriter Jessie Reyez also participated in the project four years ago and today is touring the USA with her show.

Because Women Need Us

We look for ways to help support girls, woman, artists, grassroots organizations such as shelters and places that empower girls and women such as Aura International and Crossroads.

Aura International seeks to empower, support and educate women and girls worldwide. Through grassroots programs and sustainable projects with like-minded organizations, they work to advance the human rights of women and girls in both the developed and developing world and promote gender equality.

Crossroads International works to create a more equitable and sustainable world by engaging and strengthening individuals, organizations and communities through mutual learning, solidarity and collective action with a vision to where poverty is eliminated, equality prevails and the rights of women and girls are fulfilled.

For more on who we support, please visit our website.

Photo: Crossroads International


Hari Krishnan: Life, longing, loneliness, lust, love, laughter, lies, loss… life.

inDANCE’s double-bill premiere “16 shades of RED”—chapters 1 and 2, at the Mondavi Center (UC Davis, California) on May 12 and 13, 2018.

16 shades of RED features courtesan- inspired-dance from South India, showcasing original repertoire rarely experienced on contemporary world stages. Dancing in a series of solos and duets, Srividya Natarajan and I had the time of our lives accompanied by musicians Davesh Soneji, Vidya Sankaranarayanan, Vaaraki Wijayaraj, Kajan Pararasasegaram and Mithuran Manogaran, with lighting design by Jack Carr, costume & set design by Rex, stage managed by Tara Mohan and produced by Shana Hillman.

“These are extraordinary artists and their two performances at the Mondavi Center were transcendent. But even beyond their finesse, their artistry, the elegance and verve of their dancing is a deep-seated ethic, a commitment to challenge notions of caste, class and gender with and through dance. And to never let us forget the gifts that hereditary communities have given them. It is a testament to their artistry and to the human beings they are that some of the most marginalized, disenfranchised and stigmatized women in the world trusted them with their most precious treasures, and in turn they shared them with us with such sensitivity and care. It was a privilege to watch them perform these past two days: moved, humbled, honoured. I hope we can have you all back in Davis soon.” -Dr. Archana Venkatesan, UC Davis

Interview With Allison Cameron, Music Award Winner

Allison Cameron won this year’s K.M. Hunter Foundation Artist Award for music. Talented, inspiring and creative beyond measure, we are so thrilled to support their work. We caught up with Allison to ask about the awards and plans for the immediate future.

KMHF: What’s the most exciting part about winning this award?
Allison: For me it was seeing and meeting the other artists who won the award in each category. I found it so inspiring to see and hear what my contemporaries are doing and making in other art forms. I’m hoping to make some future collaborations and connections. It is a wonderful thing that the Hunter Awards bring together all of these contemporary arts practitioners.

KMHF: How do you anticipate this award will help you as an artist?
Allison: I’m probably stating the obvious by saying that all help financially to an artist is a big boost! But specifically, I was very inspired by the artists who won in other categories and hope that I can use some of the funds to help start a new collaborative project with another discipline.

In The Works
Allison is in the midst of work for a mini-festival of their music that will that place over two evenings (November 23rd-24th, 2018). Thia collaboration with the improve group c_RL and the Arraymusic ensemble is being created by artistic director Martin Arnold and promises to be another first of its kind for Allison.

K.M. Hunter Foundation Artist Awards

Laurie Brown is one of our jurors for the artist awards and she explains why she loves doing it. Join us at the 2018 awards ceremony and meet the artists, the jury and help us celebrate another year of incredible creations!

Monday, June 4 at 6:30 PM
Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen St West
Toronto, Ontario
M6J 1J6

Watch previous year’s winners here.

2018 K.M. Hunter Artist Awards Winners Announced

The winners of the 2018 K.M. Hunter Artist Awards were announced today.  The six winners will be honoured by the K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation at an event at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto in June.

A prize of $8,000 was awarded in each of six arts disciplines to:

Dance                                  Christine Friday, Ottawa              

Theatre                               Matthew Heiti, Sudbury

Literature                           Shane Book, Ottawa

Media Arts                         Luo Li, Dundas

Music                                  Allison Cameron, Toronto

Visual Arts                          Cree Stevens, Thunder Bay

The annual awards are given to Ontario residents to support mid-career, professional artists who have a reasonable body of work, a fair degree of public exposure, have made an impact in their chosen field and demonstrate an original artistic voice within their artistic tradition.  The awards are a means of encouraging their craft and propelling them to the next level.

“We are very impressed at the caliber of artists our awards attract and wish all the winners this year great success in the pursuit of their work,” says Sarah Hunter, President, K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation.  “We also would like to thank Dave Carley, Damiano Pietropaolo, and Bernard Leroux in helping chair our juries this year.  We welcome this year’s winners into the growing family of artists who have received the K.M. Hunter Artist Awards.”

Since the awards were created in 1995, 139 artists have received awards totaling $940,500.

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) Awards Office administers the nomination process for the K.M. Hunter Artist Awards.  OAC juries nominate candidates from OAC project grant programs that accept applications from professional artists in each of the Award categories.  The K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation convenes six juries to select the winners of the awards.  The awards are financed by a gift from the K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation to the Ontario Arts Foundation.

Social Grants

Social issues matter to us. We give an ongoing grant to the Sick Kids Foundation for medical research connected to autism and we have two large annual grants that go to the United Way and the Salvation Army. We also provide smaller grants which go to shelters, food banks, and social service programs for youth.

K.M. Hunter Foundation Awards: Imagination, Originality and Determination

We are preparing for this year’s K.M. Hunter Foundation Awards and our judges have their work cut out for them! With so many creative people, we can’t wait to celebrate some of them with you. Details coming soon.

Every year we award a grant of $8000.00 to six individual artists in the areas of Visual Art, Dance, Theatre, Literature, Film & Video and Music. Recipients are recommended for this award by the Ontario Arts Council juries who put names forward from their own individual juries. You can not apply for this grant except through applying to the Ontario Arts Council. They provide short lists of candidates put forward by their jurors from the applicants for their various programs. It is not possible to apply directly for these awards.

The arts awards were created in 1995 but the program only achieved its present definition in 2000. The awards are made to individual emerging artists who have completed their training, begun to produce a body of work, and are starting to make a significant mark in their field. It is intended that the awards be given to people who have demonstrated both talent and the potential for further development.

Imagination, originality and the determination to achieve are taken into consideration. The concern is not so much to pick future stars as to reward and encourage people who we believe will go on to do interesting work.


Supporting The Environment

Within our Environmental portfolio, we support three areas: Protection of wildlife species, Stewardship of land, and Organizations that fight to change the laws so that environmental areas can be protected. All organizations must be based in Ontario.

The video above is of releasing baby turtles at Rondeau park. This project supports the preservation of Fresh Water Turtles through Wildlife Preservation Canada

Did You Know?

Every year we award a grant of $8000.00 to six individual artists in the areas of Visual Art, Dance, Theatre, Literature, Film and Video, and Music. Recipients are recommended for this award by the Ontario Arts Council juries who put names forward from their own individual juries. You can not apply for this grant except through applying to the Ontario Arts Council. 

Imagination, originality and the determination to achieve are taken into consideration. The concern is not so much to pick future stars as to reward and encourage people who we believe will go on to do interesting work.

Check out last year’s recipients, here.


Young Hunting: Martin Hunter’s First Memoir

YOUNG HUNTING: An actress visits a bishop she knew in her college years and gives him the kiss he didn’t have the nerve to ask for fifty years ago; a retired diplomat encounters a female colleague he served with years ago in Cambodia and learns an unsuspected secret; an aspiring skater is taken up by a former Canadian champion and has to decide what price he is prepared to pay for his assistance; a terrified young native boy agrees to take on at the last moment the leading role in a musical he has written at his high school; a drama critic ponders his involvement with student actors; an embittered old woman discovers a grandson she didn’t know existed; two well-known actors find themselves playing opposite each other in a Shakespeare comedy and wonder whether it will rekindle their old romance; two middle-aged art historians meet in Hong Kong and consider the possibility of a mariage blanc; a successful female academic is confronted by the daughter she abandoned in infancy. These are some of the situations Martin Hunter explores in this collection of short stories whose dates cover a period of fifty years and a variety of settings around the globe. A few famous characters make brief cameo appearances: Federico Fellini, Martha Graham, Anthony Perkins. Hunter’s characters are mostly artists trying to work their way through the tensions posed by the conflicts between their professional and emotional lives. Their situations are often comic as they struggle to make choices for themselves and those they care about. Get it here.


“Thinking about the pot as a metaphor for the psyche or the body, the eternal space. The material clay is about time and that’s partly why I became interested in it…” –Maura Doyle, 2017 K.M. Hunter Awards recipient, Visual Art

Help SickKids Get Better

The corner stone of SickKids is the community and now, more than ever, they need us!

The invention of Pablum. The first successful separation of conjoined twins. The first kidney transplant from a living donor. Discovering the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis. Their long record of research breakthroughs is proof of their fight against childhood illness and disease.   

As a longtime financial supporter of SickKids, the K. M. Hunter Foundation is proud to play our role in creating strong and healthy communities, beginning with the kids. Please support their work.

Bright Particular Stars: Canadian Performers

For over fifty years, Martin Hunter’s passion for theatre and the performing arts has influenced generations of Canadian talent. Bright Particular Stars offers his comprehensive and fully illustrated history of over thirty of the greatest Canadian performers from stage and screen. From music, there are wide-ranging and insightful chapters on Leonard Cohen, Buffy Saint-Marie and Joni Mitchell. From the theatre stage, sections include Colm Fiore, Christopher Plummer and William Hutt. From film and television, come astute chapters on Sarah Polly, Robert LePage and many more. Lavishly illustrated with over 250 images, Bright Particular Stars is a definitive overview of the best Canadian stage and screen performers from the last fifty years. Available through Amazon.

Tribal Crackling Wind

Peter Chin, Artistic Director of Tribal Crackling Wind and early K.M. Hunter Awards winner:

“I often say humorously that “dance can save the world”, but I actually believe this – working with dancers always moves me by their willingness and ability to embody ideas that are beyond words and spoken language. I have learned a lot about empathy and bridging difference led by the integrating qualities of the dancing body/mind/heart. Also, it is through dance that the dancing shaman unites the worlds of the seen and unseen. These abiding sentiments form the base-line of all my works. It is my vocation and my happiness to follow them.”

Tribal Crackling Wind is a distinctive creative force, bringing riveting ritual-based events to acclaim in its native Canada and internationally at prestigious festivals and venues. The company’s repertoire has been shaped by the multi-faceted creativity of Peter Chin’s leadership. To donate

Giving Tuesday: Charity Begins At Home

On Giving Tuesday there are so many worthy causes give to. At the K.M. Hunter Foundation we believe that charity begins at home, right here in Ontario.

Local charities, doing local or international work, depend on our support to do their good works. Think global, donate local.

Wildlife Preservation Canada

The K.M. Hunter Foundation is grateful for the work of Wildlife Preservation Canada, saving animal species at risk from extinction. They specialize in science-based techniques such as conservation breeding and release, reintroduction and translocation. As the only organization in Canada to provide this critical service, they do so for multiple species in multiple recovery efforts across the country. They work in collaboration with appointed recovery teams, federal and provincial ministries and parks, habitat-oriented charities and land trusts, zoos, universities, colleges and local grassroots volunteer groups. 

“The wetlands along Lake Erie’s shoreline hold some of Canada’s most threatened species, and without the support of the K.M. Hunter Foundation, many of the endangered turtle species would continue to decline at drastic rates, possibly to the point of no return. Since funding began for the turtle headstarting program, we’ve continued to break annual records for the amount of turtle hatchings that we’ve saved from predation and other environmental threats. For turtle species that take 15-20 years to reach sexual maturity, this type of jump-start at rebuilding the wild population will have a lasting impact for decades to come.” –Sarah Matheson, Wildlife Preservation Canada.

To make a direct donation to their work or find out more, click here.

Did You Know?

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) Awards Office administers the nomination process for the K. M. Hunter Artist Awards. OAC juries nominate candidates from OAC project grant programs that accept applications from professional artists in each of the Award categories. The K. M. Hunter Charitable Foundation convenes six juries to select the winners of the awards.

The Future of Affordable Housing

Toronto’s YWCA recently held a conference on the Future of Affordable Housing featuring Etaine Cain, Margie Carlson, Sean Gadon & Tim Hackburn. Thank you for such a meaningful discussion! The K.M. Hunter Foundation continues to be a proud supporter of Winona’s place at the YWCA, providing safe housing for Aboriginal women.


“It feels amazing but it’s really scary because in this line of work if you take a break for twenty minutes you’re not going to have a career to come back to.” –Jaron Freeman-Fox, 2017 K.M. Hunter Awards recipient, Music



Casey House

The official opening of the new Casey House on Jarvis Street. An amazing building opening that attracted big names like John Tory, Kathleen Wynne and Rick Mercer!

Since the 90’s, the K. M. Hunter Foundation has been a financial supporter of their work. Casey House has a special place in our hearts because it was one of the first places where people dealing with HIV aids were treated with dignity, compassion and without judgement at a time when fear and lack of public awareness created a very challenging environment for those that were dealing with the unfolding of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the during the early 80’s.

Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools

Evalyn Parry has previously been a K. M. Hunter Foundation award recipient (2013) and returns to the stage in their newest offering is Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools.

A concert and a conversation, Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools is the meeting place of two people, and the North and South of our country. Inuk artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and queer theatre-maker Evalyn Parry met on an Arctic expedition from Iqaluit to Greenland. Now sharing a stage, these two powerful storytellers map new territory together in a work that gives voice and body to the histories, culture, and climate we’ve inherited, and asks how we reckon with these sharp tools.

Photo of Evalyn Parry + Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory by Elysha Poirier _ design by Lucinda Wallace

Kiinalik:These Sharp Tools
On now until November 5, 2017
Buddies In Bad Times Theatre
+ Theatre Passes Muraille

Who is K.M. Hunter?

Kenneth Martin Hunter was born in 1903 on a farm near the village of Cardinal in eastern Ontario. He came to Toronto at the age of eighteen and after qualifying as a chartered accountant went to work as secretary-treasurer of the Buntin Reid Paper Company, one of the larger paper merchants in the country. He subsequently became President and chief shareholder of the company where he remained until he retired at the age of 70.


“At the end of the day you are creating something memorable for the audience that is witnessing what you are doing. Therefore I think you should challenge the audience and find something that can connect into the work.” –Apologia Velasquez, 2017 K.M. Hunter Awards recipient, Dance


“Often the sign is that I get goose-bumps and it doesn’t get out of my head for days and days. It becomes a physical need to tell the story.” –Elizabeth Lazebnik, 2017 K.M. Hunter Awards recipient, Media Arts 

Crossroads International

The K. M. Hunter Foundation is proud to support the work of Crossroads International (www.cintl.org) who support women who have experienced violence and rape as well as helping impoverished women to establish income-generating activities to support their families. As women develop skills and confidence they are increasingly raising their voices to demand equal rights. 

Current research shows that of the 26 per cent of Swazi adults infected with HIV/AIDS, 60 per cent are women. There is a critical link between excessively high levels of HIV/AIDS infection among women and gender based violence, lack of awareness of women’s rights, and inadequate support services for survivors of violence. Girls’ empowerment clubs respond to these harsh realities by providing a safe space where girls meet on a weekly basis to participate in discussions and activities guided by teachers and mentors focused on human rights, identifying and reporting abuse, and developing awareness of HIV/AIDS and its transmission. Empowerment clubs are a place where girls can speak their minds and develop the courage and determination necessary to build a brighter future for themselves and their communities. In short, girls who attend empowerment clubs know that they have the power to change their world. 

Grandmothers to Grandmothers

The AIDS epidemic has left millions of children orphaned by AIDS. Without hesitation or complaint, Africa’s grandmothers have stepped in to care for them. In fact, in many countries throughout southern Africa, it is estimated that between 40-60% of orphans live in grandmother-headed households. After burying their own adult children, they take on the responsibility of caring for their grieving grandchildren, often with little to no support and while coping with their own deteriorating health.

Yet through all this, African grandmothers have risen to become the linchpin of survival for their families and communities: they have become activists and advocates pushing for theirs and their grandchildren’s rights and protection; they are becoming small business owners in order to earn a living for their families.

Grandmothers are now recognized as community experts and agents of change by governments and international aid agencies. They nurture, feed and put their grandchildren into school. They work to educate their grandchildren about HIV prevention care and treatment, tend to the sick in their communities, help the recently bereaved, set up support groups, harvest the crops, and advocate for women’s rights.
The K.M. Hunter Foundation is proud to continue our support for the Stephen Lewis Foundation and their Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign. To learn more about the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign, click here.

Rainbow Railroad: We’re On Board!


Rainbow Railroad focuses on assisting LGBT people who have faced physical violence or face an imminent threat of violence, imprisonment, or death. They receives hundreds of requests for help every year from countries where LGBT individuals are open targets of violence. At any given time, Rainbow Railroad is working on 30-50 open cases, confirming their details, putting them in touch with local resources and helping them identify safe routes for escape. As the situation worsens in many parts of the world, these numbers continue to grow. 
They have been successful in helping individuals from the Caribbean, Africaa, Middle East and Chechnya where they have local networks to support and validate cases. Sarah Hunter who oversees the K.M. Hunter Foundation) notes, “Their original appeal was to fund one person to safety at a cost of $5,000 and in an unprecedented move our board of directors unanimously voted to support their work that year. This year our contribution went towards helping relocate an LGBT Chechnyan.”
K.M. Hunter Foundation has been a supporter of Rainbow Railroad for the past three years for a total of $15,000. Last year, the Foundation donated over $370,000 in grants to community-based projects. If you can make a donation to Rainbow Railroad, please do.