VENUS FEST: Helping Women & Non-Binary Artists Be More Visible

During Toronto’s Fringe Festival in July, Venus Fest acted as a musical curator for Fringe’s Postscript Patio happening at Dundas and Bathurst and the K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation is a proud supporter of this exciting and meaningful project.

For the second year in a row, Venus Fest curated a mini music festival featuring a lineup of all women and non-binary artists and offering free, accessible, outdoor programming for Fringe-goers, music lovers, and Toronto residents right in the heart of downtown. The lineup included performances by No Joy, Nuela Charles, Moscow Apartment, New Chance, Maylee Todd, and many more, and was designed to create a showcasing platform for established and developing women and non-binary artists to support their visibility within the city.

Photo above of Camille Jodoin-Eng and Charlotte Cardin at The Opera House.
More info? 

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Perceptions are everything.

Perceptions are everything, but they are not always accurate. See, hear and become aware of the truth through this selection of inspiring, confronting and confusing stories that reflect the community, their friends and their foes… which are sometimes themselves.

Sponsored by the K.M. Hunter Foundation and TD Financial, Presented by imagineNATIVE, Perceptions is a curated selection of short films by imagineNATIVE, the world’s largest presenter of Indigenous screen content. They are recognized locally, nationally, and internationally for excellence and innovation in programming and as the global centre for Indigenous media arts.

As an Indigenous-run organization imagineNATIVE has won the highly competitive and prestigious Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (Ontario) in 2018. Committed to public education, they strive towards dispelling stereotypical notions of Indigenous peoples through diverse media presentations. They also conduct professional development workshops and panels, public education initiatives, research projects, and curriculum/educators’ packages for secondary schools created from Indigenous pedagogies.

Presented by imagineNATIVE
Friday, October 25, 2019 | 10:30am
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 3

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Dance Hall of Fame Recognizes 2019 Inductees

On March 24th, Dance Collection Danse presented the 2019 Dance Hall of Fame inductees. Joining them at the Globe and Mail Event Centre was Sarah Hunter of the K. M. Hunter Charitable Foundation who raised a glass to honour these groundbreaking visionaries.

“Supporting events like this is at the core of our Foundations work. It’s more than providing financial support, it’s an opportunity to connect into, and build our community through recognition” says Sarah of the event.

Sarah Hunter at the 2019 Dance Hall of Fame awards show at the G&M Event Centre.

Hosted by singer/songwriter Micah Barnes, the gala honoured the dynamic lifelong contributions to dance in Canada by some remarkable individuals. Honorees are associated with many dance disciplines, from bharatanatyam to ballet to contemporary. 

Past recipients have included notables such as Karen Kain; Patricia Beatty; David Earle; Peter Randazzo; Françoise Sullivan; Louise Lecavalier; Chief Kenneth Harris and Elder Margaret Harris; Lois Brown; Leonard Gibson; Menaka Thakkar; Community Builders – Ivan Fecan and Sandra Faire; William J.S. Boyle Dance Luminary: Michael Crabb; and Trailblazers – Chief Red Crow, Gail Grant, Amy Sternberg. 

More info or watch the invitation from Rick Mercer and Veronica Tennant below.

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Dignity Network: $30 million in dedicated funding for LGBTIQ2 rights

Our grants support the groundbreaking work of groups and in organizations in Ontario, many of which have had an incredable impact on our global community. A perfect example is the Dignity Network, a group of Canadian organizations involved in supporting the human rights of LGBTQI people globally, including issues related to LGBTQI refugees. 

And their work is paying off.

In an exciting announcement, the Government of Canada has announced new funds in support of LGBTIQ2 rights. The new commitment of $30 million is a dedicated funding over five years, followed by $10 million per year to advance human rights and improve socio-economic outcomes for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, and 2-spirited people (LGBTIQ2) people in developing countries.

Doug Kerr, a Dignity Network steering committee member was part of the government’s official announcement with International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and LGBTQ2 Special Advisor Randy Boissonnault. The announcement happened from West Block on Parliament Hill on February 8, 2019.

For more information about Dignity Network, please visit them here.

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World AIDS Day: Acknowledge, Remember, Honour.

We acknowledge people who live with HIV, remember those we have lost, and honour those who are still working to end AIDS. This year we’ve increased our annual donation to Casey House by $1000 for a total of $3,000 and we more than doubled our annual contribution to Rainbow Railroad from $2,000 to $5,000.

Casey House is Canada’s first and only stand-alone hospital for people with HIV/AIDS. In 1988, the disease was stigmatized, and so were the people who lived with it. Fear ran so deep that Casey House’s first patient was delivered to the door by a team of medics wearing hazmat suits. He was greeted by Casey House with an embrace. It was the first time he’d been touched in months. Casey House is still one of the few places where people with HIV/AIDS can seek care without judgement. They are more than a place that saves lives, they are a place that speaks up, shines understanding through compassion, and empowers people to get better.

Rainbow Railroad helps people In countries all over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) people live in basic fear for their freedom, their safety and their lives. They often have nowhere to turn because their government and police not only tolerate but encourage this brutality. HIV still affects LGBT people at a disproportionate rate, and having HIV as a refugee means increased stigma, difficulty finding access to care as well as outright discrimination.

Rainbow Railroad exists to help these people get out of danger to somewhere safe. In the spirit of and with homage to the Underground Railroad, they help LGBTQI people as they seek safe haven from state, enabled violence, murder or persecution. They are able to support, provide information, and help to arrange safe transportation to somewhere in the world where they can live their lives in freedom.

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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.

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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


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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.

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Our Environment Matters

Within the 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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 
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