TORONTO, ON - Today, MusiCounts announced Gary Slaight, President and CEO of The Slaight Foundation, as the 2021 recipient of the MusiCounts Inspired Minds Ambassador Award, presented by The Canadian Scholarship Trust (CST) Foundation. Gary is being recognized for the extraordinary philanthropic contributions he has made to music education in Canada. To amplify Gary’s efforts, $30,000 worth of MusiCounts Band Aid Program instrument grants will be awarded to three Canadian schools in his name.
“Our family has always been involved and supported the creative arts and believe music education in schools is as essential to the healthy development of kids as fresh air and water. MusiCounts does a fantastic job in providing the tools to help and develop these impressionable minds through music,” said Gary Slaight. “Playing an instrument and bonding with other kids of a similar age helps build character and nurture creativity. Now with issues around the covid-19 pandemic and learning from home, music is more valuable and provides the kids an outlet to express themselves and connect beyond the virtual world.”
Over the past 10 years, Gary Slaight and the Slaight Foundation have donated over $750,000 to MusiCounts to support over 55 schools in the Greater Toronto Area and First Nations communities. Through the Slaight Family Foundation, he has supported a variety of humanitarian and cultural causes, and continues to invest in media and entertainment ventures, through both Slaight Communications and Slaight Music, a division launched in 2009 with a mandate to invest, nurture, and develop Canadian artists.
"MusiCounts is honoured to recognize Gary Slaight's tremendous impact on music education in Canada with this award," said Kristy Fletcher, Executive Director of MusiCounts. "The Slaight name is virtually synonymous with support for young Canadian musicians, and MusiCounts is grateful to be trusted to enact this philanthropic mission in partnership with the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation."
“We are excited to present this award alongside MusiCounts to Gary Slaight. He has shown a tremendous commitment to giving back to the community and providing access to education,” said Peter Lewis, Vice President of CST Foundation. “For 60 years, the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation has focused on helping to make education possible. We are pleased to acknowledge Gary’s advocacy, which empowers and encourages young Canadians to believe in their dreams.”
The MusiCounts Inspired Minds Ambassador Award recognizes an individual who has had an extraordinary impact on education and the charity over the course of its history. Each Award Recipient receives a JUNO statuette.
The Slaight Family Foundation was established in 2008 by John Allan Slaight. Allan Slaight is known as Canada’s broadcast pioneer, music leader and a prominent Canadian philanthropist. Through his generosity, the Foundation proactively supports charitable initiatives in the areas of healthcare, at-risk youth, international development, social services and culture.
Founded in 1960, the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to helping Canadian families better access post-secondary education. Through philanthropy, discovery, advocacy and by sponsoring the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plans to help families save for post-secondary education, CST continues to deliver on its mission. In addition to its focus on education savings, the Foundation rewards hard working and community minded Canadian students and communities through scholarships, bursaries and awards programs, and its Inspired Minds Program. CST has helped more than 800,000 students achieve their post-secondary dreams. For more information, visit foundation.cst.org.
MusiCounts is Canada's music education charity associated with CARAS and the JUNO Awards. MusiCounts' vision is to ensure that all youth in Canada have access to music education through their schools and communities. This vision is realized through grant programs that invest directly into schools and communities across Canada that put musical instruments into the hands of kids who need them the most. Additionally, MusiCounts creates educational resources for teachers and students; empowers young people to pursue music as a career; and celebrates teachers, artists, and philanthropists who champion music education.
MusiCounts is funded by many of Canada's most dedicated individuals and corporate citizens including and especially The MusiCounts Leadership Circle, TD Bank Group, Bell Media, SiriusXM Canada, the Slaight Family Foundation, RBC, Canada’s Great Kitchen Party, The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation, and The Hot Topic Foundation. MusiCounts has been supported since its inception by Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., Universal Music Canada, Warner Music Canada Ltd., and JUNO Awards events like the JUNO Songwriters' Circle and JUNO Cup. MusiCounts was established in 1997, and has awarded more than $14,000,000 in support of music education in Canada. These funds have benefitted over 1,200 schools and communities, supported over 400 post-secondary music program graduates, and honoured 15 extraordinary music teachers and four MusiCounts Inspired Minds ambassadors.