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Making a Difference

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August 7, 2019
113 Mildenhall Road, Toronto
October 21, 2019

A PJ co-founder Deborah Rennard and Natasha Koifman opened 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.”

Some of the evenings highlights included Canadian filmmaker and activist Norman Jewison being honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award as well as Diane Bald and Michael Budman being presented with the Canadian Changemaker Award, which celebrates the remarkable philanthropic contributions of some of Canada’s most 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 Robertson and Janet Zuccarini, who spoke highly of the couple and attributed their relationship to an introduction made by Diane and Michael.

The gala concluded with a memorable performance from Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne, who was a key player in the record-breaking inaugural Montreal gala where Arcade Fire was honoured, and over a quarter of a million dollars was raised to benefit APJ and The KANPE Foundation. This year’s Toronto gala also generously supported The KANPE Foundation.

The gala concluded with a memorable performance from Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne, who was a key player in the record-breaking inaugural Montreal gala where Arcade Fire was honoured, and over a quarter of a million dollars was raised to benefit APJ and The KANPE Foundation. This year’s Toronto gala 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 Cruz and 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 Hotel and NKPR. For more information on the organization or to make a donation, please visit apjnow.org or follow @artistsforpeace on social.