Gala premieres, red carpet fashion, star sightings – we all look to the Toronto International Film Festival for a luxurious taste of global film and celebrity. Yet amidst the Festival’s movie mayhem is a growing philanthropic side. Three of the Festival’s biggest events that I attended shone the spotlight on those in need.
OnexOne, a charity that gives to children worldwide, was launched five years ago (fittingly on September 11) during TIFF. Spearheaded by Joey Adler of Diesel Canada with support from the Rogers family, the charity has quickly become a global powerhouse in raising funds. OnexOne Ambassador, Matt Damon, spoke at Saturday’s exclusive lunch at Ame on Mercer Street about the importance of the charity and the work done in Haiti. Damon and Honorary Chair Frank McKenna announced a $3million commitment to the construction of a pediatric award in a Partners in Health hospital in Haiti. The annual OnexOne Difference Award (previously given to luminaries such as Richard Gere and Bill Clinton) was presented to Duncan Dee, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Air Canada, for his exemplary efforts in Haiti. For more information, check out www.onexone.org.
On Saturday night, Oscar-winning Canadian director Paul Haggis (Crash) hosted the Artists for Peace and Justice Fundraiser along with former FLARE cover girl Maria Bello, James Franco and AnnaLynne McCord. Held at the Pears development showcase at Avenue and Davenport, the event raised funds to assist the children of Haiti through the power of education. Established in 2009, this organization features a star-studded list of supporters (including Ben Stiller and Olivia Wilde whom are both on the board of directors). For more information, check out www.apjnow.org
Emilio Estevez, his father Martin Sheen, Kelly Rowland (formerly of Destiny’s Child) and designer Kenneth Cole were among the stars at Sunday night’s hot ticket – Cinema Against AIDS to benefit amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and Dignitas International. Launched by Dame Elizabeth Taylor with amfAR in 1993, the foundation has since raised more than $56million for research programs. Last night’s gala added another million dollars to the total. The night’s highlight – Kelly Rowland singing her hit When Love Takes Over. For more information, check out www.amfar.org