Philanthropy Awards

2021 Award Recipients

TORONTO, ON (December 7, 2021) — The Greater Toronto Chapter Awards Committee and Board of Directors, we are pleased to announced the 2021 philanthropy award recipients.

The 2021 honourees are:

  • Outstanding Philanthropists: Michael & Amira Dan
  • Outstanding Volunteer: Kathleen (Katie) P. Taylor
  • Outstanding Corporation: KPMG Canada
  • Outstanding Foundation: Love My Neighbour
  • Mo Davies Outstanding Small Organization: Frontlines
  • Lifetime Achievement: Sherri Freedman

Outstanding Philanthropist:
Michael and Amira Dan

Drs. Michael and Amira Dan are driven by a deep commitment to human rights and social justice. In particular, the couple have been generous and committed leaders in helping to address the health and educational inequities and inequalities that weigh so heavily on Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

After obtaining his MD degree from the University of Toronto in 1984, Michael completed a neurosurgery residency and a PhD in experimental medicine at McGill University. He was an assistant professor of neurosurgery at LSU Medical Center, New Orleans, for five years, then returned to Toronto in 1995 as CEO of Novopharm Biotech Inc., a publicly-traded drug discovery company. In 2000, the family business, Novopharm Ltd., was sold to Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Michael embarked on a career in hydroelectric power development and philanthropy.

Together with his wife, Amira, a scholar of Jewish studies at York University, he funded the Michael and Amira Dan Professorship in Global Health in 2009, the Michael and Amira Dan Fellowships in Neurosurgery in 2012, and the University of Toronto Brain Tumour Bank in 2013.

Between 2006 and 2013, Michael worked closely with the Lac La Croix First Nation in northwestern Ontario on a hydroelectric project. After numerous visits to the community, he became an advocate for Indigenous health issues. In 2015, Michael and Amira made a landmark gift of $10 million to endow the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health at the Dalla Lana Faculty of Public Health, the first privately-endowed research institute in the world that is addressing the unique health needs of Indigenous people.

Through volunteerism, activism, and philanthropy, Michael and Amira have helped to elevate Indigenous voices, showcase Indigenous talent, and contribute towards national efforts of reconciliation.  Along the way they have had outstanding philanthropic partners: the University of Toronto, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Indspire, and of course, many friends and elders in the Indigenous community.

Outstanding Volunteer:
Kathleen (Katie) P. Taylor

SickKids has been a major beneficiary of Katie Taylor’s time and wisdom for the last 17 years. Katie joined SickKids Foundation as a board member in 2004, chairing the Board of Directors for six years (2014-2020) and serving concurrently as an ex-officio member of the SickKids Board of Trustees. She became a SickKids Trustee in 2021 and will be the next Chair of the Board of Trustees when Robert Prichard steps down in June 2022 (this news is confidential until then).
Throughout her career, Katie has advocated and practiced ethical leadership rooted in transparency, integrity, and continuous improvement. SickKids Foundation has benefitted immensely from Katie’s experience in the areas of governance, human resource development, risk, and strategic planning, key elements of our fundraising infrastructure and organizational strength. Over the six years of her tenure as Chair, fundraising revenue increased year over year, and Katie’s contribution as a volunteer fundraising leader was significant to this success.
Katie has applied her considerable leadership and organizational skills to two capital campaigns.

• As a member of the Campaign Cabinet that helped raise more than $200 million toward the building of the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, the 21-storey research tower at Bay and Elm that opened in 2013.

• As Co-Chair of the Campaign Cabinet for SickKids VS Limits, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in Canadian healthcare history, set to raise $1.5 billion and rebuild the aging SickKids campus. Alongside her Co-Chairs, Pasty Anderson and John Francis, Katie helps the executive team at SickKids Foundation define the campaign’s priorities, plan to sustain its momentum, and connect with high-net-worth donor prospects.

Outstanding Corporation:
KPMG Canada

As a member firm of one of the world’s leading networks of professional services firms, it is KPMG in Canada’s endeavor to be an inspirational leader in corporate philanthropy, social impact and inclusion, diversity and equity. With a giving strategy that strives to delivers impact at the national, regional, and local levels, and is driven by both corporate strategies and individual employee interests, KPMG is creating broad social change in alignment with four key UN Sustainable Development Goals: Good health and well-being, quality education, reduced inequalities, and climate action.

Last year, KPMG in Canada donated a total of $11 million to a wide variety of programs and initiatives, including $3.6 million in fundraising and $600,000 in pro-bono work for community organizations – a core pillar of the firm’s approach to social impact, with employees lending their time, talent, and skills to support the efforts of non-profits making a difference for those in need.

In addition to the firm’s community contributions, KPMG employees also contributed a total of 45,913 volunteer and pro-bono hours in support of causes close to their hearts within their local communities.

In 2020, KPMG announced a major commitment of $1,050,000 over five years in support of Women’s College Hospital, Canada’s leader in revolutionizing health for women and advancing health equity for all. In their 25th year of their commitment, the two organizations have been dedicated to creating transformational change for the future of healthcare and the well-being of all Canadians.

Drawing on three core pillars of funding – including sponsorship and corporate support, investments from the KPMG Foundation, and personal contributions from KPMG partners – KPMG in Canada’s commitment is creating impact across three priority areas:

  1. Championing and supporting women in leadership and women’s health.
  2. Bringing virtual care to the mainstream to create a healthier, more equitable world.
  3. Advancing health equity for everyone.

In addition to this ground-breaking new commitment, in 2021 KPMG celebrated 10 years as the Presenting Sponsor of Women’s College Hospital Foundation’s Women for Women’s event – one of Canada’s largest and most impactful luncheon for champions and supporters of women’s health and health equity for all. Many of KPMG’s executives, emerging leaders and employees have volunteered their time to Women’s College Hospital and Women’s College Hospital Foundation.

Outstanding Foundation: 
Love My Neighbour

Love My Neighbour is a national movement for global vaccine equity, inspired by Millennium Kids and diverse Canadian faith communities, that has been raising funds and awareness to support UNICEF Canada’s efforts to increase equitable access and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable populations around the world. Working together, members of many faiths (Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Zoroastrian), in communities across Canada have raised more than $540,000 to vaccinate people around the world.

In December 2020, Love My Neighbour Founder Sara Hildebrand reached out to UNICEF Canada’s CEO David Morley with an ambitious goal. Ms. Hildebrand had researched the vaccine rollout in the developing world and discovered that the international partnership COVAX planned to provide 2 billion COVID-19 vaccines doses for the world’s healthcare workers and high-risk groups (as of December 2020). Ms. Hildebrand could not shake the simple math calculation that only 12% of people in low-income countries would have access to these life-saving vaccines in 2021, according to COVAX’s plan. Ultimately, six multi-faith advisors and 35 faith communities and organizations enthusiastically collaborated to increase COVID-19 vaccine equity through fundraising and advocacy.

The goal of the Love My Neighbour project is that all Canadians, who would be getting vaccinations with relative ease and at no personal cost, pay their vaccines forward with a $25 donation to support UNICEF’s role in the global vaccine procurement and distribution, and to make it possible for more of our global neighbours to receive vaccine protection from COVID-19. The $25 donation would represent the cost for vaccines, per-person cost for transport, cold chain protection of the vaccines, health worker training, and the safe disposal of needles and waste.

Mo Davies Outstanding Small Organization:

Frontlines is a dynamic charity with a mission, while simple in its wording but large in its intended impact; is to address the pressing needs of children and youth (6-29) in some of Toronto’s most disenfranchised communities . Frontlines offers an array of responsive and innovative programs to address the needs of youth ranging from homework and online tutoring programs, cooking and sports clubs to summer camps for youth 6-12; leadership, violence prevention, mental health and employment programs for youth 13-17;  entrepreneurship and employment programs for youth 18-29. Frontlines culinary program has expanded into a social enterprise catering business. We serve primarily racialized and marginalized youth, particularly Black youth and thus our programming is culturally relevant. 

While the organization has been around for 35+ years, the organization struggled for a few years. Under the leadership of their current ED, Frontlines has gone from having a budget of $200 K in 2016 to over a million dollar budget. This has allowed the organization to grow from serving 100 youth to over 450 youth. Our staffing has grown from 3 in 2016 to now 19 that has allowed our services to expand into new communities. Many of the staff that work at Frontlines are reflective of the community and in fact either live in or close to the community or live in very similar communities.

Frontlines is the recipient of many awards such as the Mayor Safety Awards by City of Toronto, Best Community Organization in York South Weston for Youth Employment and Top 10 Youth engagement charity (under 20 staff) by Charity village. We are honored to receive this award because we believe that philanthropy goes hand in hand with community development. 

Lifetime Achievement:
Sherri Freedman

Sherri Freedman believes that fundraising is a team sport!  Sherri started her career at United Way of Greater Toronto where she honed her fundraising, strategic planning and management skills and forged deep, enduring relationships with donors, volunteers and colleagues that have lasted over three decades.

When Sherri joined the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation in 2001, she discovered her passion for healthcare philanthropy.  Working closely with hospital staff, administrators and colleagues, Sherri demonstrated the power of strategic, collaborative fundraising and the joy of celebrating collective success.  Sherri carried these tenets with her to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation at UHN where she spent close to fourteen years. After a two-year stint at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto where Sherri helped lead a fundraising initiative to create a new Holocaust Education Centre, she is once again at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation as Special Advisor to the President & CEO. Sherri is universally respected and admired across UHN for her ability to inspire passion and confidence in everyone she works with, whether they are donors, volunteers, Cancer Centre partners or Foundation colleagues.

In addition to helping raise hundreds of millions of dollars, Sherri has always taken the time throughout her career, to encourage, advise and mentor other fundraisers, reminding people to be authentic and donor-centred, to focus on mission and to appreciate the privilege of doing meaningful work in the non-profit sector.