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THE SCOOP | Sistema Toronto Receives $175K Grant From The Azrieli Foundation

By Anya Wassenberg on September 19, 2018

Sistema Toronto
Sistema Toronto breaths a sigh of relief after a last-minute donation comes in to help cover the cost of 50 new students this month. (Photo courtesy Sistema Toronto)

In the wake of a provincial government let down, the Azrieli Foundation has thrown a lifeline to Sistema Toronto to the tune of $175,000. The funding was announced earlier this week, and comes in the form of a donation from the charitable organization.

The donation was welcome news to Sistema Toronto, an organization that runs daily music lessons and other social education to 275 children in at-risk neighbourhoods. The previous provincial government had promised additional support to expand the program, so when the newly elected provincial Conservative government announced that it was pulling the plug on a promised $500,000 in funding earlier this summer, it left Sistema Toronto scrambling to change its plans and accommodate the children already enrolled in the programme — leaving those on the waiting list in limbo. The half million dollars in funding would have paid for new instruments as well as picking up the slack and clearing out the long waiting list.

Together with a crowdfunding campaign that has netted Sistema Toronto about $35,000, the generous donation by the Azrieli Foundation nearly makes up half the shortfall. As the organization announced in a media release, the funding from the Azrieli Foundation would pay for an additional 50 students at their three centres in Parkdale, Jane-Finch, and East Scaroborugh. The $175,000 donation will cover the costs of the 50 new students for the 2018/2019 year.

Despite the good news, Sistema Toronto points out that there are another 60 kids on a waiting list, and without any additional funds, that’s likely where they will stay, at least for this year.

Dr. Sharon Azrieli, Board Director, The Azrieli Foundation, was quoted in a media release:

“We are delighted to support Sistema Toronto, which so meaningfully brings together two priorities of the Azrieli Foundation – music and education. We know that music doesn’t just warm the soul; it builds a mindset that equips students to meet their fullest intellectual, social and creative potential. We also know that music brings communities together in celebration and harmony. All of us at the Azrieli Foundation have been so impressed with how Sistema Toronto unites music, learning and community to achieve great things. We hope that our belief in them will encourage others to support their work, giving these children a brighter future full of music and prosperity!”

The Azrieli Foundation was created by real estate developer and noted philanthropist David Azrieli. Operating in both Canada and Israel, the Azrieli Foundation supports a broad range of projects, continuing its founders focus on education and the arts, among many other priorities.

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