MLSE Foundation announced a contribution of $1 million to two of Right To Play’s youth-focused programs through a cheque presentation at the Toronto Raptors game on Monday evening. Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman of the MLSE Board of Directors and Michael Bartlett, MLSE Foundation’s Executive Director presented the cheque to Kevin Frey, Right To Play’s Chief Executive Officer and Lori Smith, National Director, Canadian National Office, which will support the Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth and Youth To Youth programs. The Promoting Life-Skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program is a community-driven, locally adapted program that uses sport and play activities as a tool to build on the strengths of Indigenous children, youth and their communities. The Youth To Youth program provides a platform for peer leadership for children and youth in high-needs schools within Toronto.
MLSE’s ownership team and Larry Tanenbaum have expressed their full support of this ongoing partnership as it represents MLSE Foundation’s vision and commitment to changing the lives of youth through the spirit and power of sports. Tanenbaum has been a long-standing supporter of Aboriginal issues in Canada, specifically Ontario, and was excited to renew this investment in Right To Play. Ontario Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Minister David Zimmer was also present for Monday’s cheque presentation as the partnership between Right To Play and MLSE Foundation would not be possible without the Government of Ontario’s ongoing support of both organizations.
“Right To Play and MLSE Foundation have enjoyed a meaningful and strong relationship for many years through this community investment partnership,” said Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman of MLSE Board of Directors. “MLSE is honoured to be involved in the impact that Right To Play has on improving the lives of thousands of Aboriginal youth across Canada.”
This donation comes three years after MLSE Foundation first invested $1 million into Right To Play’s PLAY program in March of 2013, becoming the PLAY program’s largest single private sector donor at the time. The investment in 2013 increased the program’s impact by 25 per cent, with PLAY currently impacting 60 Ontario Aboriginal communities and urban Ontario centres. The goal of the most recent $1 million donation on November 28 is to increase the PLAY and Youth To Youth programs’ reach even further over the next three years.
“MLSE Foundation’s new $1 million gift to Right To Play’s Canadian programs will have an indelible impact on our programs in Toronto and across the province of Ontario. This renewed investment will ensure the continued success and growth of our PLAY Program, which will reach 60 First Nations communities and urban Aboriginal organizations in Ontario this year, while enabling us to build on the current success of our Youth To Youth program throughout the city of Toronto. The dedication of the MLSE Foundation, the Lawrence and Judith Tanenbaum Family Foundation, and other key partners is laudable and continues to increase access to active, play-based programs for thousands of young people,” said Lori Smith, Right To Play Canada’s National Director.
Following Monday’s cheque presentation, the donation was celebrated with a basketball development clinic hosted by MLSE Foundation for 40 participants from both the PLAY and Youth To Youth programs at Hershey Centre in Mississauga. Youth from the programs participated in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament led by Raptors basketball development coaches and Right To Play Sport For Development staff. Later that day, youth from the programs were able to watch pre-game shootaround prior to watching Raptors 905 take on the Fort Wayne Mad Ants from a suite at Hershey Centre.
About MLSE Foundation
MLSE Foundation believes all kids should have access to sport and the opportunity to develop lasting dreams on the playing field. With the support of MLSE’s teams, the Foundation funds the refurbishment of local athletic facilities and programs that support kids through sports and recreation. Set to open in 2017, MLSE Foundation’s latest project, MLSE LaunchPad, will be the first collaborative space in North America to leverage sport, education and research to promote social change. Since launching in December 2009, MLSE Foundation has invested more than $24 million into our community. For more information visit mlsefoundation.org, or follow @MLSEFoundation.
About Right To Play
Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. Through playing sport- and play-based educational games and activities, Right To Play helps one million children weekly in more than 20 countries to build essential life skills and better futures, while driving lasting social change. Founded in 2000 by four-time Olympic gold medalist and social entrepreneur Johann Olav Koss, Right To Play is headquartered in Toronto, Canada under the leadership of CEO Kevin Frey. Right To Play’s programs are facilitated by over 600 international staff and 14,900 volunteer Coaches. Programming in Canada includes the peer leadership Youth To Youth program and the Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program, both of which began in 2010. To learn more visit www.righttoplay.ca