“With both humor and skill, Russell unfurls the history behind Madonna’s work and isolates specific elements of multitrack recordings to get to the heart of what makes her tunes tick.”
- The New York Times
TORONTO, ON (May 12, 2021) - Music does indeed make the people come together, as Edward Russell quickly learned after launching his ‘story behind the Madonna songs’ themed podcast, Inside The Groove. Initially released in 2020 to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Vogue — possibly Madonna’s best known and most enduring hit — Inside The Groove has fascinated fans and captured critic’s attention, becoming a new staple on the podcast music charts. Now beginning its third season of uncovering the stories behind the songs, Inside The Groove has also picked up a nomination for a Canadian Podcast Award.
After pouring through hundreds of articles about the origins of Madonna songs, Russell soon realized he had an opportunity (and the knowledge) to fill in the blanks for many of the Queen of pop’s most celebrated songs. Keen to put a particular focus on the stories behind the songs, Russell launched his first episode soon after the world shut down, and it became an instant hit.
“Madonna courts controversy which sometimes overshadows the music, but as a songwriter, she’s not often given the credit she deserves,” says Russell. “Like A Prayer was written in just a few hours with her collaborator Pat Leonard sat at a keyboard while she lay on the floor and wrote the melody and lyrics. She recorded the vocals an hour later, and that was it – she never sang it again.”
Word of mouth soon spread, and as the podcast covered other Madonna songs like Music and Hung Up, it started to garner even more attention. Especially when Savage Garden singer Darren Hayes – a massive Madonna fan himself – was interviewed.
Now, as the podcast enters its third season, after glowing reviews from publications like The New York Times and The Guardian, it also receives an Outstanding Foreign Series nomination at the Canadian Podcast Awards.
“This nomination is an incredible honour. I’m just a guy in his home office, trying to do a day job but also keep up the momentum. Sometimes I pinch myself at its success. I’m a bit of a statistics freak, so I couldn’t believe when at one point it was the most listened to artist-specific podcast in the world,” says Russell. “It proves that Madonna’s music has stood the test of time. Artists like Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift are ruling the charts, but the success of Inside The Groove shows that Madonna’s music still remains an important piece of our culture.”
To listen to Inside the Groove, visit: https://smarturl.it/ITGMadonna
To vote for Inside The Groove in the Canadian Podcast Awards, visit: https://canpodawards.ca/vote/foreign/
About Inside The Groove:
Inside The Groove is a podcast that tells the story behind Madonna’s most famous songs. Hosted by Edward Russell, each episode focuses on a particular Madonna track or era, discussing the creative process, along with how each song was received. With reference to music videos and live performances, each episode often references snippets from individual track multitrack sessions.
Toronto-based pop singer collaborates with Los Angeles synth pop duo Slow Dance and UK producer Edward Russell for slick new single, done two ways.
TORONTO, ON (May 10, 2021) – Hot off the heels of his critically acclaimed #9 charting iTunes album release in late January, Cory Stewart is back – and this time, he has his fans hearing double. Cory Stewart is excited to announce the release of ‘Perfect World’ on May 28, 2021, a new dance-pop single interpreted in two distinct ways, defined as the Red Pill Edition and the Blue Pill Edition.
‘Perfect World’ was conceptualized by Stewart and Slow Dance in mid 2020, after Stewart expressed his desire to “auto-tune the world” to his co-collaborators. The song quickly materialized in the hands of Jacob and Alex (of Slow Dance), with lyrics eventually being finessed by the pair and Stewart in followup Zoom sessions. The result is the hyperpop, slick and sexy Red Pill Edition, which takes no prisoners on its ascension to the world’s soon-to-be-opened dance floors.
Soon after the creation of ‘Perfect World’, with lockdown time on his hands and a penchant for always wanting to do things differently, Cory sought out the help of UK-based producer and artist Edward Russell – whom he had met online after discovering Russell’s New York Times celebrated Madonna-themed podcast, ‘Inside The Groove‘. Russell immediately took to the song, and created the nostalgia inducing, 80s-meets-00’s Blue Pill Edition of ‘Perfect World’, which inspired Cory to market the single as a double release.
“I can’t explain my utter delight in having the opportunity to work with both Slow Dance and (Edward) Russell on this track,” says Stewart. “Perfect World is meant to be an escape from the dread and doom that we’re facing day-to-day as we continue to fight this devastating pandemic, and I can only hope that our work will transport listeners for 4 minutes, to an alternate world, where they can dance, sing and party – if only for a short while.”
Stewart released his debut album ‘TOV’ in January 2021 to critical acclaim, with press calling it “expertly-crafted”, “ever-catchy” and a “no-skip, heavy-hitting pop album with a voice and direction unlike any other”. Charting #9 on iTunes and celebrating over 500,000 stream counts to date, ‘TOV’ continues to be touted as one of the best indie-pop album releases of 2021.
Perfect World is now available for pre-order and pre-save and will be available to stream on all online music platforms on May 28, 2021.
Red Pill Version: snd.click/osakrbaf
Blue Pill Version: snd.click/k4zvzl3
About Cory Stewart
Cory Stewart has been described as synth-pop’s “smooth voice” (Billboard, 2020) who creates “fearless, unapologetic and relentlessly catchy” music (Canadian Beats, 2018). Stewart has been a supporting act for several legendary artists including the likes of Boy George and Crystal Waters. He is the host of the Official Queerantine Aftershow, which accompanies the weekly TRL-style indie music showcase show Queerantine, airing Sundays at 4:30 p.m. EST (new season begins May 2021). Cory also hosts the monthly online event “Queer Music Social”, which gathers musicians from around the world, and pairs them with music experts for Q&A style panels.
Songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist J GRGRY will stream an impressive three hour interactive concert on Amazon’s Twitch platform on March 20, 2021, alongside an all-star line up of supporting players.
SEATTLE, WA (February 23, 2021) – On March 20, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. PST/6:00 p.m. EST, Queer artist J GRGRY will return to his hometown of Seattle, Washington’s legendary Moore Theatre, where he will perform a first-of-its-kind, interactive, visually-electrifying live concert, streamed exclusively on Amazon streaming platform Twitch. GRGRY will be accompanied by a slew of music industry all-stars including, drummer Ben Smith (HEART and Roadcase Royale); guitarist CJ Stout (A Pile of Pedals and Vendetta Red); keys, bass and vocalist Emily McVicker (solo artist); lighting director Tim Semakula (Earth, Wind & Fire, Sheryl Crow and K Flay); and visual artist and projectionist Amy Billharz.
The live-stream event will mark the start of a new direction for J GRGRY, after recently deciding to remove his entire, extensive music catalogue from all popular streaming services. GRGRY has shifted focus to music production streams and performing live on Twitch to retain autonomy, cultivate active, engaged community members, and have unadulterated access to consistent revenue streams.
“Twitch has built-in models to compensate artists in real-time and the connections made with fans and audience members is unparalleled,” says J GRGRY. “Throughout all my years of touring, doing press and radio campaigns, and chasing the illusion of income from streaming royalties – I truly believe Twitch is the foundational piece to creating a larger, healthier middle class for musicians from all walks of life.”
Fans of J GRGRY will be able to access the March 20th concert at no cost by visiting twitch.tv/jgrgry. The live-stream will begin at 3:00 p.m. PST/6:00 p.m. EST sharp, and will feature the following setlist (subject to change):
4. Haunted Horses
5. Rare Poisons
6. Erase The Shore
8. Cave Birds
10. Flowers + Champagne
11. China Creek
12. Open Roads
15. Don’t Ever Give Up
About J GRGRY
J GRGRY (pronounced J Gregory) is a queer songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, originally from Seattle WA. Often compared to Peter Gabriel, David Bowie and Annie Lennox. JG writes songs that are lyrically captivating and emotionally relevant. He blends organic and synthetic instruments with an honest, earnest voice to create depth and texture in the vein of these 80s Prog-Pop icons. His live show is full of makeup, costumes, elaborate visuals and lighting design inspired by the great arena and festival shows that have resonated with him over the years. Radio stations KEXP and 107.7 The End helped launch JG into national attention in America. West coast tours, fly-out dates to NYC and festival performances followed, including bills shared with The Killers, The Lumineers, Portugal The Man, and many others.
Queer Toronto-based artist offers an impressive 46-minute album debut delivered in three distinctive (and catchy) acts
TORONTO, ON (January 12, 2021) - On January 22, 2021, Toronto-based pop artist Cory Stewart drops his 17-track debut album ‘TOV’, a musical journey broken into three acts: betrayal, heartbreak and survival. Meticulously crafted over three years by Stewart and award-winning Canadian producer Gavin Bradley: ‘TOV’ was named after one of Cory’s life-long friends, Tovah Natalie, who passed away from cancer during the 2020 pandemic. ‘TOV’ is the follow-up to Stewart’s EP ’7 Different Sides’, which led to him opening for Boy George and the Culture Club in 2018.
The album will be released under label Embrace Disruption (in partnership with AWAL/Kobalt) and features an all-star list of LGBTQ+ indie musicians, contributors and collaborators including Gavin Bradley, Jxckson, Kisos, MDL CHLD, Michelle Mondesir (of Madame Psychosis) and Zach Benson.
Pulling from influences in Stewart’s musical career, including the dance elements of Madonna and Kylie Minogue, the humour of Bette Midler, and the drama of Phantom of the Opera, Stewart hopes ‘TOV’ will be more than just a collection of songs, but a story of resilience and strength – geared to be experienced in full album form.
“Listening to an album from top to bottom is a lost pleasure these days,” says Stewart. “When writing songs for ‘TOV’, I worked closely with Gavin (Bradley) to make sure we told a story — one that could only be fully understood by listening in full; while also ensuring that each song carries its own individual narrative.”
Tracks like ‘What If’, ‘Poison’ (feat. MDL CHLD) and ‘End of Me’ (feat. Michelle Mondesir) explore themes of betrayal (both self-inflicted and external) through a dance floor beat, while ‘Happiness in Heartache’, ‘Little Lies’ and ‘Do You’ examine the complexities of heartbreak, through several perspectives. Followed by ’Grab the Fire’ (feat. Jxckson), ‘No More Trips to London’ (featuring background vocals from Stewart’s mother, written about the loss of his grandmother), ‘Unhappy’ and ‘Little One’ (written and recorded for the album’s namesake Tovah – and played for her the night she passed), which deal with the pain of loss, and the struggle of survival. The album is also seasoned with tracks like ’Tu·mul·tu·ous Situation’, ‘Cut Those **** off’ and ‘Maybe I’m Insane’ which act as story-telling interstitials throughout the project’s 46-minute runtime.
‘TOV’ Track Listing
1. What If
2. Poison (feat. MDL CHLD)
3. Outta My Head
4. End of Me (feat. Michelle Mondesir)
5. Tu·mul·tu·ous Situation
6. Happiness in Heartache
7. Little Lies
8. Do You
10. Cut Those **** off
11. Grab the Fire (LP Version) [feat. Jxckson]
12. You’re Like Mom
13. No More Trips to London
15. Maybe I’m Insane
16. Why Do I Even Try
17. Little One (feat. Tovah Natalie) [Demo]
‘TOV’ will be available on all streaming platforms January 22, 2021, and can be pre-saved/purchased by visiting http://coryjstewart.com.
About Cory Stewart
Cory Stewart has been described as synth-pop’s “smooth voice” (Billboard, 2020) who creates “fearless, unapologetic and relentlessly catchy” music (Canadian Beats, 2018). Stewart has been a supporting act for several legendary artists including the likes of Boy George and Crystal Waters. He is the host of the Official Queerantine Aftershow, which accompanies the weekly TRL-style indie music showcase show Queerantine, airing Sundays at 4:30 p.m. EST (new season begins January 2021). Cory also hosts the monthly online event “Queer Music Social”, which gathers musicians from around the world, and pairs them with music experts for Q&A style panels.
Toronto’s Cory Stewart and Austin’s Jxckson Unite on Sizzling New Dancehall-Pop Single “Grab the Fire”
The two fiery singers met shortly after the pandemic hit at the online TRL-style indie music video showcase “Queerantine”, which coincidentally earned its name through a Twitter suggestion from Jxckson, and of which Stewart hosts an after-show companion called “The Official Queerantine Aftershow with Cory Stewart”. After bonding in the stream chat, the two quickly made plans to collaborate over Zoom. In the course of three sessions, the pair wrote “Grab the Fire”, and then went to recording studios in their respective cities to lay down vocals. Co-produced by Stewart and JUNO winner Gavin Bradley, the song features trombone, strings, pop synths, and a dancehall-inspired beat.
“It was such a delight to have the opportunity to work with Jxckson on this track,” says Stewart. “After we finished writing Grab the Fire, it was evident that we’d landed on the perfect amalgamation of both of our sounds. Without sounding too presumptuous, I think I can confidently say we’ll be working on a follow-up track in the very near future!”
“Collaborating with Cory felt so natural and organic – which is particularly important to me,” says Jxckson. “I didn’t quite know what to expect prior to our first virtual session but I soon realized the magic we could create working together. In the end, It’s insane to see how our unique styles came together and blended so effortlessly.”
“Grab the Fire” will be released December 3, 2020 on all major streaming platforms, and will be accompanied by a same-day online Twitch release party at 7 p.m. ET on Stewart’s channel: http://www.twitch.tv/coryjstewart. To stream “Grab the Fire” when released, please visit: https://snd.click/iujg.
About Cory Stewart
Cory Stewart has been described as synth-pop’s “smooth voice” (Billboard, 2020) who creates “fearless, unapologetic and relentlessly catchy” music (Canadian Beats, 2018). He is the host of the Official Queerantine Aftershow, which accompanies the weekly TRL-style indie music showcase show Queerantine, airing Sundays at 4:30 p.m. EST (new season begins January 2021). Stewart has been a supporting act for several legendary artists including the likes of Boy George and Crystal Waters. Cory also hosts the monthly online event called “Queer Music Social”, which gathers musicians from around the world, and pairs them with music experts for Q&A style panels.
Jxckson is an Austin-based pop singer and dancer best known for his keen pop instincts. Delivering his best lines with a smirk, Jxckson combines infectious melodies with witty lyrics and metaphors. Although he treats genre as a moving target, Jxckson’s unique storytelling approach to his lyricsis a constant presence in his music. Jxckson was recently mentioned in PAPER magazine. His latest single, a dancehall-inspired pop track, “Mango” has been featured on an official ‘them.’ magazine playlist and has hit #1 on the QReview music chart.
Passionate human rights defender and refugee Christopher Nkambwe receives Canada’s largest single cash award in recognition of outstanding LGBTQIA2S+ leadership
TORONTO, ON (November 10, 2020) – On the evening of November 5, 2020, Ugandan-born LGBTQIA2S+ activist, refugee and trans woman Christopher Nkambwe (pronouns: she/her) was honoured with Community One Foundation’s Steinert & Ferreiro Award, a commemorative award and $10,000 cash prize that celebrates unsung heroes for their contributions to the Canadian LGBTQIA2S+ community. Christopher, a journalism graduate and long time human rights defender, is the 15th recipient of Community One Foundation’s Steinert & Ferreiro Award, superseding 2019 award recipient Kimahli Powell, Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization Rainbow Railroad.
Christopher Nkambwe’s activism journey began in Uganda, where she served as the Executive Director and founder of Service Workers in Group Foundation Uganda, along with volunteering at several other LGBTQIA2S+ organizations, advocating for better health and economic services for the community. Christopher was also at the forefront of organizing underground Pride Uganda events from 2014 to 2016, to highlight issues affecting the LGBTQIA2S+ community, before the event was bombarded by Uganda police – resulting in many being arrested for promoting homosexuality, an act that is against the law and culture in Uganda. In 2019, Christopher was conducting voluntary peer outreach for HIV/AIDS testing and counselling, along with Hepatitis B screening and condom distribution, when Ugandan police raided, attacked and threatened her with life imprisonment, which led her to seek asylum in Canada.
Upon arrival in Canada, Christopher began her journey as a refugee claimant in Toronto. She was presented many challenges as a newcomer to the country; including finding employment, a lawyer and legal aid and even acquiring basic shelter. During her first few nights in Toronto, Christopher was forced to sleep outside the urinals of the 109 Peter Street intake centre, because of overcrowding in city shelters. After successfully submitting her refugee claim, it was these very challenges that ended up being the catalyst for Christopher’s next advocacy efforts.
After four months of enduring the difficult immigration process and acquiring her refugee protection documents, Christopher sought free legal advice from The 519 legal clinic to register her LGBTQIA2S+ charity organization, The African Centre For Refugees in Ontario Canada. Through this organization, Christopher is able to integrate African LGBTQIA2S+ refugees to Canada through extensive social work and community development. She has been able to assist over 300 individuals with employment, health and housing referrals, despite having to run her organization with her part-time job cleaning salary, and no external funding. Christopher is continuing her important work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, along with volunteering at several LGBTQIA2S+ organizations including The 519 and Black Lives Matter. She has also recently been chosen by The Ontario Council for Agencies Serving Immigrants to be a part of their advisory committee. Currently, The African Centre For Refugees in Ontario Canada is seeking out opportunities to acquire laptops for their staff, and PPE equipment for over 300 refugees.
“It is with great honour that we are able to present Christopher Nkambwe with this year’s Steinert and Ferreiro Award,” says Community One Foundation Co-Chair Andrew Mainprize. “Although a tough decision, with many qualified applicants this year, it’s clear that Christopher’s tireless efforts to help LGBTQIA2S+ refugees, despite facing so many of her own challenges, embodies everything that this award represents. It is people like Christopher who continue to inspire, promote growth and create change at the heart of the Canadian LGBTQIA2S+ community.”
About Community One:
Established in 1980 as the Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal, Community One Foundation provides grants to LGBTTIQQ2S community projects in Greater Toronto Area including Durham, Halton, Peel and York Regions, focusing on the areas of arts and culture, health and social services, and research and education. The Foundation also promotes community philanthropy through strategic partnerships such as the Bill 7 Award and the LGBT Giving Network.
Canadian Electronic Producer Velvet Code Collaborates with Multi-Platinum NYC Producer FORD on New Release and Music Video for ’Break The Silence’
TORONTO, ON (October 13, 2020) - Queer and gender-fluid Canadian artist and producer Velvet Code has released a revisited Halloween-inspired version of their popular track ‘Break The Silence’, featuring multi-platinum NYC-based transgender and non-binary producer, FORD. This release will mark the first on Velvet Code’s new LGBTQIA+ music label, SO FIERCE MUSIC, and is a follow-up to the artist’s official remixes of Lady Gaga’s ‘Sour Candy feat. BLACKPINK’ and ‘Stupid Love’, released earlier this summer. The release is also accompanied by a haunting new music video, in which Velvet Code artistically conveys people’s struggle with isolation and mental health while under quarantine.
Listen to ‘Break The Silence feat. FORD’ by clicking here.
Watch the ‘Break The Silence feat. FORD music video by clicking here.
Velvet Code and FORD first met through a label executive, with Velvet quickly becoming obsessed with FORD’s use of bass and drums. FORD’s extensive experience (with credits on over 375 releases, including 56 Billboard hits) is evident in this new production of ‘Break The Silence’ and was driven by FORD’s initial reaction to the lyrics and message of the track.
“What grabbed me first were the powerful lyrics; totally my kind of anthem,” says FORD. “I wanted the music to match that anthemic vibe with an infectious pounding swing, the kind that makes you drive a little too fast.”
Velvet Code has had a busy 2020. In addition to launching their new LGBTQ+ label without borders, SO FIERCE MUSIC, this fall; the artist also hosts the weekly “Rise To The Rhythm” radio mix-show which is broadcast to over 130 digital, FM and satellite radio stations around the world. In addition to releasing ‘Break The Silence feat. FORD’, Velvet is also preparing for SO FIERCE MUSIC artist Sofonda Cox’s new release ‘Thrive’, arriving Friday, October 16, 2020.
About Velvet Code:
Velvet Code is a Canadian Electronic Music DJ, producer and artist based in Toronto, Canada. As a DJ and music producer, Velvet Code’s influences include DJ Paulo, Laidback Luke, Dada Life, BloodPop, Avicii, Peter Rauhofer, David Guetta and Calvin Harris. Velvet’s music can be described as ‘80s and 90s-influenced electronic dance music (“EDM”), most notably the sub-genres of EDM known as electro-house and progressive. Velvet Code’s weekly radio mixshow, “Rise To The Rhythm,” can now be heard on more than 133 digital, FM and satellite radio stations around the world each week; the stations include Air Gay Radio and House Party Radio on Saturdays, I Need Music Radio on Mondays, EDM Sessions Radio on Thursdays, and Smooth Living 89.8 on Fridays. Velvet is also the founder of SO FIERCE MUSIC, an LGBTQIA+ record label and entertainment services company without borders.
Social Media & Streaming Services: https://compiled.social/velvetcode
One of the hottest Electronic Music Producers in the world, FORD is hitting strides as the Multi-Platinum production & EDM remixing maestro for major labels and stars. With credits on over 375 commercial releases (including 56 Billboard Hits), FORD has been producing music with the biggest stars on the planet for more than 25 years. FORD is recognized as one of the world’s most talented music producers, earning production credits on records selling over 30 million copies world wide.Since 2003, FORD has earned 19 Multi-platinum, Platinum and Gold RIAA sales awards for producing, mixing and remixing many of the world’s biggest artists including: Michael Jackson (for which FORD also earned a RIAA Diamond Award with 13.4 million copies sold), Ludacris, Rob Thomas, and countless other reputable artists.
Cory Stewart Collaborates with NYC Producer Zach Benson to Release 80’s Inspired Track ‘Little Lies’
TORONTO, ON (October 7, 2020) - On October 15, 2020, Canadian pop singer-songwriter Cory Stewart will release his brand new track “Little Lies” via AWAL/Kobalt. The song is co-written and produced by NYC music darling Zach Benson.
The track sees Stewart provide his most impressive vocal performance yet. His “smooth voice” (Jon Ali, Billboard, 2020) and artfully crafted lyrics bring listeners to a place of nostalgia and relatability with a tale-as-old-as-time love story gone wrong. Stewart’s collaboration with rising New York City talent Zach Benson is whimsical, reflective, and the perfect addition to listener’s fall playlists.
“Writing this song with Cory was a perfect little escape from the chaos of quarantine,” says producer and co-writer Zach Benson. “We were instantly bouncing ideas off of each other and trying our hardest to make each other laugh or smile or go ‘yeaaaaahhh’. It’s dancey, it’s sassy, it’s vulnerable, and I’m so stoked for people to hear it!”
“This song was cathartic for me in many ways,” says Stewart. “Although we wrote it with a wronged relationship in mind, Zach was very aware of the fact that I’d lost someone very important in my life. Through it all, Zach gave me a chance to escape my grief and return to what I love, writing music. His commitment to being a friend and a collaborator is absolutely responsible for how amazing this song turned out.”
Over the past few months, Cory has spent a majority of his time working on other upcoming musical collaborations, along with hosting the Official Queerantine Aftershow (a Twitch-based talk show that airs Sundays at 4:45 p.m. EST, highlighting indie LGBTQ+ musicians) as well as spearheading an initiative with Community One Foundation, which awarded $50,000 in COVID-19 relief to drag performers in the Greater Toronto Area.
About Cory Stewart:
Cory Stewart (AWAL/Kobalt) has been described as an artist that creates “fearless, unapologetic and relentlessly catchy” music (Canadian Beats, 2018), providing a fresh perspective on LGBTQ+ issues. Cory has been a supporting act for a number of legendary artists including Boy George, Crystal Waters and Murray Head. Cory is also the host of the Official Queerantine Aftershow, which accompanies the weekly TRL-style indie music showcase show Queerantine, airing Sundays at 4:30 p.m. EST. Stewart’s debut album is expected early 2021.
TORONTO, ON (September 29, 2020) ‐ Fresh off the heels of gifting $50,000 in pandemic relief to drag performers across the Greater Toronto Area, Community One Foundation (a non-profit organization that provides grants to LGBTTIQQ2S+ community projects), is announcing the recipients of their 2020 Rainbow Grants. The Rainbow Grant program, which began in 1980, is one of many foundation initiatives supporting the LGBTTIQQ2S+ community, and has funded millions over the years through donations from individual donors and corporate partners.
For 40 years, Rainbow Grants have helped nurture the early days of many Greater Toronto LGBTTIQQ2S community initiatives, grassroots projects, established organizations, and one-off projects. There are three different tiers of grants awarded; General (for projects or people that are not a part of an organization, charity, or corporation), Foundation (for registered charities) and the newly created James Stewart Rainbow Grant, (available to a charitable organization that provides a transformative project for the betterment of the community for years to come for up to $10,000) – created thanks to a generous bequest from famed mathematician and philanthropist James Stewart.
“Our approach to giving has always been community focused first,” says Community One Foundation co-chair Andrew Mainprize. “With the added challenges of the pandemic, our allocations committee took extra care to make sure the unprecedented $80,000 in grants delivered this year were gifted to the organizations in the GTA who need it most.”
“Community One at its heart has always sought opportunities and connections across our community to identify & support programs/initiatives that will continue to support and enrich the GTA,” says co-chair Terry Greene. “Since 1980, we’ve helped support essential organizations including The 519, Buddies In Badtimes Theatre, Black CAP, The ArQuives, and many others. Now more than ever, we’re grateful to be able to keep our tradition of giving alive during these trying times.”
The following is a list of Rainbow Grant recipients in 2020:
Queer Food Guides – promoting skill-sharing and care in LGBTQ+ communities through food by inviting LGBTQ+ people who are 50 years or older to host cooking classes with an intergenerational audience. Each session will include free food care packages delivered to people from the community who are in need.
Mishmeres Nefashos – an educational workshop for college and high school student organizations and other community groups within the Orthodox Jewish community, creating awareness amongst community members regarding LGBTQ+ issues. The program will empower participants to advocate and work towards more inclusion in their communities.
Cultivate – LGBTQ Yoga Summit – this summit will focus on QTBIPOC yoga practitioners who are striving to create space for marginalized communities. The goal is to enhance knowledge through sharing circles, share practices/models, and offer classes to the community.
Music in Community: Rainbow Writes – music workshops for LGBTTIQQ2S youth hosted at the legendary Phase One Studios. Under the mentorship of successful local LGBTQ2S+ artists, such as Lynx from Random Order, participating youth will collaborate on the creation of original songs of self-expression, advocacy, and celebration for their community.
Pay-it-Forward Community Nurturing – led by Paperhouse Outreach Collective and their youth-leaders. this group will “Pay-It-Forward” by co-hosting a 2-day mini-conference in Toronto, February 2021, for GTA-based 2SLGBTQIAP, Deaf, Mad, disabled, and BIPOC youth and community members.
The POZ-TO Awards - recognizes those who are doing work in the community to raise funds for ASOs and awareness to fight the stigma associated with being HIV+. The 8th annual POZ-To Awards continues to build community and is slated to take place at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.
AQUA: Asian Queer Alliance – providing food/craft socials and educational or skill-building workshops. This group will organize at least one program per month, to support 70 queer Asian cis and trans women and non-binary people in the GTA.
Glory Hole Gallery – the world’s first, and only, miniature gallery space dedicated to the creative talents of LGBTQ2S+ artists; all while pushing the boundaries of creativity within a 12″x 12″ box. The gallery showcases the perspectives of diverse and intersectional LGBTQ2S+ experiences through collaborations, exhibitions, and talks.
Access Me – Boys in Chairs Collective – a new theatre piece created by Boys In Chairs Collective. This will be a co-produced premiere production with Cahoots Theatre at Toronto’s Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.
Searching for Eastman - Will enhance the immersive experience for audiences and adds video projection to stage design to create promotional material for dissemination to theatres.
Bind Safe – an educational video series and downloadable PDF to promote safe binding practices, education around the basics of gender dysphoria, and additional resources where both youth and parents can seek support.
Eating Disorders in the LGBTQ2S Community: A Toolkit for Compassion and Inclusivity for Every Body - creating toolkits, available in both hard copy and electronically, to provide information on eating disorders regarding the unique needs of the LGBTQ2S Community. It will focus on the requirements of the community who are directly affected by disordered eating and also provide guidance to professionals serving them.
Rainbows Pride in Scarborough (RPIS) - Galaxy Photo Express (GPE) continues from Disability Express Photo Shoot, allowing youth to educate and bring awareness to community organizations and the broader community. GPE will offer education, workshops, and training and decrease invisibility around ableism and sexism. GPE empowers LGBTQ2+ youth to become educators and leaders in their own communities.
Rainbow Cultural Adventures: Reducing Social Isolation Through the Arts – provides opportunities for LGBTQ+ seniors to experience Toronto’s cultural landscape through outings (from movies and cultural performances to educational speakers). This project will create connections among LGBTQ+ seniors, provide a sense of belonging, and foster community and pride.
Rainbow GPS Project for Asian LGBTQ Newcomers – an orientation project for East/Southeast Asian LGBTQ newcomers transitioning to live in Toronto. Through monthly drop-in sessions, LGBTQ concepts are introduced including gender identities, coming out, relationships, and online safety by learning the language, culture, and resources to navigate and connect to the Toronto LGBTQ community.
Sistema: Fay and Flay – this project will enable at-risk children ages 6-14 in neighbourhoods across Toronto and who are students in Sistema’s after-school program, to participate in workshops with drag stars Fay & Fluffy.
James Stewart Grant
The Gender Identity, Attraction & Orientation Puppetry Project - focusing on the creation of three educational puppetry performances to be researched, developed, and tested by a group of queer arts professionals and writing experts, eventually to be performed for school children (JK-Grade 1, Grades 2-3, and Grades 4-6) in the GTA.
About Community One:
Established in 1980, Community One Foundation provides grants to LGBTTIQQ2S community projects in Greater Toronto Area including Durham, Halton, Peel and York Regions, focusing on the areas of arts and culture, health and social services, and research and education. The Foundation also promotes community philanthropy through strategic partnerships such as the Bill 7 Award and the LGBT Giving Network.