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Passionate human rights defender and refugee Christopher Nkambwe receives Canada’s largest single cash award in recognition of outstanding LGBTQIA2S+ leadership

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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.

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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.

Website: www.communityone.ca

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CommunityOneFoundation/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/C1Foundation

Instagram: www.instagram.com/C1Foundation

    Canadian Electronic Producer Velvet Code Collaborates with Multi-Platinum NYC Producer FORD on New Release and Music Video for ’Break The Silence’

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    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.

    Website: https://www.sofiercemusic.com

    Social Media & Streaming Services: https://compiled.social/velvetcode

    About FORD: 

    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’

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      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.

      Little Lies will be available for streaming/download on all platforms on October 15, 2020 at http://smarturl.it/corylies (Spotify) and https://smarturl.it/coryliesi (iTunes)

      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.

      Website: www.coryjstewart.com

      Twitter: www.twitter.com/coryjstewart

      Instagram: www.instagram.com/coryjstewart

      Twitch: www.twitch.tv/coryjstewart

        Community One Foundation Awards Over $80,000 to LGBTTIQQ2S+ Initiatives in the Greater Toronto Area

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        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:

        General Grants

        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.

         

        Foundation Grants

        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.

         

        Website: http://www.communityone.ca

        Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CommunityOneFoundation/

        Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/C1foundation

        Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/C1Foundation

          LGBTQIA+ Total Request Live-Inspired Show ‘Queerantine’ Kicks Off Season Two

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          Acclaimed weekly online music video showcase, aimed at supporting up-and-coming indie queer musicians, begins its 10-week run on August 9, 2020

          NEW YORK, NY (August 5, 2020) Queerantine, a one-of-a-kind, weekly music video showcase highlighting artists across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, created and hosted by musical artist Kisos, will make its triumphant return to streaming platform Twitch on Sunday, August 9, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. EST.

          Queerantine’s first season premiered on March 22, 2020 with host Kisos and week one co-host, emerging artist Zach Benson, to support and elevate queer musicians during the pandemic crisis. Over the course of 15 weeks, Queerantine developed a strong, dedicated following among musicians and fans alike, each week celebrating up to 12 independent artist music videos from around the world. With a rotating all-star cast of co-hosts including the likes of Michael Medrano, Raquel Lily, Elliot Jones, NYC DJ Jon Ali and more, Queerantine quickly became the Sunday afternoon event for the world-wide LGBTQIA+ community. Throughout the first season, Queerantine also acted as a fundraising platform, raising over $4500 for Black Lives Matter and $2000 for NYC-based charity G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society).

          “Finding community is HARD! Once the pandemic started and LGBTQ+ meeting places closed, I felt the need to create a platform that not only acted as a digital hangout but also fostered true friendships and connections within the community,” said creator Kisos. “By the end of the first season, we had artists who met over the course of season one, featuring their own new collaborations on the show. That’s when my heart officially melted, and I knew Queerantine was truly making a difference.”

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          Season two of Queerantine promises to bring fans a whole new line-up of exciting, emerging indie LGBTQIA+ music videos and co-hosts, including Miss Eaves, Megan Lenius, Matkai Burmaster among many others. It will also see the debut of The Official Queerantine Aftershow (airing directly after Queerantine) hosted by Toronto-based pop artist Cory Stewart

          Queerantine can be streamed weekly on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. EST starting August 9, 2020 at https://www.twitch.tv/itskisosThe Official Queerantine Aftershow will air directly following the Queerantine broadcast at https://www.twitch.tv/coryjstewart.
           

          About Queerantine: 

          Queerantine is a one-of-a-kind, weekly music video showcase highlighting artists across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, airing on Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. EST, presented by musical artist Kisos.

          Each week host Kisos sources 10 visuals, that he and a co-host can spotlight and react to — live on Twitch (a well-known video live streaming service operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon) while interacting with and inviting an engaged audience to discover new and exciting musical artists in the community.

          Twitter: @queerantineshow

          Instagram: @queerantineshow

          About Kisos: 

          NYC-based moody alt-pop singer Kisos began his career in music publicity in 2014. Soon after, he translated his first music job into his own publicity firm, Miller Place, while simultaneously cultivating a strong following on live-stream service Twitch (twitch.tv/itskisos).

          A regular fixture on outlets such as Billboard Pride, Atwood Magazine, Paper Magazine, Highclouds and Spotify’s own Cosmic Playlists, Out Now and Discover Weekly; Kisos is a strong, quirky and loveable advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

          Along with hosting several weekly live shows on Twitch, Kisos recently released his sophomore EP which has been streamed over 500,000 times across all platforms.

          Website: kisosmusik.com

          Twitter: @itskisos

          Instagram: @itskisos

          About Cory Stewart:

          Cory Stewart (AWAL/Kobalt) has been described as an artist that creates “fearless, unapologetic and relentlessly catchy” music (Canadian Beats), providing a fresh perspective on LGBTQ+ issues. With over 500,000 downloads and streams of his music, Cory has been a supporting act for a number of legendary artists including Boy George, Crystal Waters and Murray Head.

          Website: coryjstewart.com

          Instagram: @coryjstewart

          Twitter: @coryjstewart

            Canadian Electronic Artist Velvet Code Debuts New LGBTQ+ Summer Anthem, “Teenage Dreamer”

            TORONTO, ON – Fresh off the heels of releasing an official remix for Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love” (Universal/Interscope), Velvet Code is making a spectacular return to form with his new single, “Teenage Dreamer”. The song, dropping Friday, July 24, 2020, is accompanied by a cutting-edge, digitally enhanced 4K music video, filmed entirely while in self-isolation.

            Blending vibrant progressive house and electronic influences, “Teenage Dreamer” is the first follow-up single to Velvet Code’s 2019 sophomore album release, “Dreamer”. The song, which is written, produced, mixed and mastered by Velvet Code, is an empowering electronic anthem filled with nostalgic and thought-provoking lyrics; aimed to connect with fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community

            “Over the past few difficult months, I’ve felt compelled to write a song that empowers listeners to continue to dream big and not give up hope,” says Velvet Code. “Teenage Dreamer embodies the joy and happiness I’d like to impart on my amazing supporters as they navigate through these tough times.”

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            In addition to producing and releasing new music, Velvet Code 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. He also hosts a weekly one-hour “Solitary Confinement Saturdays” show on Facebook and Instagram live to an average of 20,000 – 30,000 viewers. Velvet is also in the midst of developing an inclusive LGBTQ+ record label, which will be formally announced later this year.

            “Teenage Dreamer” can be pre-saved here, and will be available on all major music platforms beginning Friday, July 24, 2020, including Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Beatport, Google Play/YouTube, Amazon, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, iHeartRadio, ClaroMusica, Saavn, MediaNet, and Shazam.

             

            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. His 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 second full-length 2019 studio album “Dreamer” was recorded in Toronto, Canada with additional production in New York and Los Angeles. On Dreamer, Velvet Code collaborated with songwriter Wendy Starland (Lady Gaga), with production contributions from Gavin Bradley, Joe Laporta (Sterling Sound NYC), Rob Bryton, Robi Banerji and Scott Kelly (Westlake Studios). 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 Dash Radio’s ElectroCity, Jack’d Up Radio Network and its affiliates, EDMSessions Radio and many others.

            Website: http://www.velvetcode.com

            Social Media & Streaming Services: https://compiled.social/velvetcode

              Local Non-Profit Establishes $50,000 COVID-19 Relief Fund for GTA Drag Community

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              Community One Foundation to provide 100 local drag artists with $500 grants as part of their “We Are Family – Emergency Drag Support Fund” this June.

              TORONTO, ON (May 28, 2020) – In celebration of Pride month in Toronto, Community One Foundation (a non-profit that provides grants to enhance the development of LGBTTIQQ2S communities in the Greater Toronto Area), is announcing Community One Foundation’s We Are Family – Emergency Drag Support Fund — a $50,000 COVID-19 relief program to financially assist local drag artists in the GTA.

              “Drag queens and kings have been the essence of Toronto’s queer community for decades. A hobby for some and a career for others. The drag community has not only been a source of entertainment for all, but they have often been leaders within our cause, fighting for equality, inclusion and rights for all community members,” says Community One Foundation board member Sam Katz.

              “While the drag community has moved to online platforms, the tips do not compare to the revenue they were generating in the bar and club scene. With additional event cancellations, including Pride, our drag family is financially devastated,” adds board member Cory Stewart.

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              Community One Foundation will distribute 100 grants of $500 each, to eligible, in-need community members. To qualify for a grant, drag artists must be residents of the Greater Toronto Area, attribute drag revenue as a significant source of regular income, and require funds for essential living. Applicants can apply by visiting www.bit.ly/c1drag. Applications are now open and will close on Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

              With an over 40 year history, Community One Foundation has provided financial support to countless LGBTTIQQ2S projects and organizations in the GTA including The 519, Buddies in Bad Times, Black CAP, Toronto PFLAG, Inside Out, Asian Community AIDS Services, Toronto People with AIDS Foundation, Rainbow Railroad and many others.

              Upon delivering grants to selected applicants, organizers of the “We Are Family – Emergency Drag Relief Fund” are hopeful to extend further grants to support additional in-need segments of the LGBTTIQQ2S community, but depend on public donations to continue in their efforts. To donate to this Community One Foundation initiative, please visit www.communityone.ca.

               

              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.

              Website: www.communityone.ca

              Facebook: www.facebook.com/CommunityOneFoundation/

              Twitter: www.twitter.com/C1Foundation

                The Q Review Kicks Off Pride Month with “One Love Live!” Virtual Queer Music Festival

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                The three-day celebration (May 29 – 31) will feature live music performances, panels, drag performances, and more with LGBTQ+ artists from around the world.

                TORONTO, ON (May 20, 2020) – With the disappointing news of cancelled Pride festivals sweeping the globe, The Q Review (a Canada-based online outlet, covering independent LGBTQ+ musicians worldwide) announces “One Love Live!”, a virtual queer music festival taking place May 29 – 31, 2020. The three-day online event will feature a collection of live music performances, panel discussions, a new music release party, drag performances, a special edition of Queerantine (an online “MTV Total Request Live-style” LGBTQ+ music video show) and more.

                “Each year, Pride festivals have a unique and magical way of uniting LGBTQ+ people to celebrate our victories, look to the future and remember how far we’ve come,” says Q Review founder Kenney Fitzpatrick. “Creating this virtual queer music festival is more than just about replacing the physical one. In this new normal we’re living in, we have the ability to reach audiences and showcase all the amazing talent thriving in the queer music community. Through a larger lens, this festival will also allow connections to be made with queer youth who may not be in safe and accepting spaces during these socially distant times. It’s about reaching out to them to let them know they’re not alone.”

                “One Love Live!” boasts a jam-packed schedule throughout its three-day run, and will be simultaneously broadcast via Zoom and twitch.tv platforms. Opening on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. EST and closing on Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 11:00 p.m. EST, the full schedule can be viewed below, or by clicking here.

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                For Zoom and twitch.tv link announcements, along with full artist and participant bios, please visit: https://www.qreview.ca/one-love-live.html

                 

                About The Q Review: 

                Established in 2018, The Q Review serves as a voice for the independent LGBTQ+ artist. As the only outlet of its kind, The Q Review creates opportunities for the advancement and appreciation of LGBTQ+ music and artistry across the globe. The outlet continues to expose the latest and best LGBTQ artists and their music with reviews, the Q32 music chart, the Q Review Podcast, the New Q New Release Playlist, interviews, features and more!

                Website: www.qreview.ca

                Weekly Podcast: Spotify | iTunes

                Q32 Weekly LGBTQ+ Music Chart: www.qreview.ca/q-32-chart.html

                Instagram: www.instagram.com/theqreviews

                Twitter: www.twitter.com/theqreviews

                Facebook: www.facebook.com/theqreviews

                 

                For more information, photos or interview requests, please contact:

                Danielle Watson

                Embrace Disruption PR 

                danielle@embracedisruption.com

                  Twelve Seriously Ill Canadian Children Aim to Raise $30,000 for Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada Over The Holidays

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                  TORONTO, ON (December 10, 2019) – This holiday season, 12 thoughtful seriously ill children are working with Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada to provide toys to hospitalized sick kids across Canada. Each with the goal of raising $2,500, the Starlight children are being matched and supported by several generous sponsors and celebrity ambassadors. The campaign, aptly named “12 Kids of Starlight”, aims to raise a total of $30,000 for the charity.

                  “Each year, thousands of children’s hospital beds are filled with kids who are too sick to go home for the holidays or celebrate with their families and loved ones. Kids who may not have a chance to celebrate another holiday,” says Starlight Canada executive director Brian Bringolf. “The donations received over the next month will help Starlight bring a bit of normalcy, comfort and joy to over 100 children’s wards this holiday season.”

                  Joining the 12 children (listed below) in their impressive philanthropic efforts are a number of generous sponsors who have agreed to match funds raised by each child. Sponsors include Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, iFinance, Access Storage, CANADALEND.COM, Serve Construction Ltd., Alutron Modules, Magen Boys, Gluckstein Lawyers, Hunter Dental, and grand prize sponsor Air Canada Foundation.

                  Additionally, many well-known Canadians are showing their online support for the 12 Starlight kids including Rick and Angie Campanelli, Ann Kaplan (Real Housewives of Toronto), Hilary Farr (Love It or List It), Simone Denny (Love Inc.), Cindy Sampson (Private Eyes) and many more.

                  Interested donors to the 12 Kids of Starlight campaign can visit https://12kids.starlightcanada.org/ for more information. For each $10 donation, names are entered in a prize pool draw which includes exclusive items such as two Economy Class return tickets for any scheduled Air Canada destination in North America, including Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean; 14K Yellow Gold Diamond Earrings; an Ultimate Day of Golf package from Lebovic Golf Club and many more.

                   

                  Meet the 12 Kids of Starlight (view photos by clicking here)

                  Alisha

                  Alisha was born not breathing and without a heartbeat for a staggering 26 minutes. This led to multiple organ failure and brain damage. As a result, Alisha has had 33 anaesthesia’s, a lot of daily medication and a g-tube to be fed at night. She has also received a kidney transplant. Alisha has spent 4 Christmases and birthdays in hospital. Through Starlight, Alisha gets some breaks from her worries so she can just have fun!

                  Qadim

                  Qadim has Angelman’s syndrome, a neurological condition which affects coordination, cognitive development, and speech. Although he is non-verbal and requires many days in the hospital each year, Qadim is rarely without a smile on his face and is keen to always help other people. Through Starlight, Qadim has seen a whole new, accessible side of life and loves every adventure he goes on!

                  Avery

                  Avery was born at just 28 weeks gestation and immediately spent the first three months of her life in the NICU. During those first few days she had a major brain bleed which led to fluid on the brain and the development of spastic hemiplegia – a form of cerebral palsy. Now, a huge Shawn Mendes fan and a girl discovering her passions, Avery turns to Starlight to help her have fun days out in between her hospital visits.

                  Delainey

                  Delainey was born with a rare chromosome abnormality: Full Trisomy 13 / Patau syndrome. With just a 10% chance of surviving to her first birthday, now 7-years-old Delainey is defying all the odds. She was super excited to see Barbie + Fashionistas Wheelchair doll released this year, and with the help of her family, is spreading the word that inclusivity and representation in toys is vital for the critically ill community!

                  Madison

                  Madison has cerebral palsy and nephrotic syndrome. Her life has been filled with appointments, therapies, surgeries and doctors appointments. Being a part of Starlight’s programs, ensures that Madison and her family have time to spend together, to have a break from the treatments, and be around other families going through similar situations as themselves.

                  Mia

                  Mia has the degenerative and chronic condition cystic fibrosis, which causes thicker, stickier mucus than usual to accumulate in many vital organs of the body. Despite this disease having no cure, a strict daily medication schedule and an inability to meet people with the same condition due to the risk of cross infection, Mia lives life to the fullest and ensures she can have fun with Starlight through our programming.

                  Cole

                  Cole has an unknown form of Muscular Dystrophy, severe scoliosis, a single kidney, deafness in his left ear, asthma and a feeding tube. Despite this plethora of illnesses, Cole finds ways to do everything that his friends are able to do, including racing in cars at Starlight’s Drive 4 Smiles event! Cole constantly proves to people that no matter what obstacles lay in your way, you can still live life to the fullest!

                  Cori

                  Cori has a lesion in her brain which causes seizures and sudden paralysis. Not knowing when an attack will occur or what side effects her endless medications will bring, her illness limits a lot of fun in life. But with Starlight’s accessible events and not taking ‘no’ for an answer when it comes to inclusion, Cori knows she’s not alone when she meets other people who have similar challenges to her.

                  Ella

                  Ella was both with a heart defect called transposition of the great arteries. Though 9 heart surgeries before the age of 5, this young girl has to take lots of medication each day. Despite all this, Ella always has a smile for everyone. Being the 2018 Starlight Bear designer, she loved showing people ‘Sparkles’ and help raise awareness for the heart community.

                  Joshua

                  Joshua has been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and juvenile arthritis, meaning that every day he experiences pain and aching in his joints, hyper-mobility and has no idea when his joints might dislocate and cause him pain. After experience a Once In A Lifetime wish with Starlight, where he was completely pain free for a week, Joshua is making it his mission that all sick children can smile and feel the happiness he does with Starlight!

                  Tristan

                  Tristan was diagnosed with DIPG at three years old – cancer of the brain stem, an almost non-survivable diagnosis. In his last months, Starlight granted Tristan his wish of playing the newest Pokémon game before its release, along with a whole truckload of toys. Tristan passed away in June 2018, but today, his parents fundraise for Starlight to both raise awareness and grant other children opportunities like this.

                  Sarah

                  Sarah was first diagnosed with leukemia in October 2012. Despite numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, she has unfortunately relapsed three times, fighting this illness again now for the fourth. Throughout her journey, Starlight has provided Sarah and her family with day trips and events that help them remember better days, and look forward to the next one coming up.

                  About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada

                  Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada does what no medicine can do: create priceless smiles and memories for seriously ill children and their families. For over 30 years, Starlight Canada has been spreading joy to sick kids across the country through a unique blend of hospital to home programs designed for the whole family. With your help, together we can create more magic in-hospital, grant more wishes out-of-hospital and spread more sparkles across Canada!

                  You can keep up to date with Starlight smiles and support our mission by visiting www.starlightcanada.org, following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

                    Fashion Retailer and Canadian Charity Team Up to Bring Designer Hospital Gowns to Sick Children Over the Holidays

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                    The Ardene Foundation and Starlight Children’s Foundation™ Canada bring the comfort and fashion of the WARD + ROBES program to over 100 Canadian hospitals

                     

                    TORONTO, ON - This holiday season, the Ardene Foundation, the dedicated charity organization of fashion retailer Ardene, has pledged to bring Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada’s globally recognized WARD + ROBES program to over 100 hospitals across Canada. The Starlight Children’s Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to creating priceless smiles and memories to seriously ill children and their families. Its WARD + ROBES program is an initiative that provides stylish and unique hospital gowns to sick children, helping them feel more empowered while in the hospital.

                    The WARD + ROBES gowns, designed by Toronto fashion house Notion Mfg., are 100% Canadian-made, with fabric that exceeds hospital grade standards. Design features include pockets for monitors, four ties for full back coverage and access areas for IVs and ports. With over 20 ever-changing unique designs, the WARD + ROBES gowns are fashioned to cater to a variety of interests for hospitalized teens, one of the most underserved patient populations.

                    In 2016, Starlight Canada began offering WARD + ROBES to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in partnership with Rethink Canada. This year, Ardene Foundation’s significant contribution to the program will make the gowns available in hospitals across all 10 Canadian provinces, just in time for the holidays.

                    Starlight-Canadas-Ward-Robes

                    “The holidays are often seen as a time of celebration and cheer, however many of our Starlight children will be spending them within the confines of a hospital room, fearful for what the future may bring,” says Starlight Canada executive director Brian Bringolf. “WARD + ROBES help seriously ill children regain a sense of identity during uncertain times. Through the generous support of the Ardene Foundation, our Starlight kids can find a reason to smile through a particularly difficult and isolating hospitalization period.”

                    “Ardene and Starlight have worked together for several years, and we continue to be proud of our ongoing partnership. The [Ardene] Foundation’s goal is to fuel the dreams of future generations and shape a better world. By supporting the WARD + ROBES program, we hope to inspire a sense of confidence, joy, and hope for children and teens in need.” says Ardene Foundation Director Mark Dervishian.

                    Over the past five years, the Ardene Foundation has contributed over a million dollars for Starlight Canada’s in and out-of-hospital programming. Along with being the National Sponsor of Starlight Canada’s WARD + ROBES, Ardene annually sponsors a number of other Starlight initiatives including: the Starlight/Ardene Room at Montreal Children’s Hospital (a beautifully designed and fun-filled playroom, created to get kids through long, boring and scary hospital stays); Great Escapes Wishes (a variety of exclusive events, including screenings, harbour cruises, holiday parties, sporting events, picnics and more); Fun Centers (Internet-ready, sanitized, mobile entertainment units featuring a flat-screen, gaming system and digital games and movies for all ages) and fundraising events such as the Starlight Gala, Ski-A-Thon and Tea & Tiaras.

                    Also over the month of December, Ardene is conducting a nation-wide, in-store fundraising campaign, in which holiday shoppers can donate $1 at checkout to Starlight Canada’s WARD + ROBES program. To help support Ardene in their pledge to bring happiness to hospitalized children this holiday season, make a donation at one of their 300 Canadian locations: https://www.ardene.com/ca/en/stores/

                    About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada

                    Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada does what no medicine can do: create priceless smiles and memories for seriously ill children and their families. For over 30 years, Starlight Canada has been spreading joy to sick kids across the country through a unique blend of hospital to home programs designed for the whole family. With your help, together we can create more magic in-hospital, grant more wishes out-of-hospital and spread more sparkles across Canada!

                    You can keep up to date with Starlight smiles and support our mission by visiting www.starlightcanada.org, following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

                    About Ardene

                    Ardene is the ultimate value fashion destination in North America and beyond. With 350+ stores in Canada, an expanding international presence, and a growing e-commerce business at ardene.com, the company is inspired by the ever-changing world of its customers. Ardene believes that fashion shouldn’t be exclusive or intimidating – it should be real, and it should be celebrated with youthful confidence and fearless enthusiasm. The company’s mission is to connect with customers by offering unique and inspiring fashion experiences at the best prices.

                    About Ardene Foundation

                    The Ardene Foundation is Ardene’s dedicated charity organization, committed to community initiatives and social responsibility. The Foundation’s mission is to inspire meaningful change in the realms of empowerment, poverty, education, and health by leveraging the strength of the Ardene community. Their ultimate goal is to make a positive local and global impact that improves lives and fuels the dreams of future generations.

                    Learn more about The Ardene Foundation by visiting www.ardenefoundation.org.

                     

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