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Smile Theatre Announces $200,000 Gift From Donna & Gary Slaight

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The Slaight family donation of $200,000 is the largest, one-time contribution ever made to Smile Theatre in its 50 year history.

Smile Theatre Announces $200,000 Gift From Donna & Gary Slaight

On the eve of its 50th year, Donna & Gary Slaight have made a transformational gift to Smile Theatre in honour of the lifelong contributions of Bob Johnstone, a pioneer in the province of Ontario's arts and culture scene.

The Slaight family donation of $200,000 is the largest, one-time contribution ever made to Smile Theatre in its 50 year history, and establishes The Bob Johnstone Development Fund which focuses on three priorities: building on Smile's innovative programming, community engagement, and sustaining the organization's operations.

Smile Theatre is Canada's first and only charitable theatre company that creates interactive performances for isolated seniors and people living in long-term care institutions. Each year, Smile's innovative arts programs reach over 28,000 isolated people in Long Term care, across southern Ontario, and virtually across Canada during the COVID19 pandemic.

"Donna & Gary Slaight have been such champions for the arts in our country, and to Smile over the last 25 years", said John Goddard, Chair of the Board of Smile Theatre. "This is a transformational investment in Smile Theatre and honours the lifelong commitment of Bob Johnstone to Smile Theatre, and the arts in our province."

For over 30 years, Bob Johnstone has been a champion for the arts and its transformational power in enriching the lives of all Ontarians from every walk of life. Earlier in his career, Johnstone was Deputy Minister for Culture and the Arts in the Ontario government, and later in life was a leader, donor and advocate in the arts community. This includes being a strong supporter of Smile Theatre over two decades, as a patron, community champion, and board member.

"I cannot think of a better recognition of Bob's lifelong contribution to the arts and to Smile than this extraordinary gift from Slaight family in his honour," said Tom Carson, Executive Director of Smile Theatre. "The Bob Johnstone Development Fund will strengthen our innovative programming and help us reach more people in isolation by bringing some happiness and joy to their lives."

Smile's innovative programming is designed to support seniors and others that are isolated and experiencing loneliness with performances that bring happiness, joy, and a sense of connection. Smile's audience is unique and includes seniors and people living in long-term care institutions, many without friends or family.

The contribution by Donna & Gary Slaight comes on the eve of Smile's 50th Anniversary, and kicks off a campaign that is engaging patrons, corporations, and foundations in support of Smile's important work: to bring happiness and joy to seniors and others who are isolated and alone. For more information about Smile and to join our campaign, please visit www.thesmilecompany.org


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