In 1980, a group of lesbian and gay activists founded the Gay Community Appeal, raising funds for community projects and organizations. Soon after, the name changed to the Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal, or LGCA.
Every year the Appeal held face-to-face fundraisers like S.O.S. (Supporting Our Selves) and hosted events like Fruit Cocktail theatrical productions and the Fruitcup gala, raising money for organizations that became the backbone of Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community – The 519, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Black CAP, Toronto PFLAG, Asian Community AIDS Services, the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives, Toronto People With AIDS Foundation, Sherbourne Health Centre and the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, amongst many others.
In 1987, the LGCA helped start the Bill 7 Award, a scholarship program for LGBT+ students, and in 2007 the LGBT Giving Network, connecting LGBT-serving groups with one another to inspire leadership, action and community philanthropy. The LGCA encouraged other community groups obtain registered charitable status, thus strengthening their own fundraising capacity.
Community One continues this spirit, focusing on marginalized communities as we choose grant recipients, helping them to create an independent, autonomous support network. In 2008, the LGCA became the Community One Foundation, a name better representative of the diverse community we serve, but we have stayed our commitment to funding important initiatives in the 2SLGBTTIQQ community.
Karen Arthurton (she/her) – bio coming soon!
Director of Philanthropy, Crow’s Theatre
Sam Katz (he/him) is the Co-Chair of Community One Foundation. He is an award-winning non-profit leader with 16+ years of fundraising experience. Sam is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and a member in good standing with the ‘Association for Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP). He is currently the Director of ‘Philanthropy at Crow’s Theatre’. Sam considers his superpower to be his authenticity, allowing him to build meaningful relationships with Canada’s leading philanthropists. He has a fortitude for up scaling and amplifying multi- streams of fundraising revenue. Sam prides himself on his creativity, innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, and preference to colour outside the lines. He has successfully closed over $30 million in gifts and pledges for affordable housing, homelessness, social services, the arts and educational institutions. Sam is extremely passionate about the LGBTQ2S+ community in Toronto and the work of Community One Foundation. He co- led the $50,000 ‘We are Family – Emergency Drag Support Fund’ at the beginning of the pandemic, to support dozens of local artists when the city was in lockdown. Sam believes that Community One Foundation is a staple of our community, without whom organizations like Buddies in Bad Times, The 519, Inside/Out LGBT Film Festival and many more, may not have existed! He looks forward to continuing to increase the foundation’s support of individuals and community organizations.
Four Seasons Resorts, Philanthropist
Andrew Mainprize (he/him) brings over 15 years of strategy, operations and change management experience in the telecommunications, real estate and hospitality industries. Among his accomplishments is the development and advancement of organizational culture initiatives, such as setting up employee resource groups to ensure the voice of the worker is a profound consideration in shaping a company’s culture. Andrew has maintained strong ties to the community, including his involvement with Pride festivities and volunteering for LGBT organizations in both Toronto and London, Ontario for the past 20 years. Andrew strongly believes in Community One and the positive impact they have made for both groups and individuals within the community. He is committed to helping the foundation continue to grow in line with the needs of those we support.
Community HIV, Mental Health and Addictions Consultant
Kevin Borden (he/him) has spent more than 25 years working and volunteering in the LGBTTIQQ2S community, gaining vital experience in supporting underserved, underprivileged, disadvantaged and disenfranchised populations across the GTA. Prior to joining Community One, Kevin was a member of the Daily Bread Food Bank Board of Directors for six years, serving his final three years as part of the executive committee. While enjoying a well-earned early retirement, Kevin is still involved with and working in the community on temporary projects.
Leon So (he/him) has years of professional experience in Finance and Accounting. He has worked in various financial audit & risk management roles in TD Bank Group and Deloitte LLP Canada. He currently serves as the Senior Manager for the Global Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Advisory Group in TD Bank, leading a team of AML professionals to deter money laundering and terrorist financing. He is also a standing member of Chartered Professional Accountant, Charted Accountant (CPA, CA) and Charted Financial Analyst (CFA).
Leon has been very active in supporting initiatives for marginalized communities including newcomers to Canada, people with disabilities and LGBTTIQQ2S members across the GTA. He is passionate in Community One’s vision to continue to grow and serve our community.
African Centre of Refugees in Ontario, Activist
Christopher Nkambwe (she/her) is a Black Transgender Woman activist, human rights defender and a community advocate from Uganda. She arrived in Canada on June 1st 2019 and she started her journey as a refugee claimant in the city of Toronto, Canada. In class 2018 Christopher was a ‘Women Deliver Young’ leader and became shortly afterwards the founder of the ‘African Centre for Refugees’ in Ontario. In October 2019, Christopher successfully registered her charity organization that supports vulnerable LGBTIQ2S+ refugees from the African Continent and in September 2020, she was selected to sit on the Advisory Committee of the Ontario Council for ‘Agencies Serving Immigrants under the Positive Space Initiative’ that supports the settlement sector to more effectively serve LGBTIQ2S+ newcomers.
November 5th 2020, Christopher was honored with the ‘Steinert and Ferreiro Award’ which is Canada’s largest single cash award recognized by LGBTIQ2S+ leadership. This is where Christopher’s journey started with Community One Foundation by being selected as a committee member of the ‘Rainbow grants’ of this year. Christopher was announced as the winner of the ‘January Marie Lapuz Youth leadership’ award which recognizes young leaders who are advocates for the LGBTQ2S+ community. In October 2021, Christopher was honored with the ‘Jack Layton Activism Award’ from the ‘Institute of Change Leaders’ for her collective strength to organize transformative change in every conceivable way.
Currently, she is the Board Chairperson of ‘Royal Rays Initiative Uganda Organization’ that is devoted to providing free services and empowerment that build self- sufficiency to LGBTIQ2S+ people in Uganda.
Writer, Wellness Speaker & Stand-up Comedian
Michelle Doyle (she/her) is a writer, wellness speaker, and stand-up comedian who has spoken on mental health and stress management in environments ranging from hospitals to conference halls to multinational corporation boardrooms for over a decade. She is a passionate human rights activist who has volunteered with ‘Amnesty International’ since 2009, and has been involved with other organizations including ‘360°Kids’. She is also a former marketing and branding executive who is honoured to bring her years of experience to the ‘Community One’ board.
Empowering Individuals to Shape a Better Future, Community Leader
Michael Schneider (they/them) – bio coming soon!
Artist, Canadian Singer and Songwriter
Jerushah Wright (she/her) is Community One’s latest addition being our Board Administrator. She is committed to connecting us with our community that has been built and reflects the diversity of our society. She plans to extend her talents in providing a discrimination-free environment, characterized by respect and equity. She represents and reflects Community One’s values, visions and will be the first and last impression of this wonderful organization. With her contribution we as a growing organization will have many additions to how we connect and operate with our community.
In partnership with Supporting Our Youth, the Community One Foundation is a co-sponsoring agency of the Bill 7 Award. The Bill 7 Award is a registered charitable trust that awards scholarships to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer and 2-spirited students, resident in Ontario and in financial need in any post-secondary institution in Ontario, attaining their first degree. The Award is named after the 1986 Ontario legislation that extended the protection of the Human Rights Code to lesbians and gays. Since its inception in 1988, we have been working hard to increase the number and size of the bursaries available. In recent years, we have been able to award four bursaries of $2,000 each. In total so far, over $60,000 has been presented to students in the queer community. All the money has been raised through donations. Visit www.bill7award.ca for more information.
The Community One Foundation is proud to be a co-founding member of the LGBT Giving Network, a group of organizations working together to engage and cultivate lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and allied donors to help secure leadership gifts and long-term financial support to build stronger LGBT communities in Canada. The Network was formed in 2007 to address the need for improved engagement between non-profit charities, donors and businesses interested in LGBT communities and issues. Its founding member organizations represent a cross-section of the diverse LGBT communities. LGBT philanthropy is increasing in Canada and the purpose of this network is to build the collective understanding of the financial implications of philanthropy, nurture the relationship between donors and charities and to provide a point of contact for businesses and supporters. Activities of the Network include:
Visit www.lgbtgivingnetwork.org for more information.