Our final interview featuring members of our fantastic volunteer board is here. This week: get to know our Co-Chair and Board Member, Sam Katz, who has been a valued part of Community One Foundation since 2018!
How did you first learn of Community One?
I attended a fundraiser at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in 2014 to support Community One. It was at this event that I learned of the fantastic work that Community One does to support our local community!
What is your role and for long have you been involved?
I am the Co-Chair of Community One Foundation and I have been volunteering with the organization since 2018. I have previously assisted with the Rainbow Grants Allocation Committee and helped launch our $50,000 Emergency Drag Fund last year to support 2SLQBQ+ artists during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It was so heart-warming to me for us to be able to give back (during such an urgent time) to the drag community – who have historically fought for our community and rights time and time again! Look at Priyanka, winner of Ru Paul’s Drag Race Canada, and how she uses her platform to raise awareness for Black Lives Matter, Indigenous rights, and so much more. Drag Queens and Kings still need our support. Remember to generously tip your locals! 🙂
Why is Community One important to you?
Community One is important to me because it’s like a family. We are a diverse group of volunteers that represent the community we serve. Community One is historically responsible for keeping the roof on Buddies during difficult times, giving seed funding for The 519 and The Inside Out Film Festival – Community One has been there during such pivotal moments in our community. It should be important to all of us. We are family!
Do you have a favourite memory/initiative with Community One?
Definitely the Drag Fund that I referred to above! I will never forget the generosity of the queens who helped encourage those to apply and who have supported Community One throughout the years. We knew there was a demand for funds but we didn’t realize it would be so enormous. It’s important as things begin to reopen that we remember to support artists and other members of our community who have suffered the most during this difficult time for all.
As Community One is a volunteer board, what other roles do you take on in your time?
During the daytime, I’m the Director of Development at Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth. Eva’s is an award-winning organization that provides shelter, transitional housing, and programming to help youth experiencing homelessness reach their full potential and lead productive, inter-dependent, and healthy lives. Recognized by Charity Intelligence as a Top 10 Canadian Impact Charities of 2020, Eva’s was founded in 1989, by Eva Smith, a Jamaican immigrant, advocate, and activist. Eva’s consists of three unique shelters located across Toronto, houses 123 young people, aged 16-24, each night and includes a full-service Print Shop social enterprise. At Eva’s we work with each young person to develop an achievable action plan, which includes employment and training, building of life skills and developing an education plan, to help them obtain their goals and build brighter futures, free from homelessness. https://www.evas.ca/
I’m also the volunteer Fundraising Chair of the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association, another local organization that greatly supports our community! http://www.cwna.ca/
I also provide advice and support to charities and nonprofits on a variety of issues. For more information visit https://fundraisingwithsam.com/
What do you want people to know about Community One Foundation?
Community One has had an enormous impact on our community in Toronto for more than 40 years. But we wouldn’t be able to support all of our Rainbow Grant recipients and fund other incredible community organizations without the continued support of our community! Times are hard, but if you are able to please consider making a donation to our organization that continues to support us all.