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Toronto Makes a Splash for Haiti

On the afternoon of Sunday, September 8th over 300 of our incredible supporters wore their hearts on their sleeves and shared in an afternoon of song, story and swimming (!) for the annual Artists for Peace and Justice Festival Lunch. Co-hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos, Pascal Raffy, Diane Bald and Michael Budman at the Budman’s private family residence, the fifth annual Bovet 1822 and Artists for Peace and Justice Festival Lunch presented with Roots Canada celebrated the work of APJ in Haiti – and made quite a splash!

Maria Bello, dressed in a bright red designer suit and Louboutins, jumped into the pool fully clothed to raise $20,000 in the live auction. Later, when the auctioneers spotted an iPhone at the bottom of the pool, pop graphic artist Peter Tunney made the plunge and brought the device to dry land. This was just the beginning of the action as everyone took time out of their busy film festival schedules to support APJ. Adrien Brody and Moran Atias spoke about the work of APJ and the value of everyone coming together for this important cause. Making a quick stopover in Toronto from Tokyo while on world tour, Michael Bolton was brilliant as two women won the bid to be serenaded by the award-winning singer with his hit song “When A Man Loves A Woman.” Colin Firth and Jason Sudeikis showed their support and attended the lunch. The 300 person ticketed event also featured musical performances by Grammy-award-winning vocalist, producer and songwriter Daniel Lanois and prolific singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright.

“Each year our friends in Hollywood and Toronto come together during the film festival to celebrate our work and to keep the spotlight on Haiti and our life-changing programs. We’re so proud and excited of everything we have been able to achieve. Our remarkable supporters have ensured that we can welcome 2,000 high school students back to school this year, and I am so grateful for their help.”

Olivia Wilde, an APJ board member since the very beginning, told a moving anecdote of having met a young Haitian boy named Wilson who vows to one day be the president of the United States. She spoke of the care that this young boy takes to ensure that his school uniform is immaculate and his homework is perfect; tasks that Wilde, as a schoolgirl, didn’t necessarily pay attention to or consider so important. Wilson places such a high value on his education that he considers his teachers to be heroes, his stars.

“We made a commitment to Haiti for the long-term. We believe that every human being deserves a chance. Through the generosity of our 300 guests we’re providing free high school and college education, we’re giving these kids the tools they need to live and thrive, and everyone can help.”

“We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to all of our attendees and our major sponsors Bovet 1822, Roots Canada and Audi Canada for helping make this event possible,” says CEO, David Belle. “I would also like to personally thank Diane Bald and Michael Budman for their generosity as this year’s co-hosts and to give an additional thank you to all past and present event organizing committee members, partners and volunteers who have helped to make APJ in Canada such an enormous success.”

For photos from the event click here!

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