Slaight family donates $15 million to fund healthcare and education for impoverished women, girls

The funds will help improve menstrual hygiene management for girls with genital mutilation, reduce child marriage, reduce child soldier recruitment and improve access to HIV prevention-services

Former Nigerian Education Minister and Vice-President of the World Bank's Africa division (3rd L) Obiageli Ezekwesilieze speaks as she leads a march of Nigeria women and mothers of the kidnapped girls of Chibok, calling for their freedom in Abuja on April 30, 2014. PHILIP OJISUA/AFP/Getty Images

The Slaight Family Foundation has announced that it will donate $15 million to international organizations to fund impoverished women and girls’ access to healthcare, education and legal support.
To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, the foundation will distribute the funds among 15 non-profit organizations — including the Canadian Red Cross, Save The Children, World Vision, UNICEF Canada, Crossroads International — all working in poverty-stricken, conflict-affected areas in the Middle East and Africa to mitigate issues affecting women and children.

“The project we are funding will leverage the expertise of these vital organizations to protect women and girls in the most fragile countries from direct harm, rebuild the lives of those who have been unjustly affected by conflict, deprivation and disease and give them the tools and support the need to survive and thrive,” said Gary Slaight, CEO of Slaight Communications.

The funds will support programs to improve menstrual hygiene management for school-aged girls in Somalia who are victims of female genital mutilation, reduce child marriage in Mali, increase literacy rates in children and improve access to HIV prevention-services in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, founded by retired Canadian senator Romeo Dallaire, will also receive money to support programs reducing child soldier recruitment and conflict-based sexual violence.
Gary Slaight celebrates his Humanitarian Award at the Juno Gala Dinner and Awards show in Vancouver, Saturday, March 24, 2018. Jonathan Hayward /  The Canadian Press
The donation will also help a Human Rights Watch program documenting the abuses of male guardianship over women in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as a War Child program that gives legal support to those affected by the gender-based violence in countries such as Afghanistan, Uganda and Iraq.

“The investment in international NGOs is unprecedented and the projects being supported will directly assist more than one million women and girls in some of the world’s most fragile regions,” said Samantha Nutt, president of War Child Canada.
“For the Slaight Family Foundation to recognize the threats faced by women and girls, and acknowledge that their concerns matter with such a historic gift, is a profound message to send. On behalf of the entire group, we extend our sincerest gratitude to the Slaight Family Foundation for their incredible support of our collective work.”
Gary Slaight is a Canadian businessman and media entrepreneur known for his philanthropic endeavours as well as for his 2005 induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. His father, Allan, who owns Slaight Communications, is a rock-and-roll radio pioneer and also an active philanthropist.

Since 2013, the foundation has been donating to strategic initiatives targeting healthcare, global humanitarianism, youth advancement and Indigenous issues. Last year, the foundation donated $30 million to various Toronto hospitals, national health organizations and the United Way to support measures advancing community support and healthcare for Canadian seniors.



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