30 November 2009 Toronto warms to ORT ORT Toronto President Madam Justice Sandra Chapnik was delighted by the atmosphere, which was generated in part by the performance of award-winning Nuevo Flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook as well as the relative intimacy of the gathering in the Carlu, a city-centre venue boasting Art Moderne splendour. Justice Chapnik said that the past two years efforts to raise ORTs profile had put it back on Torontos philanthropic and social radar. The profile has been raised considerably and I think that this event will raise it even more. It was a spectacular evening with four remarkable honourees who touted the importance of ORT and its benefits for students around the world, she said. More than 300 people attended, which is not high by Toronto standards; but we know of other events where they had more people but netted less than the $288,000 which we did, Justice Chapnik said. This is thanks in no small part to the many generous sponsors and guests who supported the event.. Left to right, Madame Justice Sandra Chapnik – ORT Toronto President, Charles S. Coffey, O.C. – Master of Ceremony, Ruth Druxerman – Past ORT Toronto President. At the heart of the evening was the presentation of the 2009 Local Hero Award to four people: Isabel Bassett, Lou Milrad, Dr Arnold Noyek and Dorothy Shoichet. As Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote in the programme, these outstanding individuals have donated their time, talent and energy to supporting ORT Toronto in its mission to provide educational and training opportunities to some of the most vulnerably citizens of Canada and the world Their exemplary passion, leadership and dedication have earned them the respect and admiration of their peers, and their commitment to making a difference has had far-reaching benefits. A former minister of culture in the Ontario government, Ms Bassett speaks and campaigns on behalf of womens issues and volunteers for several organisations. Mr Milrad is a lawyer, educator, author and Chair of the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance as well as a member of the Kids Internet Safety Alliance. Dr Noyek is founder of the Canada International Scientific Exchange Programme and has brought communities together and promoted medication education in the Middle East. And Ms Shoichet, who was President of ORT Toronto between 1972 and 1976 and President of ORT Canada for the following four years, works towards bettering the life experiences of every member of the community in part through her major contributions to the arts in Toronto. World ORT Director General Robert Singer addressed the event, relaying a message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulating ORT on its 130th anniversary and commending it on its global efforts to achieve education for all. Mr Singer thanked ORT Toronto for all the work that you have put in not just for tonights Gala but for all the effort and energy that you devote to ORT. And he co-wrote a greeting for the event programme together with World ORT President Dr Jean de Gunzburg. In it they thanked the loyal patrons of ORT in Toronto and asked for continued help to meet the needs of current and future projects. As we look back we have countless achievements to be proud of, many of which would not have been possible without the devotion of supporters such as you, they wrote. As we look forward we know that our work will never end and we still face continuing demands on our skills and on our resources. This year more than ever, ORT is relying on the much-need funding from our donor countries and we are appealing to your good will and generosity, which you have demonstrated so many times in the past. Greetings were also sent by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, David Onley, who, as the Queens representative, commended ORT Toronto for its ongoing achievements. In his message, the Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, thanked those attending the event and congratulated the honourees: Ontarians belief in extending a helping hand to those in need is one of the cornerstones of our caring and compassionate society. This years honourees are a fine reflection of that cherished value. And the Mayor of Toronto paid tribute to ORTs work: Public education is the cornerstone of prosperous, liveable societies and provides opportunities that facilitate success at all levels. I am heartened by the efforts of ORT and its supporters who champion access to education and academic excellence for every child and thus demonstrate a profound commitment to the future of all societies.