Toronto Philanthropist Salah Bachir Named International Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser
(Toronto, Ontario) Businessman, magazine publisher, patron of the arts and philanthropist Salah Bachir has been named the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).
The Volunteer Fundraiser Award recognizes an individual or family from around the world that demonstrates outstanding skills in coordinating and motivating groups of donors and volunteers for fundraising projects for the benefit of charities and nonprofit organizations. Bachir will receive his award at AFP’s International Fundraising Conference in San Francisco on April 30.
Bachir is one of Canada’s most influential philanthropists and his impact is felt around the world. He is a champion of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community, helping to generate millions of dollars for such causes, including AIDS research and equal rights and support for LGBTQ individuals in Canada and the Middle East. He has personally given more than $1 million for The 519 Community Centre in Toronto, and raised millions more for campaigns to advance LGBTQ equality and inclusion in the city and beyond.
Bachir is affectionately known as “Gala Salah” for the number of fundraising galas he has supported and chaired. These events and capital campaigns have helped raise hundreds of millions for a multitude of causes in the arts, film and healthcare arenas. A passionate art collector, he has also donated art from his collection to galleries across Canada, and several of these galleries have created shows featuring selected works from his vast collection. One example is his support for the Art Gallery of Ontario, which has meant better public programs and world-class exhibitions for thousands of visitors, and he also gives his time to support emerging artists.
Healthcare, including research, is another of Bachir’s signature issues. Not only has he supported tens of millions of dollars in research projects, but he is a critical voice for patients in the Toronto community. He has helped lead major fundraising campaigns for hospitals in Toronto and gave $2.5 million of his own funds to build a new dialysis centre at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, his own community hospital. He cares deeply about patient comfort and has also donated funds to purchase many patient care comfort items, including new televisions for the chemotherapy and dialysis clinics.
“I am truly honored and humbled by this recognition,” said Bachir. “There is so much need in our communities and it gives me great pleasure to help a variety of causes by raising funds and awareness. I encourage everyone to help in any way they can by sharing your time, money or expertise. It truly makes a difference.”
Bachir, who is currently president of Cineplex Media, which represents 93% of on-screen cinema advertising in Canada and a leader in digital signage, among other services, began his career in publishing in 1979. He launched Famous (now Cineplex Magazine) in 1999, and the entertainment magazine remains one of the most widely circulated in Canada. He has been presented with numerous honors and awards by LGBTQ and health organizations for his philanthropy. In 2016, he was appointed to the Order of Canada, one of the country’s top honours recognizing Canadians for their outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.
“A great volunteer fundraiser brings passion to his or her work—passion that is infectious and lifts up other people and inspires them to get involved,” said Jason Lee, president and CEO of AFP. “Mr. Bachir is an extraordinary volunteer, donor and fundraiser who has strived throughout his life to make incredible change in the world. We are honoured to be able to recognize his lifetime of philanthropy and social impact.”
Bachir is one of six honorees who will be recognized at AFP’s 2017 International Fundraising Conference in San Francisco, April 30 – May 2, for their outstanding leadership, commitment and generosity in philanthropy.