Arcade Fire to Receive Humanitarian Honor at Juno Awards

Arcade Fire
JF Lalonde 

Arcade Fire

Montreal indie rock band Arcade Fire will be honored with the 2016 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award at the Juno Awards gala dinner on April 2 in Calgary, Alberta, a day before the televised awards show.

The eight-time Juno winners -- Win Butler, Régine Chassagne; Will Butler; Richard Reed Parry; Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara -- have raised more than $4 million CAD ($3.7M USD) to help the people of Haiti through various avenues, such as Partners in Health, Kanpe and Plus One.

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Chassagne, who is married to Win, was born in Montreal to Haitian parents who fled the dictatorship in the '60s.

"It is an honour. We are very thankful," she said in a press statement about Arcade Fire receiving the humanitarian award. "It helps us continue the work."

That work is in its 10th year. In 2006, Arcade Fire began donating $1 per concert ticket sold to Partners in Health, a nonprofit organization founded in Haiti that "strives to achieve two overarching goals: to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair."

Four years later, Chassagne co-founded KANPE with Dominique Anglade (now a Canadian politician). The foundation -- whose name in Haitian Creole means "to stand up" -- "implements a family support program that integrates the pillars of autonomy: health, nutrition, housing, education, agriculture and leadership," enabling families to achieve financial autonomy in a sustainable way.

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The band's association with PIH led Arcade Fire to also work with the Artists Institute in Haiti, a college for art and technology (including music) founded by Artists for Peace, designed to "foster entrepreneurship and business development in local creative industries."

One of the band's newest charitable ventures, started in 2014 in partnership with PIH, is the international charitable organization Plus One that "connects artists, causes and music fans to make an impact in the world." Among the participating artists are The National, Chvrches, Johnny Reid, Arkells, Metric and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who have all donated $1 per concert ticket sold to Plus One. To date, more than $2 million has been raised from the gesture and donated to Global Health, Partners in Health and KANPE, according to the press information.

The Allan Waters Humanitarian Award "recognizes outstanding Canadian artists whose contributions have positively enhanced the social fabric of Canada." It is named after CHUM Ltd. founder Allan Waters and made possible by funding from BCE-Bell Media Benefits.