Gary Slaight, whose family built and sold a radio empire and have become one of Canada’s most generous philanthropists, will be honored at the 2018 Juno Awards with the 2018 Humanitarian Award, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced today. The presentation will take place at the Juno Gala Dinner & Awards, March 24, at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
The Humanitarian Award — formerly known as the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award and last year presented to musician Buffy Sainte-Marie — celebrates and recognizes the philanthropic efforts made by Canadian artists or industry leaders who have made a positive impact on social welfare worldwide.
Slaight’s father Allan — after which CMW’s humanitarian spirit award is named — was a radio news reporter in Edmonton before moving the family to Toronto and Gary followed in his footsteps, helping him build Standard Broadcasting Corporation from seven radio stations in 1987 to 52. He led the company to record profits and negotiated one of the largest deals in Canadian broadcast history, selling Standard Broadcasting to Astral Media in 2007 for $1.08 billion.
After the sale, Allan and Gary made the decision that proceeds from the sale would be directed to philanthropic initiatives. They established The Slaight Family Foundation to support healthcare, social service, culture and at-risk youth at home and abroad; and Slaight Music, which supports the Canadian music industry and emerging artists.
His ongoing efforts have led to the development of the Polaris Music Prize via The Slaight Family Heritage Prize, The Slaight Family Music Lab at the Canadian Film Centre, The Allan Slaight Stage at Massey Hall, The Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class, Canadian Music Week Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award and The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame via The Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Award. Slaight Music also created an annual music talent competition search called It’s Your Shot.
“I am truly honoured to be this year’s recipient of the Humanitarian Award,” Slaight said in a statement. “Our family has had a tradition of giving back to the community that transcends from my parents Allan and Ada Slaight… Whether it is supporting a local music program for children or helping to advance key health care priorities, our goal is to make a positive difference on the lives of those around us and those needing our support globally. We truly want to make an impact and help those who need it the most.”
The Humanitarian Award is not the first Slaight has received from CARAS. In 2012, he was honored with the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, presented to individuals who have contributed to the growth and development of the Canadian music industry.”
Among his many other awards, last year he received the Association of Fund Raising Professionals Outstanding Foundation Award and the inaugural Artists for Peace and Justice Canadian Changemaker Award. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada — in acknowledgment of his philanthropic work — in 2014. Canadian Music Week gave him The Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Humanitarian Spirit Award in 2010 and he was Inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
“His commitment to helping others and continued selflessness places him in a category of his own,” said Allan Reid, president and CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards and MusiCounts. “Gary’s dedication to making the world a better place is truly inspiring.”