November 17, 2008

Leading figures from the world of entertainment, business and sports join Roots co-founders at tribute dinner to raise funds for environmental education

(TORONTO) – More than 750 people attended the “Reason for Hope” Tribute Dinner yesterday in Toronto in honour of internationally renowned primatologist, global environmental advocate and UN Messenger of Peace Dr. Jane Goodall.

The dinner was chaired by Michael Budman and Don Green, Co-Founders of Roots, and their wives Diane Bald and Denyse Green.  Master of Ceremonies George Stroumboulopoulos (Host of the CBC’s The Hour) was joined by leading environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki, the Honorary Dinner Chair.

At the event, Dr. Goodall received an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Haifa for her lifetime achievements as a humanitarian, conservationist and peace activist. These include her initiative in founding Roots and Shoots, a worldwide program that encourages young people to address both human and environmental issues in their communities and aims to foster a new generation of enlightened leaders.  Proceeds from the event will be shared equally between Canadian Friends of Haifa University and the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada and will support the development of the Institute's Roots and Shoots education program in Canada and Israel.
Dr. Goodall gave the keynote address in which she impressed upon the audience the importance of each individual taking responsibility to contribute, even in seemingly small ways, to making the earth a better place for all. She explained that despite the current problems, she remained hopeful, citing four main sources: The human brain; the determination of young people; the indomitable human spirit; and the resilience of nature.

Special guests included, from the entertainment world, film director Norman Jewison; actor Woody Harrelson; actor/comedian Eugene Levy; singer/actor Michael Burgess; theatre impresario Jeff Latimer; singer/rapper K-os and supermodel Yasmin Warsame; from the sports world, Canadian world champion kayaker and medalist Adam van Koeverden; Right To Play Founder Johann Koss; and former NHL players (and current MP) Ken Dryden and Stew Gavin; and business leaders/philanthropists Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman; and communications guru Moses Znaimer.

The ‘Reason for Hope’ evening also featured special performances by the Roots and Shoots Soul Revue with musical director Terence Gowan and vocalists Voyce Alexander and Nadia.

In addition, several leading figures from the entertainment world in the United States -- including Dan Aykroyd, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Robbie Robertson and Martin Short – lent their support to the ‘Reason For Hope’ campaign.

The major sponsors were MasterCard Canada; Gluskin Sheff and Associates; and the Stolero Family Foundation.

All the carbon emissions caused by travel to the event by our special guests from overseas, and the environmental impact caused by running the event itself, were offset by Toronto’s Zerofootprint organization through ISO-certified offsets.