Toronto, Ontario—October 23, 2020: Recognizing the urgent need to use music to help positively impact communities, especially during challenging times, Bob and Francine Barrett have donated $3.875 million over five years to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) through the Barrett Family Foundation. The investment will support the TSO’s highly lauded Education & Community Engagement programs, including the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO). They have also invited other TSO supporters to contribute by offering $250,000 every year in matching funds.
In recognition of this transformative gift, the TSO’s Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser will now be known as the Barrett Principal Education Conductor & Community Ambassador.
“This generous gift from Bob and Francine Barrett speaks to the moment we are all living in. Sharing our music across communities and igniting a passion for it through robust education and engagement initiatives has never been more vital. On behalf of our musicians and our many community partners, the school educators we work with, and our new and growing audiences, we offer our heartfelt gratitude,” said Matthew Loden, CEO. “Bob and Francine’s philanthropic investments in education initiatives and institutions across Canada make them truly impactful leaders in our community.”
Examples of community-engagement initiatives include serving marginalized communities in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Toronto, and presenting specially designed concerts and conversations for socially isolated seniors in long-term care facilities. The gift will also support the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra program, dedicated to providing a high-level orchestral experience for talented young musicians aged 22 and under. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the TSO has been providing virtual resources, many of which are free of charge, to classrooms across Canada, and this gift will allow the TSO to further amplify these types of programs.
“As long-time subscribers and donors to the TSO, we know how transformative music can be to a person’s life,” said Bob and Francine Barrett. “We want to encourage and extend the extraordinary community and education initiatives already underway at the TSO because we passionately believe that music is both a personal inspiration, and also an impactful community-building force.”
Conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, who leads the TSO’s Education & Community Engagement initiatives, said, “I am truly honoured to carry the Barrett name in my title. Forging connections with people through the vibrancy and emotional power of music is the essence of my mission to bring live orchestral music to anyone who might not have had access to it or who may have felt unwelcome in traditional spaces. I am immensely grateful to Bob and Francine for supporting this work.”
The Barrett Family Foundation was established by Bob and Francine Rouleau-Barrett to support educational, environmental, and humanitarian causes, as well as health and the arts. The Barrett family’s significant philanthropic gift-giving has supported a broad range of organizations including Humber College, Highway of Heroes, and World Vision Canada. They have been subscribers to the TSO for 20 years.
For more information about the TSO, visit www.tso.ca