Larry Tanenbaum and Gerry Schwartz, Co-chairs of the Tomorrow Campaign, recently announced an historic $20 million gift for a newly designed contemporary arts centre- the Koffler Centre of the Arts at Sherman Campus on Bathurst Street, north of Sheppard Avenue in Toronto, a gift of Murray and Marvelle Koffler and family.
One of North America's leading contemporary Jewish cultural institutions, the Koffler Centre of the Arts will have a new, state-of-the-art facility which will include exhibition galleries; dance, music, visual and digital arts studios; performance and presentation spaces; a bookstore, café and museum-standard Gallery, with loading dock, exhibition preparatory areas, and environmental controls. Sherman Campus is a unique centre of community services on 27.5 acres adjacent to the Don Valley ravine which is currently under development as part of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto's Tomorrow Campaign. The campus includes the Prosserman Jewish Community Centre, the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, the Cynamon/Sokolowski Sports Complex, The Donald Gales Family Pavilion, the Lipa Green Centre for Jewish Community Services and the Leah Posluns Theatre.
“We are deeply grateful for this generous gift for the Koffler Centre of the Arts – a place that will be home to the finest in Jewish and world culture here in Toronto, as part of UJA’s Sherman Campus development,” said Alan Winer, Chair, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
"The Koffler family has long been associated with artistic excellence in this country, and we are thrilled that the Koffler Centre of the Arts will enter a new era celebrating a global artistic perspective in an incredible new facility," said Lori Starr, Executive Director, Koffler Centre of the Arts and Vice President for Culture, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
Established in 1977 by philanthropists Murray and Marvelle Koffler, as the Koffler Gallery and Visual Arts Department of the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre, the Koffler Centre of the Arts has grown into a critically acclaimed, multi-disciplinary cultural centre presenting groundbreaking exhibitions of contemporary Canadian art; and programs in film, literary, music, dance, and theatre that present global and Jewish contemporary culture. The Centre offers over 65 classes a year in music, dance and visual arts for children and adults, and hosts internationally respected visiting artists working in a range of media.
"This lead gift is an incredible launch for a fundraising campaign that will continue to contribute to the cultural landscape of our city. Toronto has once again been enriched by the generosity and vision of the Koffler family," said Frederic A. Waks, who is leading the fundraising campaign for the new building on behalf of the Board of Directors.
About Murray and Marvelle Koffler:
Murray and Marvelle Koffler are leading Canadian philanthropists and community leaders. Born in Toronto, pharmacist and businessman Murray Koffler, is the Founder of Shoppers Drug Mart, and Co-Founder of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Their commitment to arts and culture in Toronto is extensive including the founding of the Toronto Outdoor Arts Exhibition at Nathan Phillips Square (1961), the establishment of the Koffler Centre of the Arts (1977), Past Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Co-chairman of the Roy Thomson Hall Campaign (1982), to name a few among many other cultural involvements. Tiana Koffler Boyman has been the Chair of the Koffler Centre of the Arts Board of Directors since 2001.
Murray Koffler was named to the Order of Canada in 1977 and in 1996 was promoted to an Officer. He and Marvelle have also been named to the Order of Ontario. Murray Koffler has received the Canada Council of Christians and Jews Humanitarian Award, the B'nai Brith Distinguished Citizen's Award and, with Marvelle Koffler, the Israel Cancer Research Fund Humanitarian Award. Murray has served on the board of governors of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, Mount Sinai Hospital, and is the Founder of the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business. Both Murray and Marvelle are committed supporters of science research; he served as Chairman of the Board of the Weizmann Institute of Science and Marvelle was the Founding Chair of Women of Science at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. They established the Murray Koffler Urologic Wellness Centre and the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital, as well as The Koffler Student Services Centre and the Koffler Institute of Pharmacy Management at the University of Toronto. They recently established the Koffler Scientific Reserve of the University of Toronto. They both hold honourary doctorates from the University of Toronto and Murray Koffler received an honorary doctorate from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1976. In 2010 he will receive an honourary doctorate from Dalhousie University.
About the Koffler Centre:
The Koffler Centre of the Arts is a Jewish cultural institution with a broad mandate to serve all and present a wide range of artistic programs through a global lens in a specifically Canadian context. The Koffler's mission is to bring people together through arts and culture to create a more civil and global society. The Koffler Centre of the Arts' unique mix examines the arts across different disciplines and cultures in a way that strengthens identity while encouraging an appreciation of difference.
About Sherman Campus:
Sherman Campus is part of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto's $400 million Tomorrow Campaign, which is building three centres of Jewish life that will serve all residents of the Greater Toronto area. Chaired by Gerry Schwartz and Larry Tanenbaum, the project is the largest non-profit infrastructure development in Canada. The groundbreaking of Sherman Campus took place in October, 2007 and the first phase of construction was completed in September, 2009 with the opening of the new Prosserman JCC. The groundbreaking of the 50 acre Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus in Vaughan took place in May, 2005 and the new Schwartz/Reisman Centre is currently under construction. In the downtown core, the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre completed its renovation in November, 2004, and The Wolfond Centre for Jewish Campus Life opened in February, 2004.