Highlighting the power of creativity and creative industries, Justice Fund Toronto and OVO Sound came together in the city this week to host a free summit for the community. It all went down Thursday, focusing on different economic empowerment opportunities for youth from Black and Indigenous communities, as well as ways to strengthen the city’s place as a hub for the music industry.
The event featured remarks from special guests, including recorded fireside chats with Toronto Raptors’ Vice President John Wiggins, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, Founder of The Sad Collective Meghan Yuri Young, and Founder of Shoot for Peace Yasin Osman. While attendees were also treated to music from OVO artists like Majid Jordan, Smiley, and more.
The Justice Fund also had the chance to reveal some exciting upcoming partnerships with organizations like the TTC, the NBA Foundation, and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
Justice Fund Toronto was founded in 2020 with a goal of providing support to communities in conflict with the law, breaking the cycle of violence in the city, and reforming philanthropy. Co-founded by OVO’s Noah ‘40’ Shebib, the organization has worked with creatives including Drake, Roy Woods and Majid Jordon.
“All the things that get thrown our way and the access that we get just based off celebrity and all of that nonsense, let me redirect that to people who are actually going to benefit from it,” Shebib told Now Toronto.
He shared that the Justice Fund was created while he was searching for a way to give back to the city that gave him so much.
“Justice Fund was incubated within a foundation that I had started trying to find the answer to, how am I going to give back to community, contribute back to the city and the people that have helped me on my journey, and given me the culture and access for what I do in the world of music.”
“Now that I’ve made this money and success there, [how can I] come back and have impact and change in my own city? What I quickly learned when I started working with Yonis, is there are already people there doing the work,” Shebib continued.
“Our organization’s mandate is to support communities in conflict with the law,” Yonis Hassan, CEO, Justice Fund, shared with Now Toronto.
Hassan explained that they accomplish that in three ways: supporting community initiatives, reforming philanthropy, and creating social purpose infrastructure in the City of Toronto.
“We believe that organizations need to be accomplices for the communities they serve and not performative allies, and today the leadership demonstrated by all of our partners, from the TTC to Toronto Community Housing reflects that.”
“I’m here to make sure the over $120 billion in philanthropic resources that exist in Canada are spent in a timely matter,” Hassan continued.
Hassan told Now Toronto that he does not believe it’s impossible to combat the issues of violence and poverty in Toronto without reforming the way that we approach philanthropy.
“We need significant investments in the social determinants of health, from housing to food security and transit.”