It was a night to remember as the Grand Rotunda was transformed into beautiful Italian landscape to welcome guests into this year’s La Dolce Vita event. The second annual fundraising gala was held in support of the Oakville Hospital Foundation and The Trillium Health Partners and raised a record-breaking $90,000! The evening featured a pizza cook-off, shopping for a cause, and of course, some Italian antipasto.
Over 1500 community members, influencers and celebrity guests came to Square One Shopping Centre to experience a large variety of food stations, cocktails, and espresso. The vendors included the cutest gelato bar truck, and guests could indulge in a charcuterie spread as people on stilts paraded around the venue in Venetian masks.
The event featured special culinary host Bobby Flay, who personally judged the pizza making contest between two representatives from the foundation. Flay was pictured trying different vendors and commenting on how to make the perfect pizza to event emcee and Top Chef Canada judge Janet Zuccarini.
The mall was transformed into a beautiful Italian-inspired piazza with fountains, bite-sized decadent Italian pasta, and even Italian treats do try. Guests were transported into a sweet night for a good cause and the evening did not disappoint!
Thank you to everyone who supported La Dolce Vita we can’t wait to see what happens next!
Want to see a preview of the night? Check out this highlight reel here.
Canada celebrating 75th anniversary of National Volunteer Week
How will you give back?
2018 marks the 75th anniversary that Canada has celebrated National Volunteer Week. First organized in 1943, it was initiated to celebrate women’s volunteer efforts to support the war effort. Since then, Canada’s volunteer movement has exploded. Now close to 13 million Canadians contribute over 2 billion hours each year to more than 170,000 non-profit organizations across the country. That’s the equivalent of 1 million full-time jobs. The theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week, which runs from April 15 – 21, is: “Celebrate the Value of Volunteering – building confidence, competence, connections and community”.
Create a life that feels good on the inside. Work hard and help others.
How true. Ask anyone who has volunteered and they’ll tell you that they receive far more than they give. There’s something almost magical that happens when you volunteer. Volunteering provides so many positive benefits. It increases confidence, self-esteem, social connections and lower rates of stress, depression and even blood pressure. It simply makes you feel good. Researches have coined the effects the happiness effect.
“If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” Kofi Annan, Ghanaian Diplomat, Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Extraordinary things can happen when you join with people who share your passion for causes you believe in. Consider some of the recent volunteering phenomena like Me to We (founded in 2008 which now supports and raises millions for 7,200+ local and global causes) and the most recent activist volunteer movement of NeverAgain MSD started just months ago in February to pressure the U.S. Congress to introduce gun control reforms. These are just two of countless examples of volunteer-initiated efforts that are helping to change the world. Much like a job, getting the most out of volunteering requires that you do your research to find the right opportunity that matches your skills and interests. Here’s a few websites to help get you started.
Find the best volunteer opportunity for your skills and interests
Volunteer Canada (https://volunteer.ca) is a great place to start. With boundless resources and a link to provincial associations of volunteer centres across the country, the site also offers a fun interactive quiz to help you pinpoint what type of volunteering opportunity suits you best. https://volunteer.ca/english/questions.html
Take your skills abroad
Interested in volunteering abroad? There are lots of organizations that will help you coordinate a trip abroad to countries in South and Central America, Africa or Asia, paired with meaningful volunteer experiences. It’s a great chance to learn about another culture and country while giving back. With a database of 800 international volunteer organizations and 3,500 program reviews, they’ve done the research to find top volunteer abroad opportunities. The volunteer work I do with Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) has enabled me to learn so much about the incredible spirit, hope and resiliency of the Haitian people. To help you find and fund your volunteer abroad trip, check out Volunteer Forever (www.volunteerforever.com).
Learn more about volunteerism in Canada
If you want to learn more about the volunteer sector in Canada, check out Imagine Canada (www.imaginecanada.ca). Given the huge impact that volunteers have in Canadian society (with 2 million Canadians working for non-profits and charities, representing over $135 billion), it’s becoming one of Canada’s biggest areas for job growth. If you’re thinking of a career in the non-profit sector, check out Charity Village (www.charityvillage.com) which posts job opportunities in the volunteer and non-profit sector. All charities need expertise in such areas as events management, fundraising, communications, finance, project management plus many others. Charity Village also offers learning and training sessions and webinars to advance your skills.
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
We all have skills and we all have interests. And when the two come together and you’re able to make a positive difference, it feels amazing. Whatever your interest is, somewhere, a charity needs your skills and passion to help them. Why not step up and give back? Trust me, the experience will forever change you for the better.
Do you volunteer? Why and how? How do you feel it has impacted your life? Tweet me @NatashaNKPR or leave a comment below.
NKPR 26 Hours of Kindness: Spreading Love on Valentine’s Day
Building on the success of the NKPR 26 Hours of Kindness holiday edition, we’re excited to announce that on February 14, 2018, NKPR will hold the third annual 26 hours of Kindness on Valentine’s day!!
An NKPR tradition, the 26 Hours of Kindness first launched during the Christmas season – and included random acts of kindness, surprise and delights, caroling, community dinner programs, essentials drive and more.
We made the decision to move the initiative to Valentine’s as a way to reconnect with the day in a meaningful way and to celebrate what love is all about: showing compassion for others, spending time together and giving ourselves.
With February being the coldest time of year, and this year being one of the coldest, the NKPR 26 Hours of Kindness will focus on supporting programs that provide food, a safe warm space and a kind word to those most in need.
You may be looking for some sheep thrills this week, and The Toronto Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has you covered. Covered in wool! The fair is hosting Canadian Wool Week, beginning last Friday and running until this coming Sunday, November 12th!
The Campaign for Wool, started by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, is a charitable initiative to raise awareness for the unique, natural, and sustainable benefits of wool. Prince’s Charities Canada (PCC) brought The Campaign for Wool to Canada back in 2014, with the goal of increasing consumer demand for wool products and to help revitalize the Canadian Wool Industry.
Wool Week celebrates the Wonders of Wool, involving various members of the wool value chain- from farmers and artisans, to fashion designers and retailers- everyone is coming together to support this royal cause!
This year, CFW has partnered with the Harris Tweed Authority to create the first-ever ‘Wool House’. An area of the fair has been transformed into a bedroom, curated by the Harris Tweed Authority and entirely outfitted in wool products! Visitors are educated on many benefits of wool, from the positive impact on the environment, to the support provided to local economies. Guests are also shown the journey of a garment, from farm to closet.
In the spirit of Wool Week, amazing Canadian brands contributed wool items to the Wool House. Luxury knitwear label, LINE has collaborated with The Harris Tweed Authority to design five limited edition coat designs in their iconic fabric. Other brands that are involved include the Granted Sweater Company, Wee Woollies, and ULAT!
So don’t pull the wool over your eyes! Head on over to The Royal Winter Fair before it ends to visit the Wool House. We’re sure you wool fall in love with the unique items offered!
On Sunday September 7, Artists for Peace and Justice hosted their annual benefit sponsored by Bovet 1822 at the historic Casa Loma. The organization, founded by Oscar-winning director/producer Paul Haggis, supports communities in Haiti through programs in education, healthcare and dignity through the arts.
The night was co-hosted by Pascal Raffy of Bovet 1822, Madeleine Stowe, and George Stromboulopoulos and co-chaired by dedicated humanitarian, Sylvia Mantella, and APJ board member (and NKPR President!) Natasha Koifman.
In one night, we were able to raise 1.5 million dollars! This incredible generosity will dramatically change the lives of Haitian children with 100% of the money going directly towards empowering local communities and fostering economic growth through education.
From red-carpet moments to inspiring speeches…see some of the highlights from the Artists for Peace and Justice Film Festival Gala 2014.
This week I had the privilege of sitting down with the New Beginnings Organization, a Toronto-based charity that empowers women—and mothers, in specific—to become confident, self-sufficient, career-oriented and employable. New Beginnings is especially important to me, as it mirrors many of my own experiences and reminds me of all the overwhelming support I’ve had over the years (you can hear all about it in the clip below!). The people in my life have been such an important part of my success, and it’s so imperative to be able to provide Canadian women with this type of guidance and support.
This weekend, I’ll be speaking at the New Beginnings’ Moonlight Masquerade (November 10th), and would love to see you there. You can buy tickets to the event and find ways to support this incredibly worthy cause on their website. Bring your best girlfriends, mentors, or support systems and join me and New Beginnings for an amazing night!