2019 Spirit of Hope Benefit Exceeds Fundraising Records, Raises over $5 Million

The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center’s (FSWC) Spirit of Hope Fundraising Benefit achieved its greatest success to date, with the event, which was held on June 18th at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, receiving overwhelming financial support.  The benefit raised over $5 million to aid FSWC’s education initiatives and award-winning programs, such as the Tour for Humanity, Freedom Day and Speakers Idol.

This year’s event featured former US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley, who in front of a crowd of nearly 2,700 people, opened up about her stance on rising incidents of anti-Semitism and hate, the Israeli-Palestinian Authority conflict and the UN’s bias against Israel.

During an interview led by political commentator and strategist David Axelrod, Haley spoke the following words to an audience filled with community members, philanthropists, and political and business leaders:

“Every person has the ability to stop hate…Every single one of us has to call it out every time we see it. We have to be loud every time we see it.”  Palestinians have lived in a false world for a long time. Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem acknowledged a truth…Jerusalem is the capital of Israel”.

Guests at the 2019 benefit also had an opportunity to witness the inspirational recognition of  police officers Michael Smidga and Sean Stumpf, who were honored for their heroic efforts in response to the October 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

This year’s Spirit of Hope Fundraising Benefit was chaired by Paul Bronfman and MC’d by award-winning journalist Lara Logan, and was attended by supporters such as Mizrahi Development’s Sam Mizrahi, Onex’s Gerry Schwartz, and others.  The event’s past speakers have included prominent leaders such as: former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, United States President Bill Clinton, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

Spirit of Hope is an annual fundraising dinner that celebrates the values of Simon Wiesenthal – a Holocaust survivor and former Nazi hunter – and inspires and raises awareness for democracy and human rights.

“The Spirit of Hope Benefit is the ‘must attend’ event of the year, as seen by the influx in both the number of guests in attendance and the amount of money raised,” said Sam Mizrahi, longtime supporter of FSWC.  “I am honored to be a part of a cause as worthy as the Spirit of Hope and look forward to its continued success in the future.” 

In addition to the ceremony, attendees of the iconic fundraising event also enjoyed dinner and entertainment.

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