The donor: Michael Comisarow
The gift: Founding Daytrippers Children’s Charity
The reason: To fund field trips for school students
Shortly after Michael Comisarow got his first job in Toronto in the investment industry, he ran into a friend who was working as a student teacher in Kingston. She explained how difficult it was for some students to go on field trips.
“She was telling me how her kids didn’t go on school trips. I said, ‘How hard can it be?’ And she said ‘We just don’t have the money,’” recalled Mr. Comisarow, who now works at Credit Suisse investment bank in Calgary. “It just sort of clicked with me, what an easy cause to get behind.”
Mr. Comisarow rented a bus, brought the teacher and her students to Toronto and took them to the Royal Ontario Museum. “I left work for a few hours and went over to the ROM and basically played around with them for a couple of hours and it was just fantastic,” he said.
That field trip was in 1999 and it led Mr. Comisarow to create Daytrippers Children’s Charity. Since then, the charity has raised nearly $2-million and helped about 150,000 schoolchildren across the country go on excursions to museums, parks and cultural institutions.
The all-volunteer organization raises about $300,000 annually to cover the costs of the trips and its main fundraising event is the annual Battle of the Brains trivia contest, which is takes place May 14 in Toronto.
Mr. Comisarow, who is married with two children, said he rarely has time to go on many field trips any more. But he hears feedback from some of the students. “It feels really good and it feels important to do this kind of work,” he said.