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Left to right: Shannon Flatley, Margaret Flatley and Irene Flatley. The $82,000 Flatley donation to Journalism for Human Rights has been the largest given to the organization to date.
Left to right: Shannon Flatley, Margaret Flatley and Irene Flatley. The $82,000 Flatley donation to Journalism for Human Rights has been the largest given to the organization to date.

Giving Back

Student's interest in international human rights spurs gift Add to ...

The Donors: The Flatley family

The Gift: $82,000

The Cause: Journalists for Human Rights

When Margaret Flatley was studying journalism at a university in the United States she got interested in international development issues and came across an organization called Journalists for Human Rights (JHR).

The Toronto-based charity works with journalists in developing countries to help them better understand issues relating to human rights, transparency and good governance. “They fit with the kind of journalism I am interested in,” said Ms. Flatley, 25, who is from Toronto but now lives in Los Angeles.

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A few years ago, her father, Aidan, who runs a Toronto construction company called Kenaidan Contracting Ltd., set up a private foundation. Mr. Aidan put Ms. Flatley and her two sisters, Irene and Shannon, in charge of where to donate money from the foundation. “His aim was to help causes for girls and woman in the world because he has three daughters,” she explained. They all agreed on contributing $82,000 to JHR. “We found this a great fit.”

The donation is among the largest to JHR which is holding a fundraising gala, Night for Rights, on Sept. 25 in Toronto. The money from the Flatley’s donation will go to support human rights journalism training for students and reporters in Democratic Republic of the Congo and to fund JHR projects in South Sudan and Jordan.

Ms. Flatley turned to the fashion business after graduating university and has been working in the U.S. and Europe. But she and her family still believe strongly in what JHR is doing. “I just think they are a wonderful organization,” she said.

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