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The donor: John Bitove

The gift: Creating the S’Cool Life Fund

The reason: To help fund extracurricular programs at schools

John Bitove’s business career has spanned everything from professional basketball to telecommunications, satellite radio and real estate. Several years ago, he got involved in another project that has become a particular passion; helping fund extracurricular programs at public schools.

Mr. Bitove created the S’Cool Life Fund in 2005 and so far the non-profit organization has handed out $3-million to 1,200 schools across the country to pay for sports equipment, musical instruments, art supplies and a host of other items. The aim of the fund is to provide relatively small grants that can have an immediate impact and each year the fund donates money to roughly 100 schools. Some of the projects the fund has helped pay for include a digital arts program for disabled students, a sewing club, an archery event, a new drama club and adjustable volleyball nets for students in wheelchairs.

“You read some of these applications and you cry,” Mr. Bitove said. “Because a lot [of] times it’s a teacher in an underprivileged neighbourhood who wants to have an after-school program of music or sports or drama to give kids something to do to keep them off the streets. You realize there are people who care beyond their jobs.” He added that most of the money comes from donations and SiriusXM Canada, which Mr. Bitove founded.

“It’s heartwarming to do it,” he added. “As we all know, there’s nothing more important than a child’s development in terms of what you build your society around.”