Chefs’ Circle in support of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto
Something wonderful happens when a large gathering of people come together under one roof to raise funds for a cause. Certainly, there’s an energy and a camaraderie that comes with the shared goal of raising money. But gaining momentum is a fundraising model that is keen to disrupt the gala-for-500 model and create something more cozy.
Small dinners in private homes to raise funds are nothing new, Grand Cru, an annual series of private dinners held in Toronto have raised more than $63-million over the past 15 or so years for Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, and last year Mount Sinai held a string of intimate gatherings in the homes of the hospital’s key supporters.
The first of these dinners, dubbed Chefs’ Circle and held on Feb. 21, featured food from chef Oliver Glowig, whose restaurant in Rome has earned two Michelin stars. Just 20 guests filled the downtown Toronto condo of real estate developer and entrepreneur Jonathan Goldman, the evening’s host, and personal touches were felt at every corner. Goldman had a hand in the layout of the tables, the flowers and even hired a band that doubled as accompanist for him to indulge in one of his great passions, karaoke, which many joyfully took part in between courses.
Jon Dellandrea, who serves as CEO of the Sunnybrook Foundation, was in attendance, and spoke before the meal about the importance of such dinners as a means to engage on an intimate level with the next generation of philanthropists. He noted these events are vital to the financial well-being of hospitals such as Sunnybrook, which treats more than 1.3 million patients a year, that rely on private donors to fill financial gaps. Also out was William Cheng, Chefs’ Circle’s initiator, restaurateur and member of the Sunnybrook Foundation board, and Gold Park Homes president Michael Cipriano, whose family has made the lead gift to build a new centre for seniors care at Sunnybrook (he’ll also host an upcoming Chefs’ Circle dinner). With tickets priced at $5,000, funds raised by the dinner topped $100,000, monies that will support the Jack Tu Chair in Cardiovascular Research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.