Avi Benlolo, President & CEO
Avi Benlolo is a prominent Canadian human rights activist dedicated to promoting tolerance, freedom, democracy and human rights. He regularly publishes commentary in leading Canadian newspapers and is widely interviewed by media (print, television, radio) seeking his thoughtful perspective on a wide range of issues, including analysis of world events, foreign and national policy, human rights and social justice. He is among the top Canadian speakers and writers about empowerment for making our world a better place for everyone.
His academic focus includes in-depth research on the Holocaust, antisemitism and racism. Through his work on genocide studies he documented survivor testimony from multiple genocide events around the world. In 2012, the Government of Canada appointed him to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education. The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario recently awarded Mr. Benlolo with the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada and his community. He was recently voted one of top 50 most influential graduates (ever) of his alma-matter.
In 2015, The Canadian Jewish News selected Mr. Benlolo among "The Jewish community's movers and shakers – Influencers …who make the Jewish community tick". Among many features, Mr. Benlolo has been interviewed for his contributions by Lifestyles Magazine, We Are Associated magazine and J-Space.
Mr. Benlolo is the founder and guiding force behind the annual Spirit of Hope Benefit, Freedom Day, the Tolerance Training Center, "Compassion to Action" Holocaust education missions, the pioneering Tour for Humanity mobile Tolerance Education Center (www.tourforhumanity.com
), Speakers Idol, and he has produced top educational videos like "Unless" and "Never Again". His programs which focus on human rights are attended by over 100,000 people every year.
Over the span of his twenty-two year career, Mr. Benlolo has raised over $75 million for human rights advocacy and programs. His Canadian and global network is extensive; ranging from top Canadian business leaders to international thought and political figures Elie Wiesel, Salman Rushdie, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, John Howard and Rudy Giuliani. Recently, he travelled with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Israel. He regularly confers with Canadian political leaders at all levels, senior officials in law enforcement and education and leading journalists and thought-leaders. Most recently, he was asked to testify to Parliament about Bill-C51 and published a chapter in the new book, "Tackling Hate" - among Canadian and international thought leaders.
Today, Mr. Benlolo leads a very disciplined organization that is multifaceted, agile and able to respond to ongoing events and issues in real-time. He and his team are supported by over 30,000 Canadian donors; an exceptional Board of Directors and Governors and international colleagues and associates. A disciplined athlete who ran marathons, competes in races, Mr. Benlolo believes that excellence can be achieved through strength, endurance, conviction and unending passion for one’s core beliefs.
Board of Directors
Gerald Schwartz, OC, Chairman, Board of Directors
Mr. Schwartz is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Onex Mr. Schwartz was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 2004 and was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006. He is also an honorary director of The Bank of Nova Scotia and is a director of Indigo Books & Music Inc. Mr. Schwartz is Vice Chairman and a member of the Executive Committee of Mount Sinai Hospital, and is a director, governor or trustee of a number of other organizations.
Samuel Belzberg, OC, OBC, Honourary Chairman
Lawrence Bloomberg, C.M., O.Ont
Lawrence S. Bloomberg is Chairman of the Board of BloombergSen, a Director of the National Bank of Canada and an Advisor to National Bank Financial. Mr. Bloomberg is involved with numerous not-for-profits and organizations. These have included Member of Canadian Council of Chief Executives and Board Member of the Investment Industry Association of Canada; he has also recently been inducted into the Investment Hall of Fame; a Founder and Director of MaRS; Member of World Presidents Organization/Chief Executives Organization. In the community he is the Chancellor of Ryerson University, the Chair Emeritus of Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto and Director of United Jewish Federation and Past Chair United Jewish Appeal Campaign. He is a recipient of both the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.
Michael Bregman is the Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Tailwind Capital Inc., which operates an investment fund. He serves on the Board of Directors of Clairvest Group Inc., General Donlee Canada Inc., Ideaca Ltd., MapleMusic and The Works. He was formerly the Chairman and CEO of Second Cup Ltd., Canada’s leading specialty coffee retailer. Purchasing the company for $12 million in 1988, Mr. Bregman took Second Cup public in 1993, ultimately returning $175 million to shareholders, culminating in the sale of the company to Cara Operations Ltd. in 2002. An active triathlete and skier, Mr. Bregman serves with various charitable organizations and is a 2002 recipient of the Yakir Award.
Paul Bronfman is the Chairman/CEO of Comweb Corp. and William F. White International Inc. He is also the Chairman of Pinewood Toronto Studios Inc. Over the last twenty five years, Mr. Bronfman has built a group of entertainment firms dedicated to supplying expert production services and studio facilities to the film and television industry. Mr. Bronfman presently serves on numerous industry boards including The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, Canadian Media Production Association, FilmOntario, and The Ontario Media Development Corporation. He is a past board member of Astral Media Inc., The Banff World Media Festival and The Canadian Film Centre.
He is also an active member of his community and contributes to a number of national and local charities. He serves on the Board of Directors of The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust studies, as well as the Board of Governors of B'nai Brith Canada and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. In 2008, Mr. Bronfman and his wife Judy were awarded the prestigious Human Relations Award by the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, a leading Canadian organization dedicated to providing programs and strategies that educate against discrimination, prejudice and bias.
In 2010, Mr. Bronfman was inducted into Playback’s Film & Television Hall of Fame, honouring his 30-plus years of exemplary industry service. He later received an Honourable Life Member Award from the Director’s Guild of Canada along with the Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute for Outstanding and Enduring Contributions to Canadian Television at the 2011 Gemini Awards. In 2012, he received the Canadian Society of Cinematographers President’s Award in addition to the Friend of The Industry Award at The Alberta Rosie Awards, honouring his outstanding service to the Alberta production community. In 2013, Mr. Bronfman was inducted into the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and was bestowed with a Banff Rockie Award honouring Excellence in Business and Entertainment.
David Cynamon is the Executive Chairman and Founder of K2 Pure Solutions which manufactures water purification and disinfection products using safe, green, environmentally-sustainable technology. Mr. Cynamon started his first successful business venture at the age of 17, and by the age of 24 he was CEO of a TSE listed company. In 1995, Mr. Cynamon acquired controlling interest in KIK Corporation; in 2002 KIK was twice recognized as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies and in 2007 he led the sale of the company for $804 million. Mr. Cynamon sits on several charitable boards and is the recipient of numerous awards for his philanthropic support in the fields of medicine, education, the arts, sports, Israel, youth and human rights.
Gordon R. Diamond, LLD, OBC
Mr. Diamond started his business career in the meat packing industry with his father, the late Jack Diamond, O.C. After the sale of the meat packing business, Mr. Diamond and his father founded West Coast Reduction Ltd., now the largest independent rendering company in Western Canada. Diamond is Chairman and sole owner of a private group of companies which includes West Coast Reduction Ltd. and Austeville Properties Ltd. He is also Chairman of a private family Foundation, the Diamond Foundation. Gordon Diamond is on the Boards of the B.C. Cancer Foundation and The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre. He holds an honourary Doctor of Laws Degree from Simon Fraser University and was awarded The Order of British Columbia in 2007.
Since May 2006, Joel Feldberg has held the position of President and COO of The Global Group. Mr. Feldberg has been with The Global Group since January 2002. As Executive Vice President, Product Development and Emerging Markets, he maintained direct involvement in daily operations/production management, Global’s legal department, product management and customer relations/sales. Prior to joining The Global Group, Mr. Feldberg was an associate at the law firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt in Toronto where he focused his legal practice on the areas of corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions. Mr. Feldberg has a Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall and is a member of the Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations.
Jeremy Freedman is the President & Chief Executive Officer of Gluskin Sheff. He was previously Deputy Chief Executive Officer and prior thereto, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Freedman received a Juris Doctorate degree from Queen's University in 1982 and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1984. While at Queen's University, he was elected Rector of the University and served in this capacity from 1980-1982. He received a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School in 1986, graduating as a Baker Scholar. Mr. Freedman is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Diabetes Hope Foundation, the Jerusalem Foundation and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies.
Ron Frisch is the owner, President and CEO of Kohl & Frisch Limited. He joined his family in the management of the company in 1980. Mr. Frisch has taken on several industry leadership roles including Chairman (four terms) of the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Distribution Management , Member of the CAPDM Board of Directors, Past Member of Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores Advisory Board, Member of the World Presidents Organization and Chief Executive Organization. He has served on the Board of Directors for several charitable organizations and has chaired numerous charitable fundraising campaigns and events. In 2011, he was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (FCA), and in 2012 was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Rabbi Marvin Hier
In 1977 Rabbi Marvin Hier created the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named in honor of the famed Nazi hunter. Under his leadership, the Los Angeles-based Center has become one of the foremost Jewish human rights agencies in the world, with a constituency of more than 400,000 families, and offices throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel and Argentina. In 1993 the Los Angeles Times noted that Rabbi Hier had made the Wiesenthal Center, "the most visible Jewish organization in the world"; in both 2007 and 2008 he was named by Newsweek magazine as the "Most Influential Rabbi in America." He is the recipient of an honorary degree and many awards, including a Doctorate from Yeshiva University (2004) and France’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Merite (1993).
Tom Koffler currently sits on the Board of Directors of The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies. He was elected to the Board in 2013.Mr. Koffler also serves on the Mt Sinai Hospital Foundation Board as well as special advisor to The Koffler Centre of the Arts. He is Founder of The Koffler Development Group Inc., a real-estate firm primarily focused on Commercial and Infill Residential Properties since 1982. Mr. Koffler is married to Anna and has four children.
Rabbi Meyer May
Rabbi Meyer H. May is the Executive Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museums of Tolerance. He has traveled throughout the world meeting with heads of state and leading government officials, as well as some of the most prominent corporate leaders and philanthropists of our time. As the chief development officer of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi May and his team have raised well over $500 million in support of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its multi-faceted divisions. Specifically, Rabbi May directs the Center’s capital expansion campaigns and its annual $30 million international fund-raising campaigns. He is currently guiding the $100 million capital campaign to build the Center for Human Dignity: Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem.
Sam Mizrahi is the President of Mizrahi Developments, a private real estate development company. Mizrahi Developments is the first and only company in Canada to be licensed and ISO 9001 Certified for development and construction in both the residential and commercial development sector in Canada and is registered with Tarion and BILD. Sam is also the President of Northern Citadel Bancorp, a private company registered with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) as a Mortgage Investment Trust (MIT). Sam, an entrepreneur since 1987, has a mosaic of experiences as the founder of many start-up companies including the transitioning from private to public markets, and has acted as President and CEO of TSXV traded companies. Sam is also a strong supporter of various charitable organizations and operates on multiple committees and boards for non-profits.
Philip Reichmann began his career at Olympia & York Developments Limited in 1978, and was involved in the development of World Financial Center in New York, and Canary Wharf in London, England. In 1993, he formed O&Y Properties Inc. to manage and lease a portfolio of ten office properties. In 1997, O&Y Properties acquired controlling interest in Camdev Corporation and the two companies were amalgamated to form O&Y Properties Corporation, a national property ownership company. In 1999, O&Y acquired a 100% interest in 1 First Canadian Place, an office and retail complex in downtown Toronto. In 2001, O&Y Properties Corporation created O&Y REIT, a real estate investment trust to focus on the ownership of commercial office buildings across Canada. O&Y Properties Corporation and O&Y REIT were sold to a consortium led by Brookfield Corporation in 2005. Mr. Reichmann is Founding Partner of ReichmannHauer Capital Partners Inc., a Canadian private equity investment firm seeking investment opportunities in growth companies in all industries.
Jill Reitman has a background as a psychologist specializing in children and adolescents. She spent many years on the boards of her children’s elementary and high schools, chairing committees such as the Ways & Means and Personnel, and sitting on many others at both the elementary and high school levels. Jill has extensive experience with the United Jewish Appeal Federation, having served as President of Jewish Women’s Federation and Chair of the Business and Professional Women’s Campaign and Chair of the Past Chairs Council. Jill has completed the two-year Wexner Heritage Foundation program, a leadership initiative sponsored by Leslie Wexner of The Limited. She served on the Audit Committee of the Mt Sinai Hospital (MSH), the Patient Care Quality Committee, and presently serves on the Audit and Risk Committee. She also sits on the Advisory Board of the Reitman Alzheimer’s Support Centre at MSH. In addition, she has served on the Board of CIJA, an advocacy organization, and has participated on the Advisory Council for the Resource and Leadership Training Centre for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. Jill is presently Vice Chair of the Koffler Centre of the Arts. She also currently serves on the Jewish Community Campuses Board of UJA Federation. Jill is the recipient of the Young Leadership Award of UJA Federation, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Ms. Sherman is an active community board member and volunteer who is serves in leadership positions for Mount Sinai Hospital and Baycrest Centre. She is Past Chair of the United Jewish Appeal Campaign 2006, and is the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Trustees, Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto. Mrs. Sherman and her husband, Dr. Barry Sherman, established the Apotex Foundation in 1984 to support a wide range of causes in both Canada and the United States. In 1996, the Shermans won an award from The National Society of Fund Raising Executives (Toronto Chapter) for their outstanding contribution to philanthropy. In addition to her role as Director for Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, she serves on the Board of Governors at York University and is the sitting Chair of the Sarah & Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Centre.
Alex Shnaider is the co-founder of the Midland Group, an international trading and investment holding company. Mr. Shnaider partnered with Donald Trump in the construction of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in downtown Toronto.
Raymond Stone has served as the President & Chief Executive Officer of Futuremed since its inception in 1985; he founded the company following a study of the Canadian Long Term Care sector while working at a Canadian financial institution. Prior to founding Futuremed, Mr. Stone worked for eight years in various accounting and management positions in the financial industry. In 2011 he oversaw the acquisition of Futuremed by Cardinal Health, a global leader in the health care industry. Mr. Stone currently consults to the Canadian healthcare industry and sits on various boards, including Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Big Life Foundation.
Eric Weisz is the Managing Director of the Effort Trust Company in Toronto. Founded in 1978 by the Weisz family, Effort Trust specializes in financial services, real estate and asset management. Mr. Weisz expanded the company to Toronto in 2004 and in his role, he is responsible for the ongoing development of Effort Trust including the financial services operations, strategy and marketing as well as building and expanding the Effort Trust brand and asset base in Ontario. Prior to joining Effort Trust, he worked at the National Hockey League Players’ Association as Manager of Licensing and International Business. A lawyer by profession, Mr. Weisz also practiced securities and corporate law at Goodmans in Toronto. He received his B.A. from the University of Western Ontario and his M.B.A./LL.B. from the Schulich School of Business and Osgoode Hall Law School. Mr. Weisz is the co-founder of Fallen Rock Productions (a charitable theatre company), Thunder Road Capital (an early stage technology investment company) and is a member of the Young Presidents’ Association.
Honorary Board Member
Cecil yolles graduated from the University of Toronto, Commerce and Finance in 1947. He worked in the family furniture business until it was sold, whereupon he started his own furniture business which grew to over twenty stores. By chance he got into real estate, establishing Yolles Realty Ltd. He won the Canadian Masters Squash Championship and placed second in the World Masters. He joined the Canadian Power Squadron where he rose to the position of National Vice Commander. He was a director of the Naval Marine Archive. He is now honorary Commodore of the Island Yacht Club of which he was a founding member. He was active with the UJA. He served on the building committee of Mount Sinai Hospital and is currently on the governing board.
Board of Governors
Alan Farber and Mark Teitelbaum, Co-Chairs
Dr. Andrew Braude
Dr. Susan Glick
Dr. Carole Gruson
Dr. Fred Leitner
Dr. Rose Rahmani
Dr. Janice Weiss