Toronto, April 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCC Toronto) today announced the appointment of the Paul Austin Human Rights Center and the expansion of accessible community human rights programming. the person. The Center will build on MCC Toronto’s 50-year history of advocacy for LGBTQ2S+ rights, its work with refugees, and expand its advocacy to address Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and transphobia.
The name was announced as part of the launch of the ELEVATION – Toronto MCC Campaign, a $5 million fundraising campaign. The P. Austin Family Foundation’s principal gift of $1.38 million to the campaign is the largest donation ever received by MCC. The Austin family and foundation have a long history of supporting organizations and causes that promote equality and human rights as well as social justice in society.
During a ceremony today at the Church of Riverdale, Mayor John Tory proclaimed, “This is an exciting step forward for MCC Toronto and for our city, as it will help us continue the change in our city. Toronto prides itself on being an equitable and inclusive city, and through MCC Toronto, we can further demonstrate our commitment to our values. MCC Toronto has been a leader in human rights, including marrying the world’s first legalized same-sex couple. Although much has been done, we still have work to do in the defense of human rights. Expanding the work done by MCC and this center will help us do this vital work. Thank you to MCC Toronto for being a strong example for our city and within the community.
The event also announced the launch of the public fundraising portion of the ELEVATION Campaign Toronto with $4.75 million already raised towards a fundraising goal of $5 million which will fund new programs, renovations to existing space and the creation of an endowment fund.
Paul Austin said, “The work done by MCC Toronto touches many people and the promotion of equality and human rights is fundamental to a just society. We are proud to support this meaningful initiative.
Reverend Jeff Rock, Senior Pastor of MCC Toronto, said, “As a diverse faith community with local and global reach, through our in-person and online programming, MCC Toronto is grateful for the support we have received through at ELEVATION. A campaign that will truly allow us to continue to build on 50 years of human rights legacy and address outstanding human rights concerns in our city, our country and the world.
the ELEVATION Campaign was co-chaired by Michael McCain, a supporter, and Anne Brayley, former chair of the board. Michael McCain said, “My family has long championed and supported the inspiring work of MCC, which represents the values of human rights and inclusion that we hold so dear as Canadians. I am grateful for the support we have received in this campaign to accelerate and elevate MCC’s human rights work, providing an endowment for an ever-changing world that has made great strides, but there is still much more to do. . Ann Brayley leads the public and congregational fundraising element of the campaign.
It was also announced that BMO Financial Group has made a major corporate donation of $300,000 and their support will go towards leadership training initiatives.
“Driven by BMO’s purpose of boldly doing good in business and in life, we share a vision of building an inclusive and fairer society,” said Scott Brison, Vice President, Investment and Corporate Services. , BMO Capital Markets. “We are proud to support MCC Toronto’s ELEVATION campaign and its community advocacy for human rights. By investing in the ELEVATION campaign’s leadership development initiatives, we will provide training and education opportunities for the next generation of human rights leaders. Together, we can make meaningful progress toward breaking down barriers and accelerating positive changes toward inclusion in our communities.
RBC Foundation will fund a new training initiative of the “Developing the Human Rights of Young People” program. Other major campaign donors include Margaret McCain, Michael McCain, Andrew and Valerie Pringle, John Lederer, Mark S. Bonham, Geoff Beattie and Amanda Lang.
To create lasting change, MCC will hire a new Director of Human Rights to expand its programming with community-accessible trainings and forums. Additionally, MCC Toronto’s LGBTQ+ refugee programs, including recent efforts to bring in refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan, will be bolstered with annual base funding as the sole grant holder. LGBTQ2S+ sponsorship in Canada with the federal government. MCC also seeks to establish and deepen partnerships with diverse communities.
Space and core funding for the Triangle Program High School, North America’s oldest high school for LGBQT2S+ students, will be extended. The church will also be equipped as a hub for human rights and community programs.
A timeline of MCC Toronto’s legacy human rights work
Under the leadership of the Reverend Brent Hawkes, MCC Toronto has a long history of fighting for human rights. Brent played a key role in activating Canada’s LGBTQ2S+ movement by protesting against police brutality in association with the Toronto Bath House raids in 1981, a defining moment in Canadian queer history.
MCC Toronto provided vital support to people living with HIV/AIDS as the pandemic devastated the gay community in the 1990s and continues to advocate for services and support for people living with HIV/AIDS .
MCC Toronto has also been instrumental in enshrining same-sex marriage and adoption rights in Ontario and Canada. Canada’s example has led 30 other countries around the world to change their laws. Reverend Dr Brent Hawkes celebrated the world’s first legalized same-sex marriage in this building.
Recently, Reverend Jeff Rock and other national advocates fought for the federal government to ban conversion therapy, a victory achieved in December 2021. And he expanded MCC’s human rights goals by recognizing that none of us are truly free until we all are. MCC Toronto is also active in LGBTQ+ refugee work for people from Ukraine, Afghanistan and around the world.