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National Philanthropy Day

News 2020-11-13

National Philanthropy Day

On National Philanthropy Day (November 15, 2020) the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra recognizes and pays tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy and those people active in the philanthropic community – have made in our lives, our communities and our world.

Golden Baton recipients Michael Nozick (left) and Tannis Richardson (right) with Cheryl Ashley and WSO Executive Director Trudy Schroeder.


Last month, the WSO presented two such people, Mrs. Tannis Richardson and Mr. Michael Nozick, with Golden Baton Awards at the symphony’s first ever virtual fundraiser Bubbles & Beethoven – a celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Hosted by WSO Music Director Daniel Raiskin from his home in Amsterdam, the online event welcomed more than 300 participants and raised $86,891 for the symphony.

The Golden Baton Award is the WSO’s highest award of recognition and is presented to individuals and organizations for their outstanding contribution to the life and programs of the orchestra.

Mrs. Richardson and Mr. Nozick were presented the award for their roles co-founding the Sistema Winnipeg Endowment Fund, which supports Sistema Winnipeg, an intensive after-school music education program providing musical training for children with the fewest resources and greatest need.

“Tannis and Michael are inspiring leaders and avid supporters of the WSO and we are honoured to recognize them with this award,” said Trudy Schroeder, Executive Director.

“Not only were they instrumental in establishing the Sistema Endowment Fund, but they both have played important roles over the years as fundraisers, board members and champions of symphonic music in our community.”

Tannis Richardson has a long history with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She attended the first concert of the orchestra in 1948, served on the board, assisted with a variety of WSO projects over the years, and has been a community leader in so many areas. She has been an ardent supporter of Sistema Winnipeg right from the very beginning. Her love of the program and the difference it is making to children in two of Winnipeg’s inner-city schools has inspired her to donate $500,000 toward an endowment fund to support the program indefinitely.

“El Sistema is one of the greatest gifts we can give these children,” says Mrs. Richardson. “Their grades improve, their self-esteem improves and their future prospects are made so much brighter.”

Mrs. Richardson’s commitment to providing sustaining support for the Sistema Winnipeg program will make a lasting difference to the music community in Winnipeg.

Michael Nozick is a change maker in Winnipeg. With his creative approach to business and life, he has engaged in development projects and business ventures that have brought new opportunities to our community. He has been a long-term supporter of the WSO and a lover of symphonic music.

His $500,000 donation to System Winnipeg is a gift that will keep giving back. It’s the kind of investment that he knows will make a difference to Sistema students and their families, but will also have an impact on the broader community.

“These kids come from high-risk communities. When they have a program like this to give them structure and purpose, they flourish. The community benefits because we’re giving the students a foundation that will serve them throughout their lives,” says Mr. Nozick.

Recipients of the WSO’s Golden Baton Award have made remarkable contributions to the musical life of our community. Superlative musicians, educators, entertainers, business leaders, philanthropists, and community leaders have been recognized by the WSO through this award. Past winners of the Golden Baton Award include violinist James Ehnes, children’s entertainer Al Simmons, soprano Tracy Dahl, Harold Buchwald, QC, The Winnipeg Foundation and Richardson Foundation among others.

If you would like to contribute to the Sistema Endowment Fund, go HERE, or become a Friend of the Symphony HERE.

Past recipients of the WSO Golden Baton Award

2020: Tannis Richardson & Michael Nozick, founders of Sistema Winnipeg Endowment
2014: Al Simmons, Manitoba children’s entertainer
2013: Richardson Foundation (Jim Richardson, member) & Steve Bell, Manitoba singer-songwriter
2012: Tracy Dahl, soprano & Carol Bellringer, Provincial Auditor, Past WSO Chair
2011: James Ehnes, violinist
2010: Irmgard & William Baerg, pianist, conductor, music professors
1999: Manitoba Telecom Services, Tom Stefanson, WSO sponsors
1998: William H. Loewen, business owner, WSO board member
1997: Canada Council for the Arts, Donna Scott, Chair
1996: The Winnipeg Foundation, William Parish, President
1995: Investors Group, Sanford Riley, President and CEO
1994: Great-West Life, Raymond McFeeters, President & CEO
1993: du Maurier Arts Ltd., Don Brown, President & CEO, Imperial Tobacco Limited
1992: James Richardson & Sons, George T. Richardson, President & CEO
1991: Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Charles Bronfman, President & CEO
1990: Harold Buchwald, QC, Harold Buchwald, QC

Thank you, Tannis Richardson and Michael Nozick!

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