MusiCounts Inspired Minds Ambassador Award

Presented by the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation

Award Overview

The MusiCounts Inspired Minds Ambassador Award, presented by the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation recognizes an individual who has had an extraordinary impact on education and the charity over the course of its history.

MusiCounts and the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation are pleased to present Gary Slaight with the 2021 MusiCounts Inspired Minds Ambassador Award.

Gary Slaight Picture

Award Details

In honour of the Award Recipient, $30,000 worth of MusiCounts Band Aid Program instrument grants will be awarded to Canadian schools.

Each Award Recipient will also receive a statuette based on the JUNO Award design created by Canadian glass artist, the late Shirley Elford.



2021 Recipient Schools

Schools will be announced in early 2021.

About the Award Recipient

Through the Slaight Family Foundation, Gary Slaight has contributed over $750,000 over 11 remarkable years. His contributions have helped 54 schools in the Greater Toronto Area and First Nations communities in Ontario purchase instruments and deliver culturally-relevant music programming to thousands of students.

“Playing an instrument and bonding with other kids of a similar age helps build character and nurture creativity,” said Slaight. “Now with issues around the covid-19 pandemic and learning from home, music is more valuable and provides the kids an outlet to express themselves and connect beyond the virtual world. Music helps unlock a new universe for young people, just as it did for me in my early years. To me it’s very important. Music and a knowledge of music brings prosperity and vibrancy to our communities.”

2011JUNO Awards Statuette

Previous MusiCounts Inspired Minds Ambassador Award Recipients

Since 2014, Gord Bamford and the Gord Bamford Foundation have donated $200,000 to MusiCounts to support school music programs, the largest donation ever received from an artist in MusiCounts’ history. The Gord Bamford Foundation has donated to over 63 organizations—with initiatives ranging from music, education, health care and sports—and has raised over $4 million to date. Bamford has also supported the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, performed at MusiCounts Band Aid Program celebrations, and the Foundation has started music therapy programs in half a dozen children’s hospitals.
In 2016, Linda and Stephen made an extraordinary pledge of $500,000 in matching funds to the MusiCounts Band Aid Program. Due to their long-standing history with the charity, they recognized that MusiCounts has the power to continue to change the landscape of music education for children across Canada and wanted to inspire others to be involved. “Our giving has been very much centered around education, particularly music education. We believe that we can do our little bit to help the youth of today become better students and, in turn become better citizens,” said Stephen Stohn. “It is very important to Stephen and me that we 100% love and believe in the causes we support, like MusiCounts,” added Linda Schuyler. “Seeing firsthand the impact instruments make on a school and community has shown how people giving can truly make a difference.”
As a member of Blue Rodeo and as a solo artist, Jim Cuddy has received some of Canada's highest honours including, The Order of Canada, inductions into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and Canada's Walk of Fame, multiple JUNO and SOCAN Awards and the Governor General's Performing Arts Award. For nearly 15 years, Cuddy has been an ongoing advocate for music education through his profound support of MusiCounts initiatives and events. In 2004, Cuddy was the driving force behind the creation of JUNO Cup, an annual charity hockey game, which to date has raised $840,000 for MusiCounts. Cuddy also served on the MusiCounts Advisory Committee for several years, helping to further the charity's mission of ensuring that youth have access to music in their school or community. He has also participated in a MusiCounts Band Aid Program celebration and been an advocate for CARAS and MusiCounts. Most recently in 2017, Blue Rodeo sponsored the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award hosting the recipient teacher and her students at the band's recording studio, The Woodshed.
Legendary music and entertainment producer, Bob Ezrin first became associated with MusiCounts in 2004 after his induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. In 2005, he proposed that music education should not only be supported but also celebrated, leading to the creation of the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award. Through award sponsorship by internationally-renowned artists such as The Rolling Stones, Rush and Michael Bublé, the award program has since elevated MusiCounts' status in the industry, while bringing attention to the heroes of education. As President of the Ezrin Company, Jan Ezrin manages the company's production efforts in Canada in music and television. A true partnership, working hand in hand in business, in philanthropy, and in life, the Ezrins are also founding donors of the MusiCounts Leadership Circle.

About the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation

Founded in 1960, The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to helping Canadian families save for their children's post-secondary education through its subsidiaries CST Spark Inc. and CST Consultants Inc. In addition to its focus on education savings, the Foundation rewards hard working and community minded Canadian students through scholarships, bursaries and awards programs - with more than $2 million awarded since CST began. Through innovation, advocacy and philanthropy The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation continues to deliver upon its mission. For more information, visit