Tony D’Addario, who has spent 20-plus years in investment banking in Toronto, is a longtime supporter of the Bill 7 Award. Tony is currently a donor at the Benefactor level which funds one entire Bill 7 Award scholarship. Generous donors like Tony make it possible for the Bill 7 Award to help LGBTQ students in Ontario pursue their post-secondary education, something which Tony feels is invaluable.
Your connection to the Bill 7 Award?
I was introduced to the Bill 7 Award by current chair Greg Johns. It’s a great organization. I know how much post-secondary education costs these days and I am thrilled that my donation helps LGBTQ kids get through school.
Do you support other community causes, as well?
In addition to supporting the Bill 7 Award, I am a director of the annual Pride and Remembrance Run, a 100% volunteer-run not-for-profit organization that oversees the annual fund-raiser on Pride weekend. (Mark your calendar: Saturday, June 24, 10 a.m.). I also give to many other charities, including my church, the Church of the Redeemer, where I spent a six-year term on the board.
Why do you think the Bill 7 Award is significant?
I would hate to think that someone doesn’t get to reach their full potential in life because they couldn’t afford to go to school. There is feeling of community and belonging when I give to the Bill 7 Trust. Also, by attending the annual awards presentation each fall, you get to meet the actual people who are benefitting from your donation and witness the happiness it creates for them.
Your most memorable Bill 7 moment?
I clearly recall the great acceptance speech delivered by a Bill 7 Award recipient who was transgender. They explained the trials and tribulations of being trans, of being kicked out of the family home, the trials of school and acceptance and how they still soldiered on to get their degree. We gave them a standing ovation – and, trust me, there were many tears that night.
Is there one piece of advice you’d give to LGBTQ post-secondary youth?
Plan for the future and live in the present. Don’t worry so much about the future and focus on your studies. I spent way too much time in my youth worrying instead of ‘doing.’ Don’t burn any bridges. Network and plan for the future, but enjoy the present while working hard.
Why are scholarships dedicated specifically to LGBTQ post-secondary students so vital?
For students in need, especially students who are kicked out of their home, or are otherwise disadvantaged, the Bill 7 Scholarship could be the make or break cash that allows someone to actually continue their studies.