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Niagara Falls
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Shaw Festival donates $4,000 to NOTL charities
Juliet Dunn and Peter Shea, TD Niagara Jazz Festival; Alan Walker, Shaw Guild President and member of the Shaw Festival Town Preview Funding Program; Bonnie Bagnulo, Executive Director, Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care Service and Walter Weaver, Niagara-on-the-Lake Branch, Canadian Cancer Society. Jenniffer Anand

Four Niagara-based charitable organizations have received donations from the Shaw Festival’s town preview funding program.

Thanks to money raised from tickets that residents buy to special Shaw spring performances, the festival has donated a total of $4,000.

“This is the festival’s way of giving back to the community and assisting organizations that both support and benefit Niagara-on-the-Lake’s residents through their good works,” said Shaw spokesperson Jenniffer Anand said in a statement.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Palliative Care received $1,000, the Canadian Cancer Society’s NOTL branch got $1,250, the NOTL Soccer Club received $1,000 and the TD Niagara Jazz Festival was given $750.

“We were so, so, so very blessed. That was a wonderful donation that was given to us,” said Bonnie Bagnulo, executive director of NOTL Palliative Care.

The donation will be used to buy two specific items – sheepskin materials and baby monitors. Sheepskin items improve the comfort of those in palliative care.

“Sheepskin products are a natural product with wool from sheep. So, they actually add a lot of aeration underneath a person,” Bagnulo said.

“If anyone is bedridden or they’re always sitting, those coccyx bones will be resting in their skin, therefore causing pressure sores. We want to alleviate that or actually stop them from even developing, if we can.”

The baby monitors are equally important.

“Baby monitors are really imperative for people in the home. You want to sit bedside but when someone’s sleeping that’s a chance that you could maybe throw a load of laundry in.”

“The problem is you can’t really leave them. So, with the baby monitors nowadays they can hear each other on each side and visually see each other on each side. So, rather than having to sit right there 24/7 you’re able to get a little something done and possibly a good night’s sleep.”

For Juliet Dunn, executive director and founder of the TD Niagara Jazz Festival, receiving a donation from the Shaw brought her life in NOTL full circle.

“The reason I live in Niagara is because of the Shaw festival because I came to work at the Shaw in 2002,” said Dunn in an interview on Wednesday.

Dunn moved from Paris, France, to NOTL after getting hired to perform with the Shaw.

“I kind of built my life from there. It’s always kind of super sweet to be able to go to the festival lobby and be recognized and receive funding from the Shaw for the festival we created.”

She said she had never heard of NOTL or the Shaw Festival before getting hired.

“I arrived at midnight the night before (the first rehearsal) and I kind of opened my eyes and discovered Niagara-on-the-Lake on my way to rehearsal,” she said with a laugh.

The jazz festival received $750 to go toward free programming in NOTL. This year, free shows have mostly taken the form of pop-up performances, said Dunn.

There have been several such shows with the Big Smoke Brass Band, which has done pop-up gigs at the Irish Harp and other locations around NOTL.

“It’s always nice to be able to bring free events to the community,” Dunn said.

The money most likely will go entirely to paying artists for their performances, she said.

Pop-up shows can happen last minute with little promotion, so she urged people to sign up for the jazz festival’s newsletters and announcements at  niagarajazzfestival.com/ to stay in the know.

The festival is going into its 10th year, something Dunn said is rare for music festivals.

“Thanks to everybody who continues to support what we do — the Shaw and TD, and all of the sponsors, funders, partners and volunteers.”

“We truly appreciate the community coming together to bring us this far.”

The Shaw Festival raises donation money through designated “town preview” performances of certain shows.

“The more tickets that are sold to these specific performances, the more money goes into the fund,” said Anand.

Every spring, the Shaw advertises the dates of town preview performances. The ads also includes information on how charitable organizations can apply to be considered as funding recipients, she said.

The $1,250 donation to the cancer society will help the Wheels of Hope program. 

“The Canadian Cancer Society’s Wheels of Hope Transportation Program provides people living with cancer rides to and from their cancer treatment appointments,” says the society’s website.

“Dedicated volunteer drivers donate their time and use their own (or society-owned) vehicles to help people living with cancer get to the hospital or cancer centre.”

The $1,000 for the soccer club will sponsor a team, Anand said.

Representatives from the soccer club and the Canadian Cancer Society were unavailable for interviews prior to publication.

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