Right To Play Raises Over $3M to Help Children Rise Above Adversity at the 2022 Heroes Gala!

2022 Heroes Gala Webstory - Hero Image

On Wednesday, June 22 Right To Play hosted its 7th annual Heroes Gala. Thanks to our incredible supporters, this year's Heroes Gala raised over $3 million to support programs that protect, educate, and empower children in 15 countries around the world, including Indigenous communities here in Canada, to rise above adversity through the power of play.

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Right To Play's Heroes Gala returned to honour iconic Canadians in business, sport and community leadership. The 2022 Gala celebrated founding member of Right To Play's Canadian Advisory Board, Larry Tanenbaum, O.C., Chairman of MLSE with the inaugural Humanitarian Award, as well as long-time Ambassador, Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser, O.C. Right To Play Community Mentor, Ciara Lewis and, President and CEO of OMERS, Blake Hutcheson.

“We are thankful to our community of supporters who together raised $3 Million to help children to stay in school and graduate, resist exploitation, overcome prejudice, prevent disease, and heal from the trauma of war and displacement. We thank them for their commitment to ensuring that children and youth can recover from the effects of the pandemic and other crises and reclaim their hope for a brighter future,” said Susan McIsaac, CEO of Right To Play. “And we are so proud to recognize our 2022 honourees, four incredible people whose leadership, vision, and commitment are an inspiration to many across this country, and whose contributions have been invaluable to Right To Play’s work.”

Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser shared the news that long-time Right To Play partner, Toronto Maple Leafs through MLSE Foundation, recommitted their partnership with a significant $500,000, four-year grant. The partnership funds will specifically support Right To Play’s Health & Wellness program in Ontario, and girls empowerment, through the implementation of two annual gender equity hockey for development clinic in partnered Indigenous communities across the province.

"It is such an honour to be named as the 2022 Heroes Gala Athlete Honouree,” said Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser O.C. “I know first-hand the tremendous impact play and sport had on my life and every child, regardless of the situation they were born into, deserves to experience the learning opportunities and magic that play provides. Being a fierce advocate for gender equality, it is also a great privilege to be supporting an organization that values the role girls can have in their families, communities and in life."


The Heroes Gala featured playful activations, Indigenous art and entertainment, and surprise appearances from Brendan Shanahan, President of the Toronto Maple Leafs; Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors; Bill Manning, President of the Toronto Football Club. Attendees also had the chance to hear directly from Ontario Premier Doug Ford who announced a recently awarded nearly $5M grant in support of Right To Play’s Indigenous Programs. The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development was also in attendance and spoke to the importance of Right To Play’s partnership with Global Affairs Canada, and our shared work to improve the access to education though the use of play-based learning for children and young people, especially girls.


“I was so pleased to join Right To Play’s 2022 Heroes Gala and to celebrate the important partnership between Right To Play and Global Affairs Canada,” said the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development. “Despite the unprecedented global impact of COVID and other crises, Right To Play continued to support the world’s most marginalized children when they needed it most. Play is such an effective tool for learning, it can also encourage and uplift those children dealing with uncertainty and disruption in their lives. It was inspiring to see so many leaders come together in support of this work and to share the story of impact with Canadians.”

Thank you to Title Sponsors Scotiabank and MLSE, who helped us bring together more than 1,000 community leaders in business, sports, entertainment, government and philanthropy to raise funds for the 2.3 million children Right To Play serves globally and within over 70 Indigenous communities in Canada.

Check out the highlights below!

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