Alicia Keys sings at Hope Rising (Photo by Tom Sandler)

Hope Rising! 2011

On May 3rd 2011, over 3,100 people attended Hope Rising! – a benefit concert hosted by the Stephen Lewis Foundation in support of grassroots organizations at the frontlines of the AIDS epidemic in Africa. International recording artists Alicia Keys, K’NAAN, Angélique Kidjo, Rufus Wainwright Jully Black, Lorraine Segato and Holly Cole headlined this spectacular event at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Broadcasters Jian Ghomeshi and Marci Ien and actress Gloria Reuben hosted the intimate evening.

CBC Radio recorded the concert and aired a special one-hour version of Hope Rising! on Canada Live on June 6th. The concert is now available online via CBC's Concerts on Demand.

A highlight of the concert was the appearance of seven African grandmothers from Swaziland and South Africa. They opened the show with a spirited song, and when they took the stage to participate in a theatrical performance with Da Kink in My Hair actresses Ngozi Paul and d’bi young, their resolve to talk about the ravages of AIDS and their commitment to keeping their families together grounded the night in the resilience and courage of communities working to turn the tide of HIV & AIDS in Africa.

Before the concert, 250 VIP guests attended the Globe and Mail Roundtable: Philanthropy for Hope and Impact. Attendees enjoyed a full-course meal while listening to an intimate and lively discussion about how philanthropy can have a concrete and powerful impact on peoples’ lives on the frontlines of the AIDS epidemic. The conversation was moderated by Globe and Mail Editor-in-chief John Stackhouse and panellists included renowned humanitarian Harry Belafonte, Stephen Lewis, and SLF Field Representatives Ida Mukuka and Jessica Horn.

Hope Rising! shone a celebratory spotlight on African communities: music, drama, and dance were integrated in a creative reflection of the struggle for survival, healing and hope. A video clip (see above) produced for the concert by the Foundation reflects the role of the arts in the grassroots response to the epidemic in Africa, and provides insight into the work of the Foundation to support the organizations at the frontlines.

The event raised over $500,000 for our work with grassroots organizations in Africa, an enormous amount of awareness, and received tremendous support and assistance from the artists, corporate sponsors, and volunteers. 

Hope Rising! supporters

Hope Rising! was presented by CIBC. Lead sponsors included the Globe and Mail and Aeroplan’s Beyond Miles programme. Media sponsors included CTV, CP24, MuchMusic and CHUM FM. The Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario and One King West were supporting sponsors and contributing sponsors included the Fairmont Royal York; ONESTOP; Ontario Public Service Employees Union; Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada; The Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario; International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; United Steelworkers Canada; Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario; IN Toronto; C.J Graphics and Naked Creative.


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