RBC Foundation Presents

The Walrus Talks Philanthropy

Toronto Tuesday, November 25, 2014, 7 p.m.

RBC Foundation


  • Entrepreneurial Philanthropy: A Mindset by Michael Koerner, business leader and arts advocate
  • Because of Billie by Molly Johnson, singer-songwriter
  • Putting the Profit in Non-Profit by Terry O’Reilly, CBC Radio host and advertising expert
  • The Culture of Giving by Justin Poy, president and creative director of The Justin Poy Agency
  • Solidarity by Gordon Floyd, co-editor of The Philanthropist
  • The Body Always Gives a Shit by Sonnet L’Abbé, poet and critic
  • Rethinking Foundations by Bill Young, founder of Social Capital Partners
  • Philanthropy as a Mindset by Tom Jackson, actor, singer, and activist


Michael Koerner is the founding president of Canada Overseas Investments Ltd., the chancellor of the Royal Conservatory of Music, a trustee and past president of the Art Gallery of Ontario, a director and treasurer of the Ontario Arts Foundation, and the director and secretary-treasurer of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund. He previously served on the boards of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Ballet of Canada, Canada’s National Ballet School, and the Bata Shoe Museum. Michael is an officer of the Order of Canada, and he holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from Queen’s University.


Molly Johnson is an award-winning singer-songwriter known for her soulful original compositions and her interpretations of classic jazz and popular standards. A respected philanthropist and officer of the Order of Canada, Molly raised millions of dollars for people living with HIV/AIDS through her Kumbaya Foundation and other charitable organizations. She has received the Juno Award for best vocal jazz album and a National Jazz Award for best female vocalist.

Terry O’Reilly is the host of CBC Radio’s Under the Influence and the previous host of O’Reilly on Advertising and The Age of Persuasion. He began his career as a copywriter for Campbell Ewald, DDB Canada, and Chiat/Day, and in 1990, he co-founded Pirate Radio and Television, a creative audio-production company. O’Reilly has won hundreds of national and international writing awards, and he has directed Alec Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, Kiefer Sutherland, Bob Newhart, Martin Short, and Drew Carey.


Justin Poy is the president and creative director of the Justin Poy Agency. He specializes in developing campaigns targeted at the Mainland Chinese, Hong Kong, Taiwanese, Korean, and South Asian markets as well as Asian markets in Canada. He has won eleven Summit Creative Awards; three awards from the Chinese Canadian Advertising, Marketing, and Media Association; three Summit Emerging Media Awards for innovation in the use of high-tech media; and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation’s Chairman’s Award for his assistance to young entrepreneurs in Canada. He is involved with many cultural organizations, including Get Active Toronto, the Canadian Foundation for Chinese Heritage Preservation, and the Toronto International Film Festival.


Gordon Floyd is co-editor of The Philanthropist, a quarterly journal for practitioners, scholars, and supporters within the Canadian non-profit sector. He recently retired as president and CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario, where he worked for the past ten years. His previous positions include vice-president, public affairs, at the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy; former chief of staff to three leaders of the opposition in Ontario; head of a public-affairs consulting firm serving Canada, the US, and the Caribbean; and co-founder and senior vice-president of a large fundraising consulting firm. He is currently board chair of the National Alliance for Children and Youth.


Sonnet L’Abbé, Ph.D., is the author of two collections of poetry, A Strange Relief and Killarnoe, both published by McClelland and Stewart. She was the 2017StartsNow! Artist-in-Motion in 2013 and is the 2014 guest editor of Best Canadian Poetry. She is now at work on Sentient Mental Flower Book and Sonnet’s Shakespeare, her third and fourth collections of poems. Sonnet has reviewed poetry and fiction for The Globe and Mail, taught at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and at the University of British Columbia, and in 2015 will be the Edna Staebler Writer-In-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Bill Young is the founder of Social Capital Partners, an innovative non-profit, social finance company started in 2001. SCP was founded on Bill’s beliefs that (a) there is nothing more important than the dignity of a job for all of us and (b) that Canada doesn’t have particularly effective systems in place to find meaningful employment opportunities for those at a disadvantage. Before founding SCP, Bill worked in the private sector, primarily as CEO of Hamilton Computers – later sold to GE Capital – and Optel Communications Corp. He began his career as a Chartered Accountant and holds an Honours BA from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Harvard. He sits on numerous boards and advisory boards involved in social finance and social innovation and is a Member of the Order of Canada.


Tom Jackson is an actor, singer, and humanitarian. He has recorded fourteen albums—two of which received Juno nominations—and has performed in North of 60, Shining Time Station, Star Trek, and Law and Order. His philanthropic endeavours include his Huron Carole benefit concert series and his two recent tours, Singing for Supper and Swinging for Supper. He received the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television’s Humanitarian Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Alberta Centennial Medal, and the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal. In 2000, he became an officer of the Order of Canada.

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The Walrus
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The Walrus Talks is a national series of events produced by the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation as part of an educational mandate to provide forums for conversation on matters vital to Canadians. The Walrus Foundation produces The Walrus magazine, the most awarded publication in Canada, as well as producing content at thewalrus.ca, on Walrus TV, and on stages from coast to coast to coast.

The Walrus Talks format features eight speakers for seven minutes each on various themes relating to a single topic. Each event offers lively, thoughtful, inspiring, riveting, smart, new thinking from scientists, writers, performers, scholars, and leaders of business and the arts. Each Talks event is followed by a spirited reception with attendees and participants.

The Walrus Talks delivers fresh ideas and new ways of looking at big issues. The Walrus has no “wings.” Our speakers are chosen to reflect a range of experiences and viewpoints, but they all have one thing in common: the desire for real conversation about issues that affect the future of Canada. Our goal is for audience members to think “I never thought about it that way” when the Talks are over.

Dates, details, and ticket information are available at thewalrus.ca/events.