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When Gary Slaight, seen here, sold family-owned Standard Broadcasting Inc. to Astral Media for $1.1-billion in 2007, he promised to use the proceeds to fund various charities and support new Canadian artists.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The donors: The Slaight family

The gift: $30-million

The cause: funding health care and social services programs for seniors

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When Gary Slaight sold family-owned Standard Broadcasting Inc. to Astral Media for $1.1-billion in 2007, he promised to use the proceeds to fund various charities and support new Canadian artists.

Standard Broadcasting was once a key part of the Canadian media landscape and its roots date back to 1970 when Mr. Slaight’s father, Allan, bought a pair of radio stations in Toronto and Montreal. Gary Slaight took over as chief executive from his father in 2000 and helped expand the company’s network to 52 stations across the country.

Since the sale, the family has made a series of donations through the Slaight Family Foundation totalling more than $200-million. One of their biggest causes has been funding programs for seniors and the foundation has recently donated $30-million to fund projects at 13 Toronto-area hospitals and four national organizations. The money will go toward community and hospital programs that help seniors access health care and social services. It will also help expand services for people living with dementia; train volunteers who work with vulnerable seniors and develop resources for LGBTQ seniors.

“I have two elderly parents and we’re all getting older and we just felt that there was a need for better services and better attention paid to taking care of our senior citizens as they get older,” Mr. Slaight said from his office in Toronto where he also runs Slaight Music, which helps develop partnerships between aspiring musicians and industry peers. “There needs to be more of a focus right through health system in terms of taking care of the needs of seniors who often times are on their own.”

When asked why the family wanted to get so deeply involved in philanthropy, Mr. Slaight replied: “We sold the company 12 years ago and it’s our feeling that we can do a lot with this money, and we want to do the good while we’re still here to appreciate the fact that we’re doing it.”

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