Generous Gift From a Generous Man
Financial contribution by the late Paul Lynch benefits youth for years to come
Paul Lynch 2019
Paul Lynch as a boy
Paul Lynch knew a thing or two about hardship. When he was still a boy, his father died, leaving his mother to raise him and his siblings on her own. Residing in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood, the Lynchs − among Toronto’s original Black families − moved across town into a Sumach Street apartment in Regent Park, at the time a new residential development taking shape in Toronto’s east end.
Paul chummed around with brother Leith who today has fond memories of being in his brother’s company. “There wasn’t a kid we didn’t know in Regent Park,” Leith reminisced, “and if we didn’t know them, we got to know them.”
In addition to positive influences in his home, community programs at Dixon Hall and the local Boys & Girls Club were instrumental in shaping the compassionate individual Paul would grow to in adulthood. Graduating from Eastern Commerce and finding work in the beauty supply industry, Paul established a love of jazz early on. The avid reader boasted an impressive collection of vinyl as well. His musical tastes ranged from John Coltrane to Paul Robeson and the blues.
Paul’s next employer was the City of Toronto where he remained for over three decades until retirement.
A favorite haunt of Paul’s was the Underground Railroad. Naturally, one of his favorite jazz musicians was the late jazz drummer, restaurateur, and Order of Canada recipient, Archie Alleyne. Paul made a point to patronize clubs to hear Mr. Alleyne perform.
Recalling agencies that helped him find his way in his youth, Paul gave back to the community, volunteering with various not-for-profits including the United Way, Boys & Girls Club of Regent Park and the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association of Toronto.
To Paul’s delight, his great niece, chanteuse Aijia Waithe, was a recipient of the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund. AASF was established in 2003 to provide funding for young people enrolled in post-secondary music training and education. Proud of his niece’s accomplishments, Paul became Aijia’s biggest booster.
When Paul passed away in August 2019, he bequeathed monies to several of his favorite organizations, including the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund. Since 2013 when Aijia was an AASF recipient, she has seen her career flourish. Asked recently about AASF’s effect on her studies, Aijia remembers, “I was working 3 jobs while being in school full-time, which was not easy. Receiving the AASF Scholarship not only provided the resources I needed, but also the moral and professional support that helped keep me grounded and focused on developing my skills and work ethic.”
Paul Lynch’s largess will positively influence youth for years to come. His brother put it best when asked what Paul’s wish would be for youth impacted by his gift: “We grew up rough. Everything we had, we scraped for so if you can get a kid with some talent and send them to the next level, that’s what Paul would like.”
Clearly, Paul Lynch knew a thing or two about generosity, too.
AASF Bursary Recipient receives merit-based scholarship from Julliard
2017 AASF Bursary Recipient William Leathers has recently been awarded a full scholarship at Julliard through the Kovner Fellowship Program.
The Kovner Fellowship Program established by Bruce and Suzie Kovner in 2014 provides comprehensive scholarship support covering the full estimated cost of attendance to outstanding undergraduate and graduate classical music students during their degree programs at The Juilliard School. William now a Kovner Fellow will benefit not only from financial support but also from significantly enhanced programmatic content with the goal of developing future leaders in the arts.
Kovner Fellows are chosen by the Kovner Selection Committee based on faculty recommendations and the following criteria:
Artistic merit of the highest caliber
A successful academic history
Personal capacity for intellectual curiosity, commitment to the value of art in society, and potential for leadership in the field
There are approximately 54 Fellows at any given time, comprising both undergraduate and graduate students.