Reasons to Love Toronto Now: because Gary Slaight is our Warren Buffett

Reasons to Love Toronto Now: because Gary Slaight is our Warren Buffett

(Image: CP Images) (Image: CP Images)
 

Gary Slaight knows money. His father, Allan, founded his radio empire in 1971 with a single station and grew it into a juggernaut: eventually, he acquired the ailing Standard Broadcasting from Conrad Black. When Gary, soft-spoken and razor-sharp, started working at the company, he helped his father expand it even further. Then he did something most money-wise people never do. In 2007, with Allan long since retired and Gary in the driver’s seat, he sold Standard Radio and its 52 stations to Astral Media for $1.08 billion—and pulled a full-on Warren Buffett, establishing the Slaight Family Foundation and switching gears from making money to systematically giving it all away. He still looks the part of a media CEO, with a uniform of starched white shirts and tailored jackets, but he has the heart of a hippie, spending his days figuring out how to allocate his sizable funds. The foundation has given to organizations as diverse as Right to Play, Ryerson University and the National Ballet. In 2013, the family made a surprise donation of $50 million spread among five Toronto hospitals, earmarking money for doubling the size of St. Michael’s emergency department, Canada’s first full-body MRI machine at Toronto Western, scalpel-free brain surgery at Sunnybrook, and a youth research and treatment centre at CAMH.