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Star-Studded Evening Raises 1.25 million dollars in support of Artists for Peace and Justice

Sean Penn, Pascal Raffy, Paul Haggis, Maxwell, Maria Bello, Jim Belushi, Jeremy Renner, Catherine Keener come together for the annual BOVET 1822 Artists for Peace and Justice Festival Fair in support of education in Haiti.

An impressive 1.25 million dollars was raised at the annual BOVET 1822 Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) Festival Fair presented at the iconic Casa Loma in Toronto Canada. Co-chaired by Natasha Koifman and Suzanne Boyd, the event was co-hosted by an influential team who joined BOVET 1822 Owner Pascal Raffy including APJ Founder, Paul Haggis, Jeremy Renner, Jim Belushi, Catherine Keener, Maria Bello, Maxwell, Jimmy Jean Louis and George Stroumboulopoulos.

Held at the majestic Casa Loma the evening’s title sponsor was APJ strategic partner BOVET 1822. Thanks to the exceptional support of BOVET 1822, APJ is able to give 100 per cent of every dollar raised directly to supporting health, dignity, and education initiatives in Haiti.

Paul Haggis, Pascal Raffy and Maria Bello presented J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) founder Sean Penn with the second annual Peace and Justice Award, recognizing his extraordinary longstanding commitment to supporting communities in Haiti and promoting the ideals of peace and social justice around the world.

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Academy Award Winning Director and APJ Founder Paul Haggis; Actors Sean Penn and Maria Bello, BOVET owner Pascal Raffy, and APJ Exec. Director David Belle

Bello started her tribute to Penn by asking guests to declare a word that described him; when the word “Relentless” was sounded, there was a collective sigh of agreement in the room. Upon accepting his award to a standing ovation, Penn encouraged every table in the room to commit to giving to APJ, helping to increase the level of funds raised beyond the already successful live auction.

The live auction offered those in attendance access to bid on one-of-a-kind experiences that went for impressive amounts in support of the cause. Items included a walk-on role in Paul Haggis’s Gold, starring Matthew McConaughy, a day on set of David Simon’s new HBO series The Deuce starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Actor Jeremy Renner auctioned a double date for the red carpet TIFF premiere of his film, The Arrival, won by a duo Dean and Dan Caten of DSQUARDED. Soul crooner Maxwell added a surprise auction item, allowing the winner to accompany him and R&B artist Mary J. Blige on their King + Queen of Hearts world tour.

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Jeremy Renner, Pascal Raffy and Paul Haggis

Guests in attendance were treated to a musical performance “It’s A Wonderful World” dedicated to Pascal Raffy by the indie-soul American singer-songwriter, Arum Rae. Slaight Music artist Kayla Diamond, winner of the label’s It’s Your Shot contest, also entertained the crowd earlier that evening with her alt-rock tunes.

Additional VIPs who walked the red carpet for the event included Jimmy Jean-Louis, Maripier Morin, Peter Tunney, Gabriella Wright, Jeanne Beker, Ian Hylton, Drew and Jonathan Scott, and Kevin O’Leary. Several stars and attendees wore BOVET timepieces for the evening, including: actors Jeremy Renner, Jimmy Jean-Louis and Katherine Castro; television and radio personality George Stroumboulopoulos, Academy Award Winning Director and APJ Founder Paul Haggis, and APJ Executive Director David Belle. Several on-air correspondents also wore elegant timepieces.

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Jeremy Renner, Pascal Raffy, Jim Belushi and Paul Haggis

Immediately following the 2010 earthquake, APJ funded the purchase of land and construction to build Haiti’s largest and first free high school, the Academy for Peace and Justice, which serves the poorest and most deserving youth in Port-au-Prince. The Academy reached 2800 students at full capacity in 2016 and celebrated its first graduating class, giving underprivileged children the opportunity to continue their education beyond the sixth grade. BOVET 1822 became involved in the cause early on, with BOVET Owner Pascal Raffy drawn to the organization’s heartfelt mission. Upon visiting Haiti himself and witnessing the need firsthand, Mr. Raffy committed a $5 million donation over five years far exceeding other event donations plus proceeds from timepiece sales of The Lady BOVET Flower of Life, which benefit the organization in collaboration with fellow APJ board member Madeleine Stowe.

Pascal Raffy says of the evening, “I met the great Artists for Peace and Justice family during an evening fundraiser on Sunset Boulevard in California. This led me to discover with them the Sun City or Cité Soleil in Port-au-Prince with Father Rick of The St. Luke Foundation of Haiti. This giant inspired my indefectible will to feed the hope of Haiti’s children through education, perseverance and pride. Today our partnership with Artists for Peace and Justice continues to uphold the same valued qualities of the house of BOVET. We are proud that coming together in
Toronto was again a success and that we can help guarantee 100% of the gifts from this beautiful evening go straight to supporting the children and school in Haiti where it is so desperately needed.”

“The Toronto APJ event is the number one fundraiser of our year. Since 2009 when we launched APJ at TIFF, we have been able to give Haitian children a chance to go to school and build a brighter future for their country,” says Haggis. “In eight years with the incredible Toronto community and our APJ family, we’ve accomplished an unbelievable amount, including celebrating the first ever graduation. Thanks to our many supporters, we’ve made great strides in bringing education, healthcare, and hope to the children of Haiti, but there continues to be so much more that we can do. Tonight, we have honored our friends and recognized our achievements, but we must maintain the momentum to create jobs, empower young people and help support the next generation of Haitian leaders.”