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Cynamon and Sokolowski families team up for major gift
$5 million donation will create new Sports Complex on Sherman Campus


By Daniel Horowitz--Two visionary and generous philanthropic families have come together to share their love of sports through UJA’s Tomorrow Campaign, and Toronto’s Jewish community – and the community at large – will never be the same.

David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski recently announced that their families have made a joint $5 million gift for a new, state-of-the-art sports complex, part of the Prosserman Jewish Community Centre at Bathurst St. and Sheppard Ave.

When completed, the Cynamon/Sokolowski Sports Complex will be a vital part of the Prosserman JCC, which opened its first phase this past fall.  The complex will offer a comprehensive, holistic approach to health and wellness for all ages. The facility will include a multi-sport gymnasium, indoor and outdoor pools, including a therapeutic pool for seniors and children, an indoor running track, and a fitness centre.

“This is an extraordinary gift made by philanthropic leaders in our city,” said Alan Winer, chair, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. “The Cynamon/Sokolowski Sports Complex will embody the generosity, passion for sports, and commitment to community for which the Cynamon and Sokolowski families are renowned.”

In fact, both families have distinguished themselves by providing leadership and support for many vital causes. David and Stacey Cynamon have been involved in numerous Jewish, Israeli, health care and general community endeavours. Howard Sokolowski is a past chair of United Jewish Appeal’s annual campaign, while his wife, the Honourable Linda Frum Sokolowski, is a past chair of UJA’s Women’s Philanthropy.

“It’s been a long process; a long time in the dream stage and now we are in the midst of seeing those dreams come to fruition,” said Honey Sherman. “There’s no question that the Cynamon and Sokolowski families’ efforts are going to go a long way to benefitting not only our community’s immediate needs, but our future, as well. Still, as far as we have come, we need the participation of all those within our community who can do so to truly make this dream a reality.”

The Cynamon/Sokolowski Sports Complex will be part of the second phase of Sherman Campus, a unique centre of community services located on 27.5 acres adjacent to the Don Valley ravine on Bathurst, north of Sheppard Avenue. The campus includes the Prosserman JCC, The future National Centre for Jewish Heritage, the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, The Koffler Centre of the Arts and the Leah Posluns Theatre.

“Although I’m from Edmonton, I’ve been coming to the JCC here since I was 17 and I have so many good memories,” said Cynamon. “Howard and I really did our homework on this project; it’s such an important facility, in the heart of the city, and it feels so good to be able to give back. Sports have a way of bringing people from all backgrounds and experiences together in the pursuit of excellence. My family and I are thrilled to be part of the growth and vibrancy of the Prosserman JCC on Sherman Campus.”

“I grew up here at what we all used to call the Northern Y,” said a smiling Sokolowski, owner, along with Cynamon, of the Toronto Argonauts. “I have so many great memories of this whole place that when I was given the opportunity to be involved in its revitalization, I simply had to do what I could. This is all about making a first-class facility available to the entire community. And that’s precisely what we expect the Cynamon/Sokolowski Sports Complex to be.”

“The vision and generosity shown by the Sokolowski and Cynamon families through this gift is remarkable,” said Peter Cohen, chair, Sherman Campus Development Project. “The scope of the new Sports Complex that will bear their names will benefit the community-at-large in so many ways, while providing an essential atmosphere of health and wellness to all, and what better way is there to improve a community than that?”

Sherman Campus is part of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s $400 million Tomorrow Campaign, which is building three centres of Jewish life that will serve all residents of the Greater Toronto Area. Chaired by Gerry Schwartz and Larry Tanenbaum, the project is the largest non-profit infrastructure development in Canada.