Simple Plan Hopes Humanitarian Award Will Make A Big Impact

By Karen Bliss 3/9/12 |

Simple Plan performs acoustically at MAA benefit lunch — Photo credit: Steven Campbell and Adrian Diaz.

Montreal pop-rock band Simple Plan, whose eponymous Foundation has made substantial donations over the past seven years to various child and youth related causes, will be honoured with the 2012 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award at the Juno Gala Dinner & Awards March 31 in Ottawa, presented by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS).

Singer Pierre Bouvier, drummer Chuck Comeau, bassist David Desrosiers, and guitarists Sebastien Lefebvre and Jeff Stinco will be on hand to receive the award.

"I don't think you ever expect to receive this kind of honour and I don't think you start getting involved with social and philanthropic work to win awards like this," Comeau told via email.

"I believe you do it because there's something in your heart that tells you you NEED to be doing this and because it feels right. So obviously, to be recognized for it with such a prestigious award was definitely a little bit of a shock for us and a tremendous moment for the Foundation and for the band."

The Allan Waters Humanitarian Award recognizes outstanding Canadian artists whose humanitarian contributions have positively enhanced the social fabric of Canada. Named after CHUM Ltd. founder Allan Waters, the decision to present the award to Simple Plan was made by the CARAS board of directors.

"Ever since we started the Foundation, we knew that we had the support of our fans, but I don't think we always realized that other people from the music industry were paying attention to the work we do," says Comeau. 

"It's incredibly gratifying to know our peers are aware of the efforts we put into our Foundation. It was also a little surprising because these kind of prizes usually go to older artists. We're extremely proud to be the youngest band to ever receive the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award. It goes to show that you don't have to wait 20 years into your career to try to give back to your community."

The Simple Plan Foundation was founded in December 2005 to help young people in need throughout the world. A benefit concert with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at the new Maison symphonique de Montreal last fall raised over $300,000, putting the total amount raised to date over $1 million.

Over the Foundation's history, the band has made substantial contributions to such charities as War Child Canada, Kids Help Phone, Leucan, Fondation Portage, Fondation Les Auberges du Coeur, The Lighthouse - Children and Families, St-Justine Hospital, Dans La Rue, Gris, and the Montreal Children's Hospital.

On Simple Plan's 2012 tour, $1 of each ticket sale goes to the Foundation. In addition, every new SP Crew fan club membership will make the same dollar donation.

By receiving the 2012 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award -- which should get a mention at the nationally televised show the following night in front of a range of Canadian music fans and generations -- the band is hoping it with have a multipronged impact, according to Comeau.

"Our hope is that this can inspire other young musicians to want to get involved in charitable work and get our fans and other young people into the idea of helping out other people. Every contribution counts they are so many amazing organizations doing great work that need help.

"We also hope that all this media attention on the Foundation will help us bring much-needed visibility to some of the smaller charities we support. It's always been very important for our Foundation to donate to lesser-known organizations who are out there doing amazing work, often with very little funding.

"Finally, we hope that receiving this award will help us grow the Foundation even more, organize bigger fundraising events, expand our network of donors and contributors and give us the opportunity to help more young people in need."

Precious recipients of Allan Waters Humanitarian Award include Neil Young (2011), Bryan Adams (2010), Sarah McLachlan (2009), Paul Brandt (2008), Tom Jackson (2007) and Bruce Cockburn (2006).

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