Rockwood couple leaves $100,000 to Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington

GUELPH – The Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington recently announced the receipt of a transformational gift of $100,000 from the estate of Klara and Oscar Bookbinder.

The foundation says the donation will be used to fund music education for children and youth, in honour of the Bookbinder’s legacy as music teachers, composers and scholars.

“It’s clear how important music education was to the Bookbinders,” says Karyn Kirkwood, program director at the Children’s Foundation.

“Their studies and their life work as music teachers had a huge impact on hundreds and hundreds of children.

“We share their commitment to the importance of music education, especially in early childhood, and are honoured to play a role in furthering their legacy by funding youth through our programming.”

The Bookbinders first met as students at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest in the 1940s, and studied under the famed Hungarian composer, Zoltán Kodály.

They left Hungary as refugees in 1957 and built a new life in Canada, eventually settling in Rockwood.

Music was always a driving force in their lives, and they were beloved by their students in both Toronto and the Rockwood area, nurturing a lifelong love for music, says the foundation.

Peter Hannam, executor of the Bookbinder’s estate, recently presented the Children’s Foundation with the donation that will support funding for music lessons for children from low-income homes, as well as an annual $2,500 scholarship for post-secondary studies in music for years to come.

“The Bookbinders felt so strongly that every child should have the opportunity to learn how to make music,” says Hannam.

Free to Grow program

“They would have been pleased that their estate has been able to partner with the Children’s Foundation to help fulfill that goal.”

The Children’s Foundation’s Free to Grow program provides up to $400 per year for children to participate in music lessons, along with other recreational and life-skill development opportunities.

This donation will not only ensure that hundreds of children will have the chance to experience learning music – a portion of the funds will also be dedicated to a new scholarship named after the Bookbinders for youth to obtain a post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate in music studies.

“This gift will have a significant impact for children and youth in our community,” says Emma Rogers, CEO of the foundation.

“Music can play such a vital role in early childhood development, building cognitive skills, creativity, and discipline.