Announcing the Jennifer Barkin z”l Arts and Culture Fund at Chai Lifeline Canada

We are thrilled to announce the establishment of the Jennifer Barkin z”l Arts and Culture Fund at Chai Lifeline Canada in memory of this remarkable young woman who tragically passed away on August 5, 2021.

Jennifer Barkin z”l was a lover of the arts. As a teenager, she was a dancer and taught dance. She completed her undergraduate degree at McGill University, received her master’s degree in criminology from the University of Toronto and was accepted to law school when she took a detour with a job at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). 

At TIFF, she found her true passion, bringing arts into the community; she served as Senior Manager Festival Programmer and played an instrumental role in developing the TIFF Kids program.

According to her mother Elaine, “Jen was a best friend in the true sense of the word. Friends came first. When a friend was in need, she was always there for them.”

The fund was established with the support of Brad and Hilary Hennick and their extended family and Dr. Jack and Elaine Barkin, Jen’s parents. The fund will exemplify Jen’s passion and personality by bringing together the joy and benefits of the arts with her compassion and caring nature.

Hilary Hennick with Jennifer Barkin

This fund will provide a wide range of cultural activities to Chai Lifeline Canada clients and families who are impacted by serious and life-threatening illness. The fund is especially relevant as illness often impacts the families financially and cultural activities are often the first expense cut from the family budget. The fund will provide classes and workshops for children, in areas such as dance and music (including instrument rental) which build strength and confidence and teaches new skills. Other workshops will be organized to teach photography, sewing, and computer animation. The fund will also provide funding for attendance at theatre, music and other cultural performances, allowing clients to be transported away from the stress of illness and providing them with the opportunity to socialize with others who understand what they are going through.

According to Sara Blum, Chai Lifeline Canada Director of Family Services, who provides art therapy to clients, “This fund is a dream come true. We have always wanted to provide more cultural activities for our children and their families.” 

We thank friends and families of Jen that have generously contributed to the fund.

You can donate to The Jennifer Barkin z”l Arts and Culture Fund here.