Lynrod Douglas met his wife while attending Caribana for the first time in 1987.
Almost 24 years later, the then New York resident who moved to the Greater Toronto Area after marrying Millicent Douglas four months after they were introduced by mutual friends, is set to preside over the Caribana Arts Foundation which aims to promote the carnival arts and culture through education, scholarships, training and development programs and research.
He’s the president of the foundation that falls under the Caribana Arts Group (CAG) which replaced the Caribbean Cultural Committee (CCC), the organization which ran North America’s largest summer festival until 2006 when the City of Toronto withdrew funding and created the Festival Management Committee (FMC).
“I have been on the sidelines for years, passively watching Caribana,” said Trinidad & Tobago-born Douglas who migrated to the United States at a young age before coming to Canada. “The foundation is an opportunity for me and Caribana to do something positive to overcome some the negatives that have surrounded the annual celebration.
“Very few members of our community benefit from the millions of dollars that Caribana brings into this city. The foundation will allow the wider Black community to participate in and benefit from the services and programs that we are going to offer…It’s an opportunity for Canadian citizens and the world to give back to a community that has been for the past 40 years giving to them this wonderful gift called Caribana.”
Douglas said his priorities are to obtain charitable status for the foundation and secure a permanent home for the CAG family.
The Canadian Diabetes Association’s corporate development officer for the past three years, Douglas served as the chief executive officer of Black Pages Network Inc. which published the Black Pages directory and business and entertainment magazines. The group, which existed for nearly 16 years, also published two studies on Black entrepreneurship in the Greater Toronto Area.
He also chaired the Canadian Race Relations Foundation’s investment committee and served as a small business adviser to the Canadian government.
The rest of the Caribana Arts Foundation board comprises Leslie Forbes (secretary), Henry Gomez (treasurer) and Renae Roberts. There is one vacant board position to be filled later.