Children and youth throughout Canada and around the world enjoy great Canadian programming.
The Shaw Rocket Fund will invest in and champion quality Canadian children’s programming with financing that supports the growth of the production industry.
Message from the Chair
As the children’s television and digital media industry continues to evolve and grow, the Shaw Rocket Fund is also evolving and growing – always with the goal of helping to encourage and support the Canadian media industry to provide the very best for our children. Since the Rocket Fund began, our contributors have provided not only funding, but also care and interest in what we do.
To our contributors: Thank you for making the Rocket soar! Shaw Communications and Shaw Direct have made it possible for us to work with the creators of high quality television and digital media for kids and families to further Canada’s world leadership in this field.
Read More About Us
At the Shaw Rocket Fund, we are passionate about stimulating excellence in the Canadian children’s production industry.
Entertainment has become a multi-platform experience – particularly for kids, where it now plays a role in virtually every aspect of their lives. As a forward-thinking, not-for-profit organization, the Rocket Fund recognizes the ever-evolving nature of our media environment and is focused on continually enhancing the media experience of children, youth and families.
One of the unique ways that we are able to hear and respond to the opinions of our Canadian children is by involving them in the Shaw Rocket Prize as Kid Jurors. The Shaw Rocket Prize is an annual $75,000 prize honouring the very best in Canadian television programming and related digital content for kids. Through the Shaw Rocket Prize we are rewarding and promoting quality kids’ programming and recognizing the importance it holds, both for today’s children and those of future generations.
We also incorporate the opinions of Canadian children into our proactive research initiatives, ensuring that kids receive the quality programming they deserve. We will continue to be a champion of Canadian children’s programming and increase the impact of our programs not only at home, but abroad.
The Shaw Rocket Fund is supported by Shaw Communications Inc., Shaw Pay Per View Ltd. a division of Shaw Cablesystems G.P., and Shaw Direct. We are honoured to be seen as one of Shaw’s Family Initiatives.
View Our History
The Shaw Rocket Fund is a permanent, independently governed, not-for-profit corporation that provides equity financing for the production of high quality Canadian children’s, youth and family programming. The Rocket Fund is a continuation of Shaw Communications’ ongoing commitment to Canadian children’s programming. Since 1994, Shaw Communications has contributed over $145 million dollars to Canadian children’s television and digital media production through three separate funds.
The Shaw Rocket Fund proudly continues this legacy. We are the largest private funder dedicated to Canadian children’s media for independent producers. Since 1998, the Shaw Rocket Fund – previously known as the Shaw Television Broadcast Fund – has invested $127 million in 529 high quality children’s programs, representing 7,456 half hours of great Canadian programming for our kids.
Board & Team
Annabel Slaight, Chair
Founder of Owl Magazines, Books and Television, Annabel Slaight is the recipient of many awards including the Order of Ontario, Canadian Film and Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Royal Canadian Institute’s Sir Sanford Fleming Award. In addition to her dedication to the Shaw Rocket Fund and creative content for children, she is on a crusade to save and protect Lake Simcoe.
Gigi Boyd, Vice-Chair
A Gemini and Leo award winning Producer (“Elijah”), Gigi Boyd was recently hired as the Vice President of Industrial Relations, CMPA – BC Branch. Gigi’s background includes producing roles on Canadian series such as “Cold Squad”, “Godiva’s” and “The Guard”. She is a former Manager of Business Affairs and Director of the Television Unit for the Western office of Telefilm Canada, a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre Producer Program, an inaugural winner of the Banff Next Media TV 360 Team Award and served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Directors Guild of Canada – BC Branch board from 2006-2010.
Chethan Lakshman, Director
Chethan Lakshman is Vice-President, Communications and Public Relations at Shaw Communications, where he oversees the company’s public relations, community investment, corporate sponsorship, and organizational communications portfolios. Prior to joining Shaw, Chethan provided independent communications and reputation management strategy and counsel to corporations, charitable enterprises, and individuals. From 1999–2011, Chethan was a leader of the award-winning Corporate Communications team at RBC, where he held a variety of senior roles. Before moving into the field of communications, Chethan worked as a journalist with The Globe and Mail, Financial Post, and CBC.
Throughout his career, Chethan has used his expertise to develop strategies that communicate complex issues, ideas, and policies to a variety of audiences within an environment of competing interests. He sits on the board of directors for The Walrus Foundation, The Company Theatre, and the Canadian Journalism Foundation, and is former Chair of the Toronto Business Development Centre. Chethan lives in Calgary with his wife, Heather.
Nancy Birnbaum, Director
In her 13 years as CEO of Invest in Kids, Nancy led the transformation of this small, Toronto-focused granting foundation into a national charitable organization providing parenting support to new parents across Canada. Prior to this, Nancy spent 20 years in the branding, marketing and communications fields in both consulting and business leadership roles, including as Managing Director of the Toronto office of Young & Rubicam Advertising. Since 1997, Nancy has been part of Humanity, Inc., a business and branding strategy consulting firm based in the U.S. Nancy’s interests and reputation for insightful strategic solutions are reflected in the many volunteer leadership positions she has held in the children and youth, women’s issues, and education arenas.
Agnes Augustin, President & CEO
Since 2004, Agnes Augustin has proudly overseen the Shaw Rocket Fund and its commitment to be a champion of Canadian children’s programming through the Fund’s investment practices and the creation of various initiatives to support the industry, such as the much celebrated Shaw Rocket Prize. Prior to joining the Shaw Rocket Fund, Agnes was a Manager and Vice President of Business Affairs for various production and distribution companies, Head of Production for CMT, as well as an independent producer.
Allan Joli-Coeur, VP, Operations
Allan Joli-Coeur brings 22 years of experience in film and television beginning his career as a lawyer with Astral Communications and Heenan Blaikie. He has worked in distribution and broadcasting, and over the past 13 years he executive produced over 345 half hours of children’s programming including 8 television series and its related digital content (Prank Patrol, In Real Life) with Apartment 11 Productions in Montreal. Allan also participated on numerous committees and collective bargaining sessions with the CMPA and AQPM and was Co-Chair of the Industrial Relations Committee.
Victoria Asnong, Business Affairs Coordinator/Analyst
Victoria Asnong is the Shaw Rocket Fund‘s Business Affairs Coordinator as well as an Analyst. Working in the film and television industry since 2006, her experience includes her role at Pink Sky/Avamar Entertainment as the Business Affairs Coordinator for “Flashpoint” Season 4 and 5. She brings with her years of Production Assistant experience for programs such as “The Latest Buzz” and “That’s So Weird”.
Marco Figliomeni, Business Analyst
Marco Figliomeni is the Shaw Rocket Fund‘s Business Analyst. As an Ontario lawyer who has forayed into acting, Marco is enthusiastic to support the production of engaging children’s programming with the Shaw Rocket Fund. His first exposure to the entertainment industry was in 2013, as a summer law student with Taylor Klein Oballa. Since then, his written work has been published in the Canadian Journal of Law and Technology, he has produced and hosted The Law School Show, a legal career development podcast, and he has acted in independent film and live stage productions, the most recent of which was the 2016 Lawyer Show rendition of Guys and Dolls.
Lisa Amato, Manager, Strategic Communications
Lisa Amato is the Shaw Rocket Fund’s Manager, Strategic Communications. Working in the web development industry since 2010 as Marketing Manager, she brings with her experience in websites, online marketing, and project management. She is excited about highlighting the Rocket Fund’s initiatives in Canada and expanding their international reach.
Mel Rooney, Administrative Assistant
Bio coming soon!