RUSH bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee was honored with a solo Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, September 11 at the Artists For Peace And Justice (APJ) gala in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Lee was recognized for his "commitment to philanthropy," including his support of brain cancer research, Toronto Food Bank, Alberta Floods, Doctors Without Borders, Grapes For Humanity, United Way, Canadian Museum For Human Rights and Casey House.
The APJ is a nonprofit organization that encourages peace and social justice and addresses issues of poverty around the world.
On Wednesday (September 15),Geddy took to his Instagram to share a few photos from the event, and he included the following message: "For over 12 years, Artists for Peace and Justice have raised an extraordinary amount of funds to provide support, education and hope to the people of Haiti.
"Philanthropy requires a tremendous amount of collective action and momentum to have an impact. It's the volunteers who really make it happen, the ones on the ground delivering supplies and building schools and relationships with those who have been devastated, the generous folks operating the auctions and working events from behind the scenes to make sure the most money is raised and then spent to maximum effect.
"I admire APJ's approach. You can see the money at work, and perhaps most remarkably, you can see the impact it's had from the point of view of the very people it's working for: in the articulate, ambitious and creative expression of the students and graduates of the Academy in Port-au-Prince themselves. That's not just patching up some hurricane damage; that's building a future.
"So, thank you to APJ for the lovely honour this past weekend, big thanks to Strombo for the induction and to all those who help set the wheels of change in motion. If you want to learn more or donate - visit APJ: Artists for Peace & Justice @artistsforpeace".
Over the course of their five-decade-long career, the members of RUSH have thrown their support behind a wide variety of worthy causes often privately and sometimes publicly. From their earliest shows at Toronto's historic Maple Leaf Gardens, the band started working with the Toronto Food Bank to encourage fans to bring food for those in need. Eventually deciding to do their first charity concert at Maple Leaf Gardens to benefit the United Way in the early '80s, and an amFAR show to benefit AIDS research in the early '90s, engaging themselves and their fans in positive pursuits naturally became part of the RUSH ethos.
As dedicated advocates of human rights, in 2008 RUSH donated $100,000 from a Winnipeg concert's gate to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. In the same year, on their "Snakes & Arrows Tour", the band donated $100,000 from their show in New Orleans to Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation to assist in the revitalization of the city post Hurricane Katrina, and sponsor the construction of a house in The Lower Ninth Ward dubbed "The House That Rush Built".
From their 2010 "Time Machine" tour onwards, RUSH donated $1 from every concert ticket sold to various charities including Doctors Without Borders. In 2013, the band performed an incredibly successful benefit concert at Red Deer's Enmax Centrium with all proceeds going to the Canadian Red Cross to help victims of the flooding that devastated many regions of southern Alberta. The event raised more than $575,000 and was one of the largest donations made to the Alberta Flood Relief.
RUSH has also been a passionate supporter of Little Kids Rock, a national non-profit organization that works to restore and revitalize music education programs in disadvantaged U.S. public schools. In efforts to provide percussion instruments to schools, the group created a premium Neil Peart Paragon Cymbal Pack, each of which came with a free splash cymbal personalized, autographed and dated by the RUSH drummer himself. This cause-based marketing initiative went on to raise over $50,000 for Little Kids Rock. Working with their endorsement companies, they set up partnerships for their signature items which have seen many positive charitable efforts such as Neil Peart with DW, Sabian and ProMark, where one campaign raised over $60,000 for Child Advocates. Alex Lifeson donated royalties from his signature Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess guitar to the Domenic Troiano Foundation for guitar music scholarships.
The bandmembers also donated their time, funds and awareness through their personal interests and events. An avid baseball fan, Geddy Lee donated close to 400 baseballs signed by former Negro League baseball players from his personal collection to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City in 2008. Alex Lifeson is a supporter of Casey House as well as The Kidney Foundation to which he donates his paintings that led to almost $300,000 in funds raised. During the band's South American tour in 2010, Peart was moved by the rescue of the trapped miners in Chile. When he wrote a story about his experiences touring in South America, he rallied RUSH fans and his readers to make a $1 donation for his story. Neil matched their donations, and together they raised $10,000 for the Chilean Red Cross.
RUSH was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame in 1994, made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1996 and inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2010. They have received a star on both Canada's Walk of Fame (1999) and Hollywood Walk Of Fame (2010). RUSH received the highest artistic honor in Canada by winning the Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 2012 and was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2013.