Tribute For Otis Grant
The Coloured Women’s Club of Montreal is an historic social club founded in 1902 that has been active in supporting various charitable initiatives while also offering bursaries for Black students through their scholarship funds. Montreal’s Coloured Women also helped care for Black soldiers returning from the First World War, and during the Depression they operated a soup kitchen. Making hospital visits, supporting and counseling unwed mothers and their families, helping the homeless and the unemployed: these are just some of the good works done by this venerable organization.
This is all very interesting, you say, but what does it have to do with boxing? Well, the Club is hosting a fundraising dinner this Saturday to support The Coloured Women’s Club of Montreal Scholarship Fund. And the guest of honour will be nono than two-time NABF middleweight champion and former WBO world middleweight champion, Otis “Magic” Grant.
As we all know, we live in a time when elite-level boxers (or at least some elite-level boxers) are paid outlandish sums of money, sometimes for matches which are barely competitive. And how often do we hear of such fighters donating some of that cash to directly help those less fortunate and people in need? Simply put, not as often as we might like.
How refreshing it was to recently see photos of Andre Berto in Haiti trying to help victims of Hurricane Matthew, and of course we recall Joe Louis donating entire purses to help America during World War II. The Klitschko brothers are involved with UNESCO, and Manny Pacquiao reportedly donated tens of millions to various charities after his fight with Floyd Mayweather.
Otis Grant gives generously of his time to assist others in his community. In 1999 he established a foundation in his name to help fund charitable causes and to distribute food and clothing to people in need. The foundation supports families experiencing hardship due to medical conditions, and also assists students through scholarship donations. Just last week there was a ‘Boxathon’ at The Grant Brothers Boxing Gym with all funds going to help people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and Otis even laced up the gloves to help out.
So on Saturday the Coloured Women’s Club will hold a fundraising dinner at the Omni Hotel to support their own scholarship fund and at the same time they will honour a man who continues to give back to his community. To quote our profile of Grant:
“When asked to lend his name to a local charity effort working to distribute food to needy families, Otis signed on. And when he saw the extent of the need, as well as the difficulties of distributing all the food, he decided to start his own charitable organization. Thus, the Otis Grant & Friends Foundation was established, which works to support various charities and non-profit organizations on the island of Montreal.
[W]hen the self-effacing Otis Grant is asked to look back on his career and point to his proudest moments, he highlights three things: winning the world title in his opponent’s backyard when he defeated Britisher Ryan Rhodes in his hometown of Sheffield, England; returning to boxing after the car accident and re-establishing himself as a legit title contender; and finally, starting up the Otis Grant Foundation and helping untold numbers of people in his community. Talk about a hometown hero.”
In addition to Saturday’s gala dinner, boxing fans in Montreal will also want to save the date of November 6th, as the Otis Grant Foundation will hold its annual fundraising dinner that night at 40 West Steakhouse. Please click here for more information on that event. — Robert Portis
Photo of Otis Grant by Mathieu Boulay.