Local business owner Steve Falk has never shied away from sharing his passion for music with the community.
As the frontman of Soul Benefit, a band of volunteers who lend their talents to good causes, the Prime Data owner has become a familiar face at local events, helping organizations raise millions over the last decades.
For his efforts, Falk was recognized by the Town of Aurora with the 2020 Community Leadership Award, an honour shared with the Optimist Club of Aurora, helping make Aurora, and the organizations that serve it, stronger.
The Community Leadership Award is awarded each year to an individual or organization that has “significantly enhanced the Town through their contribution, commitment and leadership in areas of charitable giving, civic engagement, community events and community spirit.”
Presenting the award virtually, Mayor Tom Mrakas heralded Mr. Falk as a “generous and caring individual who cares deeply about the wellbeing” of the community, underscoring the work of Soul Benefit as well as Mr. Falk’s work with myriad programs at Aurora United Church, including their Youthful Spirit group and their Visioning Committee to rebuild after the church’s devastating 2014 fire.
“He is a larger-than-life character with a caring and kind heart,” said Mayor Mrakas. “He is a strong community leader, always there to lend a hand, and in 2012 Steve and his band Soul Benefit organized a fundraising dance for Round the Bend Farm in Kettleby after they had a fire. The band is comprised of 12 to 14 amateur musicians with a mission to give charity through music. To date, it is estimated that Soul Benefit has raised over $2 million for charity over the past 20 years. Now, by example, Steve expects members to display generosity, kindness, loyalty and commitment to each other, as well as the greater community. Steve and his band have done many other charity events to raise funds for worthy causes, like the Aurora Royal Canadian Legion’s Raise the Roof campaign and the annual Remembrance Dinner, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, Puerto Rico hurricane relief, the Hillary House Black & White Ball and many others in the community.
“Steve is known throughout his community and always has Aurora’s best interests at heart.”
In accepting the award, Mr. Falk paid tribute to those who have helped him have an impact on the community.
“I am very grateful to the Town of Aurora for this community leadership award,” said Mr. Falk. “We have a wonderful Town here and I found it so meaningful to be involved in community projects and organization. The greatest perk of participating in community life is the opportunity to work with smart, talented and engaged people. You know who you are and you have probably innocently made eye contact with me and I have roped you into some project. Thanks for saying yes. I want to thank my folks for setting a great example, my family for joining in and supporting us [and to] the Town of Aurora for its concern for making this a great place to live.
“I have always been impressed with the residents’ concern for those outside our area who may need our help. One of our greatest qualities is that sense of our place in the wider world and how we can make a difference beyond the Town’s borders. Carry on!”
Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran