Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mark Wahlberg visits CIBC in Toronto to raise money for children’s charities

The Toronto Star posted an article about Mark's appearance at the CIBC Miracle Day.

Oscar nominated actor and producer and philanthropist Mark Wahlberg along with his good friend ex leaf Tie Domi met kids and employees and made calls to clients to raise money for children charities on the trading centre on December 5th 2012 for CIBC Miracle Day.

Mark Wahlberg is grateful. He’s had success as a singer, actor and producer, as a husband and father of four children.

Which is why he showed up on the CIBC equity trade floor in Toronto on Wednesday, where he was swarmed by an army of traders armed with nervous jokes and smart phones recording his every step and word.

The crush was so overwhelming that at one point Wahlberg took refuge with his entourage in a glassed-in office, where he leaned back in a chair and hoisted a workboot-clad foot onto the desk until things calmed down.

Yes, the executive producer of the hit HBO series Entourage had an entourage, and yes it included a brother, James Wahlberg, executive director of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation.

The foundation is mandated to improve the quality of life for inner-city youth, which is where the Wahlberg boys began their lives and where they could easily have ended them.

Mark Wahlberg’s early life as a thug and petty criminal in a tough Boston neighbourhood landed him in jail at 16. Jail was not cool, not fun, not where he wanted to be. Wahlberg decided to turn his life around, and he did.

A lifetime later, having succeeded at virtually everything he tried – his debut album as rapper Marky Mark went platinum; he launched an obsession with six-pack abdomens by baring his own as a model for Calvin Klein underwear; he won praise as an actor for his roles in Boogie Nights, ThePerfect Storm, The Italian Job and I Heart Huckabees; his life in Hollywood with his friends was the inspiration for the hit HBO series Entourage, which he executive produced; he was also executive producer of the hit show Boardwalk Empire – he’s giving back and urging others to do the same.

An ardent Roman Catholic, Wahlberg, 41, wears a rosary around his neck and says he prays on his knees each morning and visits church nearly every day. He wears a gold watch on his left arm. He is informal, playful, charming and soft-spoken, and kept his cool although the scene on the trading floor was somewhat chaotic.

At a press conference after ringing the bell to open a day of trading, Wahlberg said his success puts him in the position of wanting to help others.

“Jail’s not a nice place; I am trying to encourage kids not to ever go there. I’ve been very fortunate – most of my friends didn’t get an opportunity to have a second chance to turn their life around. I don’t want to screw it up and I want to make sure that I give back and provide an opportunity for kids to not make the same mistakes that I made and give them an opportunity to pursue their dreams and make things happen.”

Wednesday was the 29th Miracle Day for the CIBC, which donates the commissions of trades made on one day a year to children’s charities in Canada. Last year the event raised more than $4-million. The money raised Wednesday will be distributed throughout 2013 to 650 children's charities across Canada.

Wahlberg donated his time to this year’s event, and the money raised will go to Canadian charities of his choice.

“There’s people in need everywhere you look,” said Wahlberg. “You just have to get involved, whether it’s your time, whether you’re giving money, it’s your obligation to help people in need if you’re in a position to. I come from the real world. I had a very difficult upbringing and it’s important to me to give back.”

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