Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Young, talented and driven Gavin Musgrave is passionate about education.The stellar athlete, founded the Eva. R.Gsum foundations, a community organization that aims to provide financial services to support low income families and academic and sports programs for students. Gavin's perseverance and benevolent philosophy makes him stand out from all the rest. He took time out his busy schedule to talk with MontrealDancehall about the foundation.

Tell us about the Eva. R Gsum foundation and how you got involved with the foundation? 
The Eva R. Gsum Foundation supports student-athletes in financial need to continue in post-secondary education.  I founded the foundation in 2009.  There were two students that I knew who struggled to continue in their studies because of financial need despite working hard at school, on the court and even at a part-time job.  It was at that point where the idea of a foundation to provide scholarships and bursaries to support these students started.  At the same time we would have sports events for youth to keep them involved and aware that there is help for them.

How has the response been to the Eva. R Gsum foundation?
It is very tough when you are starting up.  People don't know who you are and what you have done so they are hesitant to help.  We now have two years of experience where we have provided support to student-athletes so the responses are getting better.  I have seen the word "unfortunately" more in one week than I have seen in my life before 2009 but we press on.  Thanks to the support of those who have said yes, the future looks bright for the foundation and we have quadrupled the amount of funds available for students.

What has been the most difficult thing about working and promoting the foundation in the financial community?
100% of the funds received go back to the students, so we have to be creative with our fundraising and our promotion.  We rely on volunteer work so most of the work is done evenings and weekends which makes it difficult for communication with businesses.

What are some of misconception about athletes and finances?
Some people on the outside believe that athletes have no financial worries.  Only a few student-athletes in Montreal are receiving financial support, the rest have to work, borrow or rely on their family.  Many needed to work to support themselves and their families before even considering the cost of school.  The jobs that most student-athletes find are low paying, so they are on very tight budgets.  The foundation's ultimate goal is to eliminate financial need as a reason for dropping out of school or quitting their sport.


How important is it for the Black man to be infused and connected to his community?
It is extremely important.  We are already under the social microscope and sometimes it feels like society expects Black males to fail or cause problems.  We have to reverse this negative perception by doing work in our communities and with the next generation.  We encourage award recipients to give back- coach a team, start a group, mentor etc. because no one can help us more than us.  

What advice would you offer for students struggling to make ends meet?
There is support out there.  Many scholarships and bursaries available go unused every year.  The foundation had a Financial Literacy Workshop earlier this year where the Guest Speakers outlined the importance of making a budget and properly using funds available. 

How did you establish such a strong connection with students?
I was a student once upon a time.  I know the struggles that come with combining school, sport and work.  They see me coaching and working in the school and they realize that I am truly there to help.

Can you recommend money strategies for young men/women who are or trying to launch a business? 
I would recommend that, before launching a business, a young entrepreneur has a very defined idea.  We often make the mistake of wanting to do too much and having a very broad idea.  Once the business is launched, you can find new directions but only once your main business idea has been established.

You recently participated in the" UIBE 2nd Annual Black Entrepreneurship Conference & Expo" how was the response from fellow entrepreneurs? 
"The Pitch the Dream" contest was inspiring.  I saw other entrepreneurs in the Black community passionate about trying to chase their dreams. Two great things came from the experience.  Our involvement in this venture increased our networking abilities.  The foundation began a partnership with a fellow contestant - Sean Fredrick of Project PrettyBoi.  Two of the six judges for the contest have become supporters of the foundation - Egbert Gaye of the Community Contact and Christian Boakye-Agyeman of Investors Group.

While working with the foundation what did you learn about yourself?
I found that I am more resilient then I thought.  The "no" answers did not stop me from continuing the work.  Sometimes it takes failure to realize great success.  I am more resourceful and creative then I thought.  I have no business training, I graduated from Vanier in Health Science and Concordia in Exercise Science so I had to figure a lot out very quickly.


How did Eva.R G sum foundation change your life?
I love what I do and it gives me a greater sense of purpose.  Helping others is truly good for the soul.  I see inspiring quotes and I try to apply them.  My favorite now is: Pursue excellence, achieve success.  Too many times we aim to be successful and fail because we have the wrong goal.  I want to run the foundation to the best of my abilities and the rest will fall into place.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
My family and friends are my greatest inspirations.  Everyone who has helped me in anyway is the reason I do what I do.  It would be hard to fully pay back those who have helped us, so helping others is probably the best way to continue their good deeds.

What do you consider your biggest achievement to date, personally and professionally?
My mantel is currently empty and I am still striving for big professional achievement.  Registering the charity was a huge step but great things are on the horizon.  Personally, I have been very lucky in the past few years, I see my future in the eyes of another and there is no greater feeling.

What’s on the radar for the Eva R. Gsum foundation in the near future?
We have started a partnership with Basketball Legends Entertainment which is very promising.  BLE is organizing games where the best former players in Montreal will represent their former high schools and community teams.  These events will raise funds for student-athletes in need at these schools and community teams.

For more information

Interviewed by Ms.Lois Lane
Photos courtesy of Gavin Musgrave


  1. Very nice Gavin!!
    Great work!!

    Sarah G.

  2. Great job Gavin and keep up the hard work. It,s nice to see when it pays off.

  3. Well Done Gavin! It is great to see an ex-athlete give back because they know what a struggle it was to be successful at school, work and sport. Wishing you many successes in the future and keep up the wonderful work.