In memoriam: Judith (Judi) Loeb Cohen

Judith Cohen

We were deeply saddened by the passing of Judith (Judi) Loeb Cohen. Judi was truly an extraordinary human – a loving daughter, devoted wife and mother, and a giant in philanthropic circles – who cared deeply about children, particularly those who had been dealt a difficult hand.

Judi sat on the Board of Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada and served as our Chair from 1991 – 1993. She wasn’t just the Board Chair; she was the heart of this Foundation, giving personally and tirelessly to children and youth who have been abused, neglected, and abandoned. Her legacy is forever etched in the countless lives of the children she impacted.

Judi’s leadership as Board Chair was transformative. She was an “upstream” thinker who believed that investing in strengthening families could reduce the risk of harm to children, especially in their first five years of life. With her boundless energy and great style, she founded the Teddy Bear Affair – Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada Gala. Now entering its 38th year, the event has become a cornerstone of the Foundation’s philanthropic efforts, raising nearly $40 million for children and youth involved in child welfare since 1986. In 2019, at the 30th anniversary of the Gala, the Foundation honoured Judi for her efforts to remove barriers and create opportunities for children, youth, and their families to thrive by creating the Judith Loeb Cohen Teddy Bear Fund.

“Judi’s genuine warmth, passion and infectious energy were catalysts for change,” said Valerie McMurtry, President & CEO of Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada. “She was a trailblazer who always put her family first. Our hearts are heavy with this news but lighter in knowing that she lives on in the communities she so proudly served.”

Judi leaves an incredible legacy. Her life was one of service to others including the National Ballet, York University’s Schulich School of Business, and St. Michael’s Foundation. As a Foundation, we are proud to continue the work she spent a lifetime championing. The impact of her work on the communities we serve, our Foundation, and others across the city will continue to be felt for years to come.