Personal Philanthropy

The Tim Sims Encouragement Fund Award

The Tim Sims Encouragement Fund recognizes and supports promising comedic performers in the early stages of their careers.

The Tim Sims Encouragement Fund was founded by Lindsay Leese and established in 1995 in the spirit and memory of Tim Sims, a well-known comedic performer, writer, director, and charity fund-raiser from Toronto. The Toronto comedy community, Andrew Alexander and The Second City, friends of Tim and the annual fundraising showcases associated with the TSEF have raised the capital for the Fund. The interest generated by the capital makes up the annual cash award.

From 1996-2014, the Fund awarded prize money totalling $65,000 to young comedians in the early stages of their careers.  The award was presented at the annual Cream of Comedy award show at Second City, which featured comedy performances by five outstanding jury-selected Tim Sims Award Nominees.   The award was one of recognition and not designated for any purpose other than the recipient’s encouragement.

Beginning in 2015, the award is given annually to a graduate of the Comedy Writing and Performance program at the Humber College, School of Creative and Performing Arts and to a Conservatory Program Graduate at the Second City Training Program.


Most Recent Recipients

Humber College's Comedy: Writing and Performance Program

Bria Hiebert
Bria Hiebert is an up and coming stand-up comic, writer, and actor, who has performed at some the best comedy venues in Canada, the United States and the UK. She is a recent graduate of the Humber College Comedy Writing & Performance program, and was featured as a writer, actor, and stand-up in the New Faces ‘19 show at The Second City. She was also selected to compete in the 2019 Absolute Comedy Prove You're A Comic Competition.

Bria made her Edinburgh Fringe debut in 2018 and returned to the festival in 2019. She was the 2018 recipient of the Brian Linehan Comedy Writing and Performance Award for Outstanding Artistic Promise. Bria produces various successful shows across Toronto such as Kitchen Comedy, a secret pop-up stand-up show.

Conservatory Program graduate Second City Training Program  

Ophira Calof
Currently based in Toronto, Ophira Calof is a writer, performer, and producer who focuses on creating work that explores concepts of illness and disability through art.  She is a producer and co-creator of the award-winning sketch revue Generally Hospital, co-founder of All Access Sketch Show, and a graduate of Second City's Writing and Sketch Conservatory programs.  She also has an extensive background in opera performance and recently released her single Still Standing.

Prize: $2,500

Past Winners and Nominees 

News Releases
Bria Hierbert Awarded the Tim Sims Encouragement Award  September 4, 2019
Ophira Calof Awarded the Tim Sims Encouragement Award  November 19, 2018


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