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

Nate Friedman
Nate Friedman is a writer, actor and comedian and recent honours graduate from the Humber College for Comedy Writing and Performance, where he received both the Joe Kertes Scholarship in 2018 and the David Goodman Comedy Scholarship in 2019. He currently works on the children’s TV show ‘Odd Squad Mobile Unit’ and finished his first short film ‘Keto Crazy: The Documentary: The Movie’ which he wrote, directed and starred in using a smartphone during the pandemic.

Nate is also a graduate of the University of Windsor (2010) with a Bachelor of Human Kinetics and minor in Sports Psychology. He has published three children’s books, with his most recent release in February 2020, “Coffee Monster and the Land of Coffee,” along with “The Last Hockey Fight” (2018) and “The Coffee Monster” (2015). He is currently working on the TV adaptation titled “Coffee Monster and Friends”. Nate loves performing family-friendly comedy that includes impersonations and characters.

Conservatory Program graduate Second City Training Program  

Cihang Ma
A recent graduate of the Sketch Conservatory Program at Second City, Cihang Ma is a regular performer in the Toronto improv and sketch comedy scene. She has performed with Bad Dog Theatre (Poke Prov, Pushpins Longform Format), Social Capital Theatre (24hr Sketch Festival, TO Celebration of Improv Fest, and Songza), the Comedy Bar (RiOT All Fem & Non-Binary comedy, Zero Hour Improv) and the Second City’s Carpe Into My DMs.

Prize: $2,500

Past Winners 

News Releases
Nate Friedman Awarded the Tim Sims Encouragement Award   December 21, 2020
Cihang Ma Awarded the Tim Sims Encouragement Award  November 18, 2019


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