2015 Honorary Chair

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michael Don

Michael Budman & Don Green
2015 CAFA Honorary Chairs

Michael Budman
Co-Founder of Roots Canada

Born in the United States in 1946, Michael attended public and high school in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. In 1968, he graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Communications.

In 1956, while still living in Detroit, he began attending Camp Tamakwa in Canada’s world famous Algonquin Park, north of Toronto. It marked the start of his lifelong love for Algonquin Park, celebrated for its unspoiled wilderness and natural beauty. Over a 13-year period, Michael spent his summers at Tamakwa as a camper, counselor, canoeing instructor and boys camp director. It had a strong influence on him, contributing greatly to his attraction to Canada. In 1970, Michael moved to Toronto where he first taught history at a local high school.

In 1973, Michael and fellow Tamakwan and former Detroiter Don Green founded Roots Canada. They first thought of the idea and did the initial planning for Roots in Algonquin Park in 1972. They began with a small store in downtown Toronto selling a single product: the Roots negative heel shoe. It was an overnight success. Since then, Roots has grown into an internationally recognized contemporary lifestyle brand producing a wide range of high-quality leather goods, footwear, apparel, bags, home furnishings and accessories. Today, Roots employs more than 1,500 people in Canada and has 115 stores in North America and 120 in Asia, a state-of-the art leather factory, design and research centre and distribution centre in Toronto and numerous licensees.

In 1981, while living in France where he was then overseeing the European operations of Roots, Michael co-founded Paris Passion, the acclaimed city magazine that was published until 1991. He was Executive Publisher of Passion, which covered contemporary Paris life, French culture, the arts, entertainment, literature, design, architecture, style, fashion and politics.
In addition, Michael has been involved in numerous cultural projects and entertainment events. He has served as an advisor on several films and music productions while Roots has sponsored many arts-oriented initiatives in Canada and the United States including the Toronto International Film Festival (for which he was a former board member) and the Comedy Festival in Aspen.
Under Michael’s guidance, Roots achieved extraordinary worldwide prominence outfitting the Olympic teams of several countries. In 1998, the Canadian Olympic team in Nagano, Japan showed the world Roots style with the Canadian poorboy cap, which also proved a massive retail success. In 2002 at the Salt Lake City Winter Games, the beret Roots made for the US Olympic team became one of its all-time bestsellers. In 2004 in Athens, Roots was the official outfitter of Canada, the US, Great Britain and Barbados. In 2006, Roots outfitted the US Olympic team competing in Turin, Italy.

Through both Roots and personally, Michael has long supported many community-related causes, charities and organizations, especially those involved in helping the environment and children. Among his most recent contributions, Michael is an active supporter and Board Member of Right to Play, an organization founded by Olympic Gold Medalist Johann Koss dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged children around the world through sport. Michael is also a Board Member of Waterkeeper Alliance, founded by Bobby Kennedy Jr. to protect rivers and lakes in Canada and the United States. Over the years, Roots has been a leader in the retail industry in Canada with its commitment to environmental matters, literacy campaigns and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
Michael is an avid athlete, active in many sports. He is married to Diane Bald, a highly successful Toronto-born architect who is also Creative Director at Roots. They have two children, live in Toronto and maintain a cabin in Algonquin Park.

Don Green
Co-Founder of Roots Canada

Born in the United States in 1949, Don Green attended public and high school in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. He majored in history at Michigan State University and lived in Jamaica for two years in the late 1960s.
In 1964, while still living in Detroit, Don first became familiar with Canada when he began attending Camp Tamakwa, north of Toronto. It’s situated in Algonquin Park, famous around the world for its unspoiled wilderness and natural beauty.

Don was both a camper and staff member at Tamakwa, which marked the start of his lifelong love for Algonquin Park. His time there had a strong influence on Don and his attraction to Canada. In 1972, he moved to Toronto.
In 1973, Don and fellow Tamakwan and former Detroiter Michael Budman founded Roots Canada. They first thought of the idea and did the initial planning for Roots in Algonquin Park in the fall of 1972. They began with a small store in downtown Toronto selling a single product (the Roots negative heel shoe), which became an overnight success.
Since then, Roots has grown into an internationally recognized contemporary lifestyle brand producing a wide range of high-quality leather goods, footwear, apparel, bags, home furnishings and accessories. Today, Roots employs more than 1,500 people in Canada and has 115 stores in North America and 100 in Asia, a state-of-the art leather factory, design and research centre and distribution centre in Toronto and numerous licensees.

Over the years, Don and Michael have received numerous awards and accolades for their work in creating and directing such a highly respected brand. Among the company’s achievements, Roots has gained extraordinary worldwide prominence outfitting the Olympic teams of Canada, the US, Great Britain and Barbados. In 1998, the Canadian Olympic team in Nagano showed the world Roots style with the Canadian poorboy cap, which also proved a massive retail success. In 2002 at the Salt Lake City Winter Games, the beret Roots made for the US Olympic team became one of its all-time bestsellers.

Through both Roots and personally, Don has long supported many causes, charities and organizations involved in environmental and other community-related initiatives. They range from Waterkeeper Alliance to Right To Play, from the Jane Goodall Institute to the Canadian Red Cross. The beneficiaries also include a wide variety of projects related to hospitals, amateur sports, health and education.
Don has also supported and been involved in many cultural initiatives over the years. In 1981, along with Michael Budman, he helped establish Paris Passion, the acclaimed city magazine that was published until 1991. He was Executive Publisher of Passion, which covered contemporary French culture, the arts, entertainment, literature, design, architecture, style, fashion and politics. Roots has sponsored various arts-related activities in Canada and the United States including the Toronto International Film Festival, Luminato Arts Festival (Toronto), IdeaCity (Toronto) and the Comedy Festival in Aspen.

For decades, Roots has been a leader in the retail industry in Canada with its commitment to environmental matters, literacy campaigns and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Roots has worked with environmental groups such as the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, the Evergreen Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund and the Toronto Green Awards. In 1990, Don co-wrote the foreword to Preserving Our World: An Environmental Call to Action, by Warner Troyer.
Don is an avid athlete, active in fitness-related activities and many sports. He is married to Quebec-born Denyse Tremblay, a yoga instructor who has played an active role in the evolution of Roots and with whom Don has developed the Roots Yoga line of clothing. Along with their three children, Anthony, Sophie and Deeva, they live in Toronto and have a cabin in Algonquin Park close to Tamakwa.