Concordia University

Corporate futsal tournament aims to give back to communities near and far

Montreal restaurateur Paul Desbaillets asks fellow alumni to join him in supporting the Montreal Children’s Hospital and the Kanpe Foundation in Haiti
November 1, 2018
By Meagan Boisse

Restaurateur Paul Desbaillets, BFA 03, is recognized in the Montreal community not only as co-owner of several of the island’s most beloved watering holes, such as the Burgundy Lion Pub and Bishop & Bagg, but also for paying it forward.

Paul Desbaillets and Trevor Noah Paul Desbaillets with Trevor Noah, host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central, at a charity event in New York City.

Desbaillets has combined his business success and passion for soccer through the GOAL Initiative, which he founded to help support youth activity in Montreal.

Since its inception eight years ago, the organization has raised over $350,000 through its annual soccer tournament.

Proceeds have benefitted a variety of local charities such as Right to Play, Share the Warmth and the Tyndale-St-George Community Centre to provide sports equipment and programming to disadvantaged youths.

“The idea for the GOAL Initiative came from a really simple desire to give back, because on a karmic level, I believe you need to support the community that supports you,” says Desbaillets.

As for using soccer to do that, it was a no brainer for the Montreal businessman.

“It's something I love, and I think you’ve got to do what you’re passionate about. It’s been a lot of work but it’s totally worth it.”

Novel team building activity with first-ever corporate futsal tournament

Now, Desbaillets is looking to expand GOAL’s charitable reach across the globe by collaborating with the Montreal-based KANPE Foundation, which serves a municipality in Haiti called Baille Tourible, near Thomonde, one of the country’s most in-need regions. It has been heavily affected by declining agricultural production and poverty. With approximately 38 per cent of the population under 14 years old, bringing a means to play and promote youth wellness spoke directly to GOAL’s cause.

Desbaillets is asking his fellow alumni to get the companies they own or work for to join him on November 24 for GOAL’s first-ever corporate futsal tournament. Futsal is variation of soccer, with just five players on at a time.

The event will raise funds for both the KANPE Foundation and the Montreal Children’s Hospital. A portion of the funds will also go towards helping GOAL obtain official charity status from the Government of Canada.

“I'm always looking for opportunities to try and help different communities, and when I crossed paths with one of the directors of KANPE, I immediately wanted to come up with a way to help purchase sports equipment and ship it to this area as part of a first step in helping them,” says Desbaillets.

He adds that if the event goes well, GOAL plans to provide continuous support to KANPE in realizing their work on the ground.

Unique chance to give back

Desbaillets is a regular judge at Concordia’s John Molson MBA International Case Competition and, in 2017, was named Alumnus of the Year by the Concordia University Alumni Association.

Proud of his Concordia roots, he hopes other alumni within the Montreal business community will also see the benefits of the fundraising tournament.

“It’s a fantastic team-building activity as well as a way to donate money to deserving causes,” he says. “Plus, you're helping communities here and abroad!”

The tournament

Each team member will receive a full uniform, a gift and food and drink throughout the day. The rules are 11 players per team, five on five, for 25-minute games.

After the tournament, there will be a 5 à 7, during which competing teams will get a chance to meet, network and relax in a festive atmosphere with music, food, drinks and a live silent auction. Buy-in is $5,000 per team, plus taxes.

“It’s not a cheap ask, but it’s a chance for corporations to participate in an all around do-good, feel-good type of initiative. GOAL’s dreams wouldn’t be possible without the support of those in the Montreal community who are willing to put in the time and money to make a difference.”

Sign up or find out more about the GOAL Initiative Futsal tournament on November 24 — contact Desbaillets directly at

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