Cory Monteith's final act of charity, just days before he died

By now, it should be no secret that the late Cory Monteith was in love with his adopted city of Vancouver. Aside from his work with battling local youth homelessness, the Glee lead star was working on another project in the Downtown Eastside for youth in the performing arts.

Days before his death, Monteith was working with Elena Kirschner, his long-time agent, and Maureen Webb. He credits Webb, a local casting director and co-founder of Project Limelight, for giving him the inspiration needed to make a career in acting.

They both described him as healthy and happy during the Thursday dinner they had with him at East Of Main Cafe. Monteith had also just returned from an extensive and difficult four day hike on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. During the dinner, which had been initiated by Monteith, they discussed long-term plans for Project Limelight’s future and how Monteith would play a much larger role in the organization.

Project Limelight was founded last year with the help of Monteith. The not-for-profit BC society provides performing arts programs for youth in the Downtown Eastside, teaching youth the art of theatre over a period of four months before staging a theatrical production, with recent productions including a version of the Wizard of Oz. The initiative aims to provide troubled and impoverished youth with a creative and positive outlet, and it was also financially backed by Virgin Group founder and billionaire Richard Branson.

As shown in the video below, here is what Monteith had to say about Project Limelight and how the program’s initiative for troubled youth parallels with his own experiences earlier in life:

“I think kids really need a place to go, to feel like they belong. When I was a kid, I struggled a lot with who I was and where my life was going and what I was interested in. And I was fortunate to have the arts inspire me. And I think that’s one of the most important things about Project Limelight. It gives kids exactly that. It gives kids the opportunity to expose themselves to an arts education.

When I first started as an actor, mentorship was one of the most important things for me because I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t know how to approach how to get into the arts. So if it weren’t for the teachers and the actors who came before me, to show me the way, I wouldn’t have gotten into it. I wouldn’t have been able to find my way. And I think providing that same inspiration and same direction, be it acting or just arts in general… that’s really important. And I think that kind of change can last a lifetime…”

Cory Monteith Talks Project Limelight from Project Limelight Society on Vimeo.

Upon news of the 31-year old’s shocking and untimely death, Project Limelight issued the following statement on their website:

We are deeply saddened by the unexpected death of our good friend, Cory Monteith.

Cory was an amazing young man with a generous heart. He has been a supporter of Project Limelight Society from the very beginning, participating in outreach videos and introducing us to Richard Branson who issued a grant to Project Limelight in May of 2012, through Virgin Unite.

Our heart goes out to his family, fans and close friends. Cory was a friend and will be dearly missed.

If you are interested in making a donation in memory of Cory Monteith, please consider supporting Project Limelight Society.

According to Vancouver Police and BC Coroner reports, Monteith died alone in his Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel guest room sometime Saturday morning from a deadly heroine and alcohol mixture. He had been battling substance addiction since he was 19 and publicly revealed in March 2013 that he was taking a temporary break from Glee to undergo treatment. He finished the substance abuse treatment facility after a month.

Since Sunday morning, a make-shift memorial outside the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel has been rapidly growing with flowers, letters, photos, bears, Canadian flag, and Canucks memorabilia. After all, he was a “mega” Canucks fan. Local fans of the show and of Monteith have also been pouring in to pay their respects.


Featured image: Project Limelight