And wow did we have a lot to celebrate!

The Startup Community Shares How They Give Back

We had tons of submissions with individuals and organizations across the community sharing how they give back.


We learned so much about how people give back.  The MaRS community told us how they give back and the causes they care about on Giving Tuesday (see below), and members of our community shared their giving stories with us:

  • David Misshula (Understoodit), on his experience as Upside’s first company to have an exit
  • Michael Carter (Kahuso), on the impact and benefits of being part of Upside
  • Michael Tippett (wantoo), on his decision to give back by donating equity to Upside at CIX
  • Mircea Baldean (MeetVibe), on the importance of being part of something bigger than you


#CelebrateTheUpside Winner

Today we are pleased to announce that Ooka Island has won the $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice!


Ooka Island is a fast-growing ed tech company based in Charlottetown, PEI focused on early childhood literacy.  Ooka Island gives back in many ways- one of which is through the PEI Literacy Awards.

Joelle MacPhee, Director of Marketing for Ooka Island, says, “The PEI Literacy Alliance recently lost a lot of their funding, so every donation counts and will go really far for them.  They are a very small but mighty team that knows how to stretch their resources. They’re such a valuable part of the community, offering important resources that many in the community rely on, with programs for both children and adults.  Their focus on literacy and the whole reading journey aligns closely with what Ooka Island stands for.  We’re so excited to have the opportunity to support them!”

Congratulations to Ooka Island for embodying the spirit of #CelebrateTheUpside and working to give back to the community in so many meaningful ways!

Recognizing Community Champions

On Giving Tuesday, Ben Zifkin and the team at Hubba announced that they would double the $500 donation being offered by the Upside Foundation to $1,000.

Since the campaign ended, the team was so touched by the many amazing initiatives shared by leaders across the startup community.  They have decided to make an additional donation of $250 to each of the charities selected by three committed individuals- our Community Champions!

Congratulations to Vivian Chan @ Wavefront Accelerator, Daniel Rodic @ Exact Media, and Lee Dale @ Say Yeah!


The charities supported include the YWCA Toronto Girls’ Centre programs, the Rotman Commerce Entrepreneurship Organization, Dress for Success Vancouver and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.  Congratulations to our winners- and thank you for all you do to give back!

We hope that the stories shared through #CelebrateTheUpside have inspired you to consider how you and your startup give back.  We know that this community does so much to give back.  We’re excited for all of us to work together to expand the positive impact that the startup community has in Canada.

Thank You

Thank you to the following people for making this campaign possible:

  • To Ooka Island, Vivian Chan, Daniel Rodic, Lee Dale, and all those who shared how they give back, for all you do to give back, and for helping us to tell the story and celebrate all the good that this community is doing
  • To Ben Zifkin and the team at Hubba for generously sponsoring the prize donations
  • To Wavefront Accelerator, Startup Here TO, 500 Canada, MaRS ICT, AceTech, Volta, MaRS IAF, Real Ventures, Spring, TechTO, Startup Canada, Startup York Region, Enterprise Toronto, Digital Main Street, Imperative Impact, Schlegel Centre, Pledge 1%, Angela Larraguibel @ Communitech, Lisa Cashmore @ CDMN, and Eva Lau @ Two Small Fish Ventures for encouraging the community to get involved
  • To Aiden Parker, one of Upside’s committed volunteers, for his active support encouraging the community to get involved on Giving Tuesday
  • To MaRS for enabling us to set up our #GivingTuesday booth
  • To Paul Estey & Dave Moran @ PUBLIC Inc., and Emilie Jones @ Brightspark, for their guidance in designing this campaign

Celebrate The Upside!