For this Charitable Choices feature we spoke with Fatima Zaidi and Erin Bury of Tech4SickKids, a Toronto based foundation calling on Canada’s Tech community to help modernize healthcare in our country.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences/What problems does it aim to solve?
In 2018, a group of Tech4SickKids founders and companies pledged an investment to modernize our aging emergency department—a huge win for our 80,000 yearly ER patients. As innovators, influencers and drivers of change we called on Canada’s tech community to innovate for SickKids. Our fundraising challenge: $25 million to invest in big-data solutions and a modern new hospital to support AI’s limitless possibilities. 100% of the funds we raise are donated to the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). The $25 million funds we raise are for a new hospital to support modern health-care solutions. As we embark on one of the most innovative and transformative fields in medicine, our aging hospital is holding us back. That’s why donations will support two key areas: to Build a New SickKids, which will include a state-of- the art Emergency Department and our Artificial Intelligence in Medicine for Kids (AIM), an in- house hub to steer AI projects from lab to bedside. If child health is the root of lifelong health, data science must start here. Our goal with these funds is to build a modern new hospital equipped for data-driven care—predictive, proactive and personalized. We don’t want to have to wait for medical complications to arise. We want to see them coming.
When did you start/join it? What made you want to get involved?
Every founder starts a business with a mission to solve a problem and change the world in some small way. When starting our respective companies Quill and Willful, we both knew we wanted to build successful companies, but also ones with strong values and a commitment to giving back. Working with The SickKids Foundation over the past few years has baked purpose into our DNA. We saw firsthand the impact we were having on the lives of children and parents. We are so privileged and lucky to have a world class hospital in our own backyard and need to think of it as a community project if we want to maintain the current standards. It is a luxury not accessible to most parents and children around the globe. Pledging our upside and getting involved with the council at SickKids has been a way to share our passion for the foundation with our community. Our mission has been to inspire and engage the tech and innovation sector and their networks to support cutting-edge care, education and research at SickKids.
What was the situation like when you started? /How has it changed since?
Since Tech4SickKids’ inception on November 28th, 2017, the initiative has achieved the following:
• Seen over 600 unique donors
• 50 Upside Foundation members have pledged a portion of their company’s equity to
SickKids, with one exit resulting in one generous gift left for SickKids so far.
• Added the first Chair in Biomedical Informatics and Artificial Intelligence in Canada, Dr.
• Raised over $5M of its $25M goal
How can our readers help?
1) This year we launched a #Tech4SickKids Employee Matching Campaign Program where we can get employees of tech companies involved to help with our fundraising. Our combined goal is to raise a total of $1M by June 15th 2021 through employee donations that will then hopefully be matched by the employer. You can find all details on the program here: https://fundraise.sickkidsfoundation.com/tech4sickkids We’ve made the process extremely simple, which includes tax receipts, and a leaderboard where we can promote healthy competition between our tech community. We also have opportunities to customize community service for your employees to get involved with the foundation. Companies like Ecobee, Uberflip, and Tribalscale have already signed up. If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact Fatima Zaidi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) Corporate donations or hosting fundraising events on behalf of #tech4sickkids! Perhaps you already have an annual event that you’d like to align with our cause? If so, we have a team dedicated to supporting you: email@example.com
3) Share your Upside: SickKids has partnered with the the Upside Foundation of Canada, a charity platform for high-growth companies looking to donate equity. If you are interested in pledging your equity and joining companies like WealthSimple, Zoom.ai, Quill and Willful then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have any events coming up?
We will be doing a live silent auction gala in November 2021 in support of #Tech4SickKids. We will be hosting a 2-phase auction that allows participants to bid remotely via a silent auction and / or participate in an interactive live-streamed auction event. This two-week-long silent auction will include a mix of different price point prizes for the auction. Following the silent auction, our team will host a virtual live auction with higher price point items and an evening of entertainment. Our goal with this event is to achieve:
● Community engagement
● Donations to SickKids hospital
● General awareness around Tech4SickKids
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
Fatima Zaidi: Scruffy Paws Animal Rescue and North Toronto Cat Rescue
Erin Bury: Other than SickKids: Annex Cat Rescue and Save the Children Canada