9 inspirational fundraising ideas

Various images of fundraisers for UHN Foundation

From bike rides to garage sales, here are nine fundraising ideas that will inspire you to start your own fundraiser in support of life-saving care at UHN.

1. ARVC Ride Across Canada

Group of seven cyclists in various outfits with helmets, posing on a roadside; a mix of mountain bikes and road bikes are visible. Lush greenery and wildflowers in the background, with a clear sky. Closest to the foreground, a smiling person with a helmet taking a selfie.

After Adam Hoerdt’s wife Jackie suddenly passed away, his son Greg was diagnosed with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a genetically inherited heart condition that had caused Jackie’s devastating death. Despite receiving treatment for ARVC, Greg suffered cardiac arrest, leaving him in a vegetative state. 

To fight against the disease that devastated his family, Adam set out on a bike ride across Canada in a campaign to create awareness, connect with others dealing with ARVC, and meet their goal of raising $75,000 for life-saving research at UHN’s Peter Munk Cardiac Centre.

2. Brownlee Invitational

A large group of people gathered outdoors for a group photo, with some seated and others standing. They are smiling and posing behind a banner that reads "Toronto Western Hospital Krembil Neuroscience Centre." The setting includes a well-manicured lawn and a house in the background.

The Brownlee Invitational fundraiser is a game night organized by Tara Brownlee, her husband Chris, and their son Adrian. Tara has epilepsy but is now seizure free thanks to surgery at UHN.

Attendees make a donation at the door and play different board and card games, and there is a silent auction. The Brownlee family wanted to demonstrate their gratitude for changing Tara’s life and raise funds to support Epilepsy research and care at UHN’s Krembil Brain Institute. To date they have raised more than $30,000.

3. Donor Appreciation Ride

Alley Adams and Craig Mode posing for a photo on a golf course with a road in the background.

In January 2019, Alley Adams learned that she had kidney failure due to a complication from her diabetes. To survive, Alley needed a kidney and pancreas transplant. Two years later in May 2021, Alley was at the top of the transplant list. While Alley underwent surgery, her friend Craig Mode hosted the Donor Appreciation Ride, a virtual peloton bike ride that raised more than $26,000 for transplant research in honour of Alley’s organ donors.

4. Porridge for Parkinson’s

A group of volunteers stand in a drive way on a autumn day with rows of paper bags filled with food for delivery

Porridge for Parkinson’s began in Vancouver in 2001, by former CBC radio broadcaster Marg Miekle, after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 43. The event launched in Toronto in 2009, growing to be an annual brunch event. Porridge for Parkinson’s has raised more than $1 million for Parkinson’s research at UHN. The event is made possible by a committed group of volunteers, guests and donors.

5. Ironman Fundraiser

Troy Wagner wearing a blue triathlon suit and cap, marked with the number 57, celebrates as they cross the finish line at the IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. The digital clock overhead displays the time 13:44:59.

Troy Wagner completed a 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride and 42.2 km run at Ironman Mont-Tremblant. He dedicated his race to his sister Lauren, and raised more than $11,000 for patient care at the Spinal/Neurosurgery unit within UHN’s Krembil Brain Institute.

Lauren required 60 hours of surgery to treat an extremely rare tumor called a Giant Cell Tumor, affecting only one in a million people. Thankfully, the team of specialized experts at UHN were able to remove her tumor and rebuild her spine, ultimately saving her life.

6. Tandem Ride for Sight

Amber Needham and her friend on a tandem bike with a train in the background on a warm sunny summer day.

After losing her sight in 2014 due to severe cornea damage, Amber Needham had a stem cell transplant at UHN’s Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute and regained her vision. Inspired by the miraculous care she received, Amber and her friend rode a Tandem bike across Ontario to raise funds and awareness for cornea disease research. Amber raised more than $20,000 and will continue fundraising for UHN until she reaches her ultimate goal of $80,000.

7. Annie’s Pace Global Adventures

Annie Smith stands in a gym wearing a black turtleneck with a red heart and text logo on the left side in the first image; in the second image, Annie is seen from the back, outdoors, wearing a t-shirt featuring "Annie's Pace Global Adventure" logo, against a lush green hedge.

After receiving an internal defibrillator and pacemaker to keep her heart beating, Annie Smith ended up UHN’s Peter Munk Cardiac Centre diagnosed with cardiac sarcoidosis – a rare and incurable inflammatory heart disease. Annie’s diagnosis never stopped her.

Despite not being able to do strenuous exercise, Annie walked 10km every day and quickly came up with the idea for an event to raise awareness for heart health and research. Annie’s Pace Global Adventure is an annual 4-day adventure challenge with many participants around the world exercising at the same time with the same goal in mind – heart health. Annie’s Pace has raised more than $23,000 in support of heart failure research at UHN.

8. Summer Maddy Designs

Eight-year-old Summer Rosen

Eight-year-old Summer Rosen raised funds by selling her homemade masks and mask chains during the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspired by the courage of health care workers who risked their safety to care for patients, Summer donated the proceeds of her sales to support UHN.

9. Corinne’s Annual Garage Sale

Group of eight volunteers smiling at a community event booth under sunny skies.

Corinne Roberts has been holding fundraising garage sales since 1990 in support of many charities and causes near and dear to her heart. Her father was an esophageal cancer survivor and received treatment at UHN. With a team of volunteers, community members and donors, more than $12,000 has been raised to support esophageal cancer research at UHN.

These fundraising stories are proof that anyone can make an impact in their community for a cause they care about. Whichever fundraising idea you choose, you can feel good knowing you’re helping reimagine health care for the future. For more information, along with tools and resources to start your own fundraiser, visit UHNfoundation.ca/fundraise.

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