We believe LIFT has a role to play in supporting social innovation and social change in Canada.
In addition to our core business of investing in the capacity building of social purpose organizations, we partner on strategic projects that support people, not-for-profit organizations and businesses across Canada to contribute to the social and economic success of our country.
In 2014, LIFT partnered with the government of Canada, Canadian Tire and CBC to run The Play Exchange, an online challenge on the Ashoka Changemakers platform. This national challenge was the first of its kind, designed to encourage ideas from all Canadians including schools, students, families, not-for-profits, social enterprises and businesses. It sought both new ideas and established programs that would effectively increase people’s physical activity and improve their health and well-being.
The online platform was very effective at fostering the sharing of ideas and innovations; LIFT received more than 400 submissions from across Canada. The top six finalists, selected by a panel of high-profile Canadian judges, each participated in a visioning session hosted by KPMG and received support from LIFT to develop a strategic business plan to help them enhance and implement their ideas. The finalists were also featured in promotional spots and a one-hour televised special on CBC.
After national online voting by Canadians, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Trottibus walking school bus program was selected as the winner. It will receive funding of up to $1 million to scale its program across Quebec and develop resources to share with other provinces that want to start their own programs. In addition, the top entry from a school in each province and territory that incorporated 60 minutes of physical activity each day also received $3000 to implement its idea.
BC Ideas was an online competition in 2012 that aimed to engage British Columbians in identifying and supporting innovative solutions to address pressing social challenges facing BC communities. In total, BC Ideas sourced 466 innovations from 82 communities across BC. It invested more than $270,000 in the top innovations. BC Ideas was supported by a cross-sector of 25 partners, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, universities and government. The Province of British Columbia provided the initial investment to develop the competition, and LIFT led the coordination and development of the project.