Today the Upside Foundation of Canada officially launched with the goal of helping Canadian startups support charitable activity across Canada.
The Upside Foundation offers a new model of corporate philanthropy that empowers startups to ‘share the upside’ with Canadian charities. The Foundation draws on the success of its affiliate, Tmura in Israel, and a similar foundation in California, both of which have distributed millions of dollars to charities in need.
The business model is very progressive and allows early-stage high-growth companies to support local charitable efforts by donating stock options, not cash. The model is simple – early-stage companies donate stock options to the Upside Foundation, convertible at exit into a small portion of their equity. When a liquidity event occurs, the Upside Foundation sells its options and donates the proceeds to charities in Canada.
The Upside Foundation reflects the notion that winning companies not only provide strong returns to shareholders, but also extend their successes to their communities and employees. “The Upside Foundation has already been very well received by all sectors of Canada’s startup community,” said Mark Skapinker, an experienced entrepreneur, venture capitalist and one of three Co-Founders of the Upside Foundation of Canada. “Canadian entrepreneurs genuinely want to ‘share the upside’ with their communities, and we are really excited to provide them an opportunity to do just that.”
The Upside Foundation also announced its first Board of Directors. Members include Eastern Canada representatives Rob Antoniades, Mark Skapinker, Mark Macleod, Gerry Pond and Ben Zifkin with the Western Canada representative still pending.
A handful of startups have already signed up to date including Hubba, INTEGRIS, DomainAgents, hovr, ShiftHub, UnderstoodIt, and Morpheus. The Foundation has also received tremendous support from various established firms who believe in the power of the innovative philanthropy model including KPMG LLP.