Late in 2008, a group of friends started talking on Twitter about the plight of the hungry in Toronto. The idea for HoHoTO grew organically out of this discussion, fuelled by a shared belief among a relatively small group of like-minded people. Using Twitter, Facebook, email, and our collected networks of close friends and loose ties, we kicked off a process that lit up the tweetstreams and blogvines; quickly turning a much, much bigger group of people on to the same core idea:
That people in our great city are hungry and we can make a difference.
The result, that first year, was an extraordinary party attended by more than 500 enthusiastic people from the local tech, media, digital marketing, social media, and PR communities. The whole thing was organized in less than 20 days, sold out in nine, and went on to astonish all of us involved as we watched something bigger than we’d ever dreamed take shape before our eyes.
HoHoTO became a hyper-connected social media movement and a remarkable example of the power of self-organizing online groups.
Along the way, we’ve received messages of support from the likes of Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, BoingBoing co-founder Cory Doctorow and many others. We’ve called in the troops (the 48th Highlanders) to help us deliver the donated food to Daily Bread so that their regular resources would not be redirected by our last-minute event. We’ve been cited as an example of social action by Queen Rania of Jordan and referenced as a case study in business books.
As an annual event, “the party that Twitter built” has raised more than $350,000 and collected around four tons of food for hungry Torontonians to date.
And now, beginning in 2015, this great party will do even more by acting as the hub that connect organizations with the vibrant HoHoTO community in an effort to drive beneficial change in our technology ecosytem.
Participating in HoHoTO year-round are a number of organizations who are helping to drive opportunity, diversity, and innovation in the workplace now and in the future.
Read on for more about our mission and the team behind HoHoTO.