Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke’s Thistledown Foundation donates $26 million to children’s hospitals

A child wearing a blue face mask

Thistledown Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by Shopify CEO and founder Tobias Lütke, with his wife Fiona McKean, has donated $26 million to support Canada’s 13 acute care children’s hospitals.

“Kids are truly the unsung heroes of this pandemic, and this gift recognizes and highlights the urgent need to make them a priority.”
– Alex Munter

According to Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations and Children’s Healthcare Canada, the divided lump sum will provide $2 million to each of the children’s healthcare facilities across the country. The organizations intend to use the funds to meet urgent local needs and to ensure children and their families have access to healthcare.

“Through this gift, our hope is that children across Canada will have the best possible care to enable them to feel better soon and get back to the important job of being kids,” said McKean, who is also chair of Thistledown Foundation.

The donation coincides with National Child Day, which is celebrated on November 20. It commemorates a commitment Canada made to uphold the rights of all children. This includes the opportunity for children to be protected from harm, be provided with their basic needs including access to healthcare.

“Their unprecedented and historic gift will help children, youth and their families all across Canada, including eastern Ontario, northern Ontario, western Quebec and Nunavut — all of which we serve here at CHEO,” said Alex Munter, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

“Kids are truly the unsung heroes of this pandemic, and this gift recognizes and highlights the urgent need to make them a priority,” he said.

Lütke and McKean launched Thistledown Foundation in 2019 with an initial $150 million endowment to tackle Lütke and McKean’s passion for finding “novel approaches to decarbonization” to help address climate change. . In April 2020, the couple redirected the foundation’s mission to help in the fight against COVID-19.

RELATED: Shopify’s Tobi Lütke and wife Fiona McKean pivot charitable foundation, make donations to fight COVID-19

In its pivot to support frontline workers during the pandemic, Thistledown Foundation contributed $5 million to Fast Grants, a science-funding organization, as well as $1 million to Conquer COVID-19, a grassroots organization that is facilitating access to personal protective equipment.

Lütke’s philanthropy and commitment to climate change have also been evident in the past. In 2019, the Shopify CEO pledged to donate 1,000,001 trees as part of a social media campaign that also garnered support from the likes of Elon Musk. Shopify also launched a sustainability fund in the same year, donating $6.6 million CAD ($5 million USD) each year to support technologies and projects fighting climate change globally.

Image via drfuenteshernandez on Pixabay

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and the business and technology editor at The Eyeopener, Ryerson's largest independent newspaper.