Stand Up Speak Up started out of a desire to help advocates make positive changes in the world. We believe in the power and possibilities of one person, one act or one conversation rippling out to start a movement that can lead to lasting change.
We knew that we wanted the foundation of Stand Up Speak Up to be to donate all proceeds of sale to organizations and individuals that are underserved and not properly represented in mainstream media. Long before this site came to be, we started discovering and reaching out to organizations that represented a variety of causes and objectives. As we started to work with designers, advocates and business people to assemble the site and store, we saw that there were so many people and smaller teams that could benefit from even a small bit of support.
This was the beginning of the Acts of Kindness Project.
As a family we have always believed in the power of giving back. From a young age, Zach was taught that having compassion is a good thing but turning compassion into action is where you have the greatest chance to have a positive impact on others and the world. In 2014, Zach and I committed ourselves to increase our service and giving by keeping a list of “Acts of Kindness”. This list included any giving of time, money or products where we felt it made a positive impact on someone. It could be giving a $5 coffee shop gift card or helping someone who has faced trauma the chance to tell their story on our podcast.
Zach and I loved all the shared experiences we collected from participating in our own Acts of Kindness. It was a cornerstone of our relationship and has continued to not only be a shared chance to connect as Zach grows into an adult, but is also helping us to create memories and a legacy that will last for years to come.
The mission when launching our apparel line in the spring of 2020 was to give people the chance to highlight causes and social justice topics they are passionate about through their fashion and unique and compelling designs created by a wide variety of talented artists. We hope to combine the spread of these designs with our charity and outreach efforts to create conversations and actions that inspire positive shifts throughout the world.
In addition to our own giving efforts, we want to encourage and support others in their own Acts of Kindness. We have helped to facilitate and have added our own gifts and donations to a number of projects throughout our own community of the Greater Toronto Area.
Frontline Workers at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital - Care packages with Suzy Rypkema. We contributed beauty masks as a fun surprise to care kit packages created during COVID-19.
Frontline Workers at St. Michael’s Hospital - Care packages with our friend Marla. We contributed lipsticks as a fun surprise to care kit packages created during COVID-19.
Workers at Ian Anderson House - Care packages with Carol Faull. We contributed beauty face masks as a fun surprise to care kit packages created during COVID-19.
Women at Halton Women’s Place Shelter - Karla discovered a need for bedding sets to help women escaping violence and abuse at home to help them start their lives elsewhere. She, with the help of Zach and the rest of their family, encouraged others to donate and put together 50 bedding sets, with 20 donated by Stand Up Speak Up.