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Report on Business A tale of paying it forward to the Toronto hospital that saved her daughter

The donor: Jodi Kovitz

The gift: Helping to raise $25-million

The cause: Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children

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The reason: To fund a chair in biomedical artificial intelligence and a new emergency department.

Jodi Kovitz’s daughter was two years old when she developed a series of rare infections that required months of treatment at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

Her daughter pulled through and is now a healthy nine-year-old, but Ms. Kovitz has never forgotten the professional care her family received from the hospital’s staff. “We slept there a lot of nights and had 14 different specialists at any given time,” recalled Ms. Kovitz, who founded Move the Dial, an organization dedicated to advancing women in the technology sector.

Last year, she joined the SickKids’ capital campaign and decided to aim her efforts at the tech sector. Together with Salim Teja, president of venture services at MaRs discovery district, Ms. Kovitz came up with several novel fundraising ideas. One involved encouraging tech entrepreneurs to pledge a percentage of the equity in their companies to the hospital, so that once the business went public, or was acquired, the exit triggered a donation. Last year Zensurance, a Toronto-based digital insurance company, pledged 1 per cent of its equity to the hospital and, in August, the company sold a portion of the business, generating a donation worth more than $100,000. So far, Tech4SickKids has raised $3.6-million, not including the stock pledges, and the goal is to raise $25-million.

“For me it’s incredibly gratifying and joyful,” Ms. Kovitz said of the fundraising. “My number one goal in life was to meaningfully give back to the hospital and ensure that future generations of kids have the same level of outstanding care that I did.”

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