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NKPR founder Natasha Koifman tries out the portrait studio at the TIFF IT Lounge, which has become a vehicle for raising donations.

PETER POWER/The Globe and Mail

The donor Natasha Koifman

The gift: Raising $500,000 and climbing

The causes: Artists for Peace and Justice, Best Buddies Canada and others

Story continues below advertisement

When Natasha Koifman started her public relations agency NKPR 12 years ago, she wanted to make sure the company's activities always had some kind of charitable component.

"The only way I could feel comfortable was if there was a charitable portion," Ms. Koifman recalled.

NKPR grew rapidly and the company now has 30 employees and offices in Toronto and New York. One of the firm's busiest times of the year is during the Toronto International Film Festival, which starts on Thursday and runs until Sept. 14.

NKPR works on several events during TIFF, including running the IT Lounge during the festival. The lounge is a place where celebrities and media hang out, and it has become a makeshift photo studio, displaying renowned photographs of celebrities. It is also a vehicle for raising money, with sponsors and others making donations.

Since it started nine years ago at TIFF, the IT Lounge has raised about $500,000, with the money going to several charities including Artists for Peace and Justice, founded by film director Paul Haggis, and Best Buddies Canada, a charity that pairs volunteers and people with intellectual disabilities.

"We're pretty busy during the festival," Ms. Koifman said, adding that TIFF brings "amazing energy to the city." And it helps raise money for some important causes, something "that makes the world a better place."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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