Charity Gift Guide 2017: SickKids, Habitat for Humanity & The Brain Project

by W. Andrew Powell
SickKids Vs Limits

The holidays are a wonderful time of year to celebrate family, friends, and all the good things in our lives, and they’re also the perfect time to give back. We started our annual charity gift guides so we could try to inspire a range of ideas to give back, and offer a window into some of the opportunities available to give to the community. This year we’re focusing our attention on three very important initiatives: SickKids, Habitat for Humanity, and The Brain Project.

New features in The GATE’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guides debut weekly until December 22. You can also follow along on Twitter and Instagram with our #GATEGiftGuides hashtag.

SickKids |
The SickKids Foundation–the organization behind the SickKids hospital in Toronto–has launched an important and once-in-a-lifetime initiative to bring better systems and care to their patients, and they need a lot of support to make it happen. SickKids hospital was built in 1949, and it’s time to build a new hospital that can meet modern needs. Part of the initiative is also geared to advancing medical science, and partnering globally with organizations that can help them support children and their health needs around the world.

“Every year, nearly 7 million children around the world die from preventable diseases. SickKids is devoted to helping as many of them as possible–here at home and abroad.”

To meet their needs and save more children, SickKids is urgently looking for 5000 new monthly donors to help make the new plans a reality as they battle against the limits, including the limits of their own outdated building.

Those 5000 monthly donors will help SickKids transform the hospital so that it’s not only efficient, but also a compassionate care facility, with less risk of infection, better technology, and so they can attract medical leaders to the hospital campus.

If you want to give in more than one way, SickKids can also use your support for the children who will be in the hospital this holiday season, and just $12 will help make a difference to a child this holiday season.

By donating to the hospital now, you can buy arts & crafts supplies for just $12, baby toys for $25, holiday cooking & baking supplies for $20, a holiday gift bundle for $150, or buy a holiday meal for a family for $45.

Become a monthly donor to SickKids at and you can purchase a gift for a child at

Gingerbread Dream Home
Habitat for Humanity |
On December 2nd, Habitat for Humanity has a great cause that includes fun for the family with their 15th annual Gingerbread Build. For $50, you get a (regular sized) gingerbread house with candy and frosting to decorate, and you’re contributing to a great cause that helps build homes for families and people in need.

When you order online, you can choose to go down and decorate your house at Toronto City Hall on December 2, or you can order a gingerbread house to pick up at one of the Habitat for Humanity offices in the GTA. They even have some tips & tricks for decorating your gingerbread house, just in case.

You can also support Habitat for Humanity through the Canadian Real Estate Association and their website, which is listed on the website. CREA has partnered with Habitat to help inspire Canadian families to donate to local building projects with a home that they’ve designed to look like a real, full-size gingerbread house–inside and out.

Donate your time, your money, or your stuff to Habitat for Humanity at

You can also take a virtual tour of the Gingerbread Dream Home.

Brain Project 2017 - Hockey Theme - 360 - 02

The Brain Project |
Whether you’re an art collector, or you’re looking to support a good cause, The Brain Project is a fascinating blend of art meets brains, fairly literally.

The Baycrest Foundation is the fundraising arm of Baycrest Health Sciences, and this year they’ve partnered with talented artists, celebrities, and thought-leaders to create 100 works of art, all modeled after the human brain. Funds raised go to their world-renowned research and education efforts about Alzheimer’s, dementia, and cognitive illnesses.

Priced between $3,000 and $10,000, the brains are works of art that go a long way, but if you want to support the cause on a budget, you can also make a donation on the website. You can also see the brains in person at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto.

Some of the people involved in creating the art include Peter Mansbridge, Raymond Waters,
Sophie DeFrancesca, and Liz Tran.

Do you support a charity that deserves more attention? Talk about why they’re important on Twitter with the #GATEGiftGuides hashtag, or in the comments below. If we get enough comments and ideas, we’ll do a second charity roundup in December.

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