The Upside Foundation Board of Directors Appoints Former Venture For Canada Leader Juanita Lee-Garcia, Executive Director

TORONTO, December 22, 2022 – The Board of Directors and leadership at Venture for Canada (VFC) congratulated former leader Juanita Lee-Garcia on her appointment as Executive Director of The Upside Foundation of Canada as the public foundation looks to expand its reach across Canada as of November 15, 2022.

The Upside foundation enables founders of early-stage, high-growth and emergent Canadian ventures to weave social responsibility into their businesses, starting with a pledge to the Upside. Pledges are commitments of 1% equity donated at the exit with notable successes from Wattpad, Q4, NeoExchange and LevelJump with a total deployment of $3 million. 

“I am incredibly grateful to have been immersed in the VFC community for close to five years and to leave a small mark on a growing organization. VFC is a workplace like no other, the team practices what it preaches: that entrepreneurs are skills of the future and that to be entrepreneurial is to act upon opportunities to create value for others,” said Juanita. “I am excited to bring VFC’s standard of excellence across operational, financial, fundraising, and partnership building I gained while on VFC’s leadership team to create value for this ambitious community.”

Juanita joined VFC in 2018 to lead the funding VFC received to incorporate social innovation into the organization, she launched various flagship efforts including VFC Alumni programming, A New Wave of Entrepreneurship, VFC’s podcast and other strategic partnership initiatives. 

“There are numerous overlaps between the VFC community and the Upside Foundation Network – VFC employers have pledged to Upside as have Fellow Alumni who have founded venture-backed startups, it’s a natural fit for Juanita and I look forward to seeing what she accomplishes in this role and brings her creative energy to life,” said Scott Stirrett, Founder and CEO, Venture for Canada. 

According to Canada Help’s 200 “Report on Giving,” between 2019-2021, the total giving amount by Canada is estimated to have dropped -12% due to the pandemic, inflation, and other challenges. As more Canadians turn to the charitable sector for access to programming, resources and support, the Upside enables those who can commit to give with a long-term outlook. 

Eva Lau, Board of Directors at Upside Foundation, Managing Partner and Co-Founder Two Small Fish Ventures:

“Startup and corporate leaders that think bigger than themselves will be the ones that come out on the other side of this economy; this is who Upside members are. The Upside foundation is a community where the triangle of generosity intersects between founders, corporate sponsors, and charities of choice. We hired a leader willing to try, test and iterate and put the Upside Foundation at the centre of the tech stage in Canada with support from smart service providers. Juanita has proven cross-sector experience, and we’re looking forward to building the Foundation under her leadership.”

About Venture for Canada 

Venture for Canada is a national charity that fosters entrepreneurial skills and mindset in young Canadians. To be entrepreneurial is to act upon opportunities to create value for others. We recruit, train, and support young people to work for innovative Canadian small businesses and startups. Through our programs, participants develop the network, knowledge, and entrepreneurial skills to have more impactful careers.


About the Upside

Founders of early-stage, high-growth Canadian companies share the upside of their future success by pledging 1% equity to a social impact cause of their choice through the Upside Foundation. A community of like-minded entrepreneurs, Upside members drive success for financial and social returns through the collective value of generosity. Supported by corporate partners from the finance and innovation ecosystem invested in long-term success, Upside fosters the next generation of philanthropy. 

You can pledge to the Upside today, for a thriving Canada tomorrow: 

Media Contact:

Erica Ormiston

Senior Manager, Marketing at Venture for Canada

(902) 220 7554