Fiona McKean and Tobi Lütke Commit to $1 Million Donation to Conquer COVID-19 Through Thistledown Foundation

Donations to Conquer COVID-19 for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) now accepted through a partnership with IDRF.

TORONTO and OTTAWA – April 11, 2020Conquer COVID-19, a grassroots incubator that is facilitating access to priority products that are in short supply but essential for the healthcare community during the COVID-19 pandemic, today announced that Fiona McKean and Tobi Lütke have committed to donating $1 million to Conquer COVID-19 through the couple’s Thistledown Foundation.

Concurrent with this announcement, Conquer COVID-19 announced that it is now accepting monetary donations through a partnership it has established with the International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF). All donations for Conquer COVID-19 can be made via the dedicated Conquer COVID-19 page on the IDRF website:

Fiona McKean, left, and Tobi Lütke, right, founders of the Thistledown Foundation.

Photo credit: Ashley Fraser

“We are fortunate in Canada that all levels of government have taken the COVID-19 threat seriously, but this is a time for all hands on deck,” said Fiona McKean, founder and Chair of Thistledown Foundation. “The Conquer COVID-19 group is stepping up for Canada by getting masks, gloves, and other supplies into the hands of our frontline workers. We want to help accelerate this effort. That’s why Tobi and I are committing $1M to the Conquer COVID-19 group through our Thistledown Foundation.” Additional information on the mandate for Thistledown is outlined in this open letter published this week by the Foundation.

Monetary donations to accelerate the supply of PPE to healthcare workers

When the Conquer COVID-19 grassroots incubator first came together just three weeks ago, the decision was made to focus exclusively on the donation and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, face shields, and gowns, along with other supplies that healthcare workers can use, such as baby monitors. However, with the increased awareness of the volunteer-driven organization due to the support of Canadian hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser and actor Ryan Reynolds, Conquer COVID-19 has received a number of requests from corporations and individuals looking to donate funds to support the purchase of PPE. To address this need and to fulfil the rapidly growing number of requests received for PPE for frontline workers, Conquer COVID-19 made the decision to partner with IDRF, an established non-profit organization that understands and supports the mission of Conquer COVID-19 and is already set up to accept monetary donations and issue tax receipts. 

IDRF is a 35-year-old charity that is headquartered in Canada and impacts the lives of over 600,000 people in Canada and around the world every year. The non-profit is dedicated to helping communities respond, recover, and ultimately become more resilient through short-term relief efforts and long-term community development programs both here in Canada and abroad. Through this joint effort, IDRF will play a critical role in managing donations for Conquer COVID-19.

With no administration fee, 100% of every donation received for Conquer COVID-19 through IDRF will be allocated to the purchase of critical PPE and other supplies through trusted sourcing partnerships

that we have in place. Once PPE has been sourced and acquired, Conquer COVID-19 will distribute it to Canada’s frontline workers. Should there be any unused funds remaining once this pandemic is over, a donation will be made to a hospital or foundation to be determined in collaboration with Conquer COVID-19, IDRF, Hayley Wickenheiser, and Ryan Reynolds.

To date, the Conquer COVID-19 team has achieved the following:

  • Distributed nearly 20,000 items – including gloves, masks, gowns, face shields, two-way baby monitors, etc. – to healthcare workers throughout the GTA and along the Ottawa to Hamilton corridor.
  • Through a collaboration between Conquer COVID-19 and distribution company Conros, facilitated the donation of 50,000 surgical masks by diversified environmental services company GFL for distribution by the University Health Network (UHN) to long term care facilities in Ontario.
  • Has an inventory of an estimated 30,000 items that were donated and are completing a 3-day sanitation hold prior to distribution.
  • Anticipating more than 300,000 in PPE donations in the next few days through commitments from several major corporations.
  • Has received requests from hospitals, clinics, long term care facilities, and others for well over 1.5 million items. 

About Conquer COVID-19

Conquer COVID-19 is a grassroots incubator that is facilitating access to personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, and other priority products and supplies that are essential for frontline healthcare workers and primary care providers in treating patients and minimizing the spread of the virus. The multidisciplinary team of more than 70 volunteers includes frontline healthcare workers, engineers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, medical students, and NGO members that are all coming together to tackle pressing issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Conquer COVID-19 is grateful for the corporate partnerships it has established with Toys ‘R’ Us, Volvo Car Canada, XYZ Storage, and VTech.  For additional information, visit