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Rise was founded on a powerful idea – that people struggling with mental health or addiction challenges can overcome barriers to achieving a fulfilling career and financial wellbeing. Our goal has always been to tap into the spirit and unrealized potential of inspiring entrepreneurs. This led the way for our vision of creating a loan fund to help people start their own businesses.

Based on a generous donation from The Rotman Family, Rise was established in 2009 as a joint initiative of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Rise is headquartered at the Rotman School and is proudly supported by the Rotman community.

Today, Rise is Canada’s only national charity dedicated to helping people who have experienced barriers resulting from mental health or addiction challenges, achieve financial stability through self-employment or small business ownership. Rise provides training, mentorship and low interest business loans. Across Canada, Rise helps eliminate barriers, improve life outcomes and strengthen individuals, families and communities.

Sandra and Joseph Rotman

Sandra’s appreciation for philanthropy began at an early age. She is first generation Canadian. Her parents set an example of compassion, generosity and goodwill by helping their family who came to Canada from war-torn Europe. Healthcare and education are Sandra’s focus.

Her late husband Joseph shared these beliefs and understood the value of building strong communities.

Together they created a vision for Rise.


Rise provides entrepreneurs with the resources, microloans and the support they need to launch and grow their business ideas. Learn more about Rise programs, and find out how you can volunteer or partner with us.