We created the Sunrise Challenge to raise vital funds for CAMH, and hope for those who live with mental illness every day. As a world-leader in mental health research, CAMH is working toward a brighter future for people with mental illness—a future where illnesses like depression and PTSD are treated as seriously and urgently as physical illness.


Launch a peer-to-peer event when we can’t be face-to-face.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising is a significant revenue driver for Canadian nonprofits. It’s filled with giant fundraisers like well-established run, walk and bike events that are built around in-person celebratory challenges. But while top events like Movember and Run for the Cure were seeing year-over-year growth before the pandemic, nationwide gathering restrictions sparked a huge drop in revenue.


Be inclusive of the people we want to help.

Whether it’s a run, ride or relay, the most popular P2P fundraisers have two things in common: physical activity, and large crowds—two things that inadvertently exclude many people with mental illness.

With plans to launch CAMH’s new P2P event in the middle of a pandemic, we knew our success was dependent on creating something safe, simple, and accessible for everyone—especially those we were trying to help.


Rise together without getting together.

Our new event revolved around something that can be challenging for everyone, but even more so for those with mental illness: getting out of bed in the morning.

The Sunrise Challenge invited Canadians to wake up with the sun for one week while raising money for CAMH. A social media toolkit made it easy for participants to ask their network for donations and share the reasons why they chose to rise in support of CAMH.


Set an ambitious goal. And rise above it.

In its first year, the Sunrise Challenge raised a total of $2.5M—surpassing our year one goal by $1.8M. And on the corporate side, it helped CAMH forge new partnerships with brands like Sun Life Financial, Starbucks, Tangerine, CIBC, and Peace Collective—setting the challenge up for greater investment and growth in the years to come.