Our story: HoHoTO began as a holiday party to raise sorely needed funds for community initiatives
Late in 2008, a group of friends started talking on Twitter about the plight of the hungry in Toronto. The idea for HoHoTO grew organically out of this discussion, fuelled by a shared belief among a relatively small group of like-minded people. Using Twitter, Facebook, email, and our collected networks of close friends and loose ties, we kicked off a process that lit up the tweetstreams and blogvines; quickly turning a much, much bigger group of people on to the same core idea:
That people in our great city are hungry and we can make a difference.
The result, that first year, was an extraordinary party attended by more than 500 enthusiastic people from the local tech, startups, digital business, nonprofit, and communications communities. The whole thing was organized in less than 20 days, sold out in nine, and went on to astonish all of us involved as we watched something bigger than we’d ever dreamed take shape before our eyes.
HoHoTO became a hyper-connected social media movement and a remarkable example of the power of self-organizing online groups.
Along the way, we’ve received messages of support from the likes of Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, BoingBoing co-founder Cory Doctorow and many others. We’ve called in the troops (the 48th Highlanders) to help us deliver the donated food to Daily Bread so that their regular resources would not be redirected by our last-minute event. We’ve been cited as an example of social action by Queen Rania of Jordan and referenced as a case study in business books.
From 2008-2014, “the party that Twitter built”, raised more than $350,000 and collected around four tons of food for hungry Torontonians. Many thanks to the gang on Twitter that hustled to make this whole thing happen.
Starting in 2015, this great party became part of Together, an initiative that connects a number of organizations who are helping to drive opportunity, diversity, and innovation in the workplace now and in the future. Together is helping shape an inclusive digital community with events and initiatives such as We are TO, Disrupting with Digital, Girls’ Tech Tour, HoHoTO, and Mentor Together. Please read about our our mission and team .
We’re looking ahead with some amazing youth programming and professional events, and are open to ideas, collaborators, leaders, and volunteers to bring together our amazing community at a holiday party next year. Would you like to build and continue this annual event? If you want to help bring us together, we have some great ideas on how to transition the event for the next generation. Please get in touch.