Who Are We?

Together We Stand Foundation is a nationally registered organization created by proud Canadians Rick and Lillian Ekstein. Their efforts began in 2017, when the Eksteins donated $75,000 to military families with loved ones deployed overseas. This gesture was to thank them for their dedication and sacrifices. Given the positive reaction to this gesture, the Eksteins formed Together We Stand to annually honour and recognize Canadian troops and their families –particularly while separated during the holiday season.

To show appreciation in 2018, 2,550 Family Gift Boxes containing gift cards and coupons from a variety of corporate and private donors were distributed to each military family with a loved one deployed abroad.

Together We Stand is proud to work in partnership with the Department of National Defense and Support Our Troops. Learn more.



The concept of Together We Stand is the creation of Rick and Lillian Ekstein of Thornhill, ON. Both are proud first- generation Canadians whose families were victims of the Holocaust. The Eksteins are passionate in their belief that Canada is the best country in the world and are deeply appreciative of the sacrifices members of the military make to preserve our freedom.

To show their appreciation, Rick and Lillian wanted to do something meaningful to thank our Canadian troops. Understanding the importance of family and the emotional strain on spouses and children when troops are deployed, they decided the best way to say thank you was to do something special for the “behind the scenes heroes” – the family members who find themselves separated from their loved ones during the holiday season.

In December 2017, Rick and Lillian provided the families of deployed members of Canada’s Armed Forces with a $50 gift card to say thank you. The reaction was so positive, they decided to continue their commitment and created Together We Stand, a foundation focused on honouring military families in Canada.

Latest News

Please read on for the latest news and updates about Together We Stand.

December 27, 2018
Military families in Petawawa received Family Gift Boxes from the Together We Stand (TWS) Foundation.

Together We Stand on Ottawa Now with Evan Solomon

September 17th, 2018
Founder Rick Ekstein talks to Evan Solomon of Ottawa Now about the launch of Together We Stand.

September 17th, 2018

Rick Ekstein joins CP24 to get the word out about the launch of Together We Stand. Click below to watch the full interview.

September 13th, 2018
Canadian philanthropists Rick and Lillian Ekstein meet with Canadian Armed Forces personnel in Toronto to honour military families through launch of Together We Stand Foundation…


Please help us make the holidays a little brighter for military families across Canada. Every little bit goes a long way so please consider making a donation here.

Write to Families

If you would like to write a note of thanks and appreciation to the families of our men and women who are deployed, we invite you to use the form below. Your support of Canada’s unsung heroes is greatly appreciated!

Founding Donors

Ron Bernbaum
Anita Ekstein
Peter Ekstein
Alan Greenberg

Joel Reitman
Jeff Rosenthal
Jim Spatz

Honorary Patrons

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
The Right Honourable Paul Martin

Honorary Council

David Amber – On-air host, Hockey Night in Canada
Brian Burke – Notable hockey executive, On-air host
Paul Gross – Canadian actor, producer, director
Darrell Bricker – Global CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, Hon. Colonel, Queen’s York Rangers
Alain Parent – Lieutenant- General (Ret’d), CMM, CD, Former Acting Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
Hayley Wickenheiser – Olympic Gold Medalist, Author and Motivational Speaker
Col. Chris Hadfield OC MSC – Astronaut, Musician, Author
Wayne Gretzky “The Great One” – Former Professional Ice Hockey Player, Former Head Coach
Guy Lafleur “The Flower” – Former Professional Ice Hockey Player
Jim Cuddy – Canadian Singer-Songwriter

Corporate Donors