Together We Stand strives to show Canada’s military families that they are seen, heard and appreciated.
These families serve our country proudly and with enduring resilience – they just do it without the uniform or recognition. Our Canadian military families make sacrifices so that your family doesn’t have to.
Our style of relationship building is grassroots and personal. Our team is authentic, approachable, and accessible. We meet stakeholders in their own environment, fostering room for genuine, meaningful, and impactful conversations.
The Together We Stand Foundation was created to recognize, thank and pay tribute to patriotic Canadian military families. They are as much a part of our armed forces as those who serve on the front lines, however, they do not wear a uniform.
Multiple deployments, frequent moves, isolation, separation, fear for the life of their loved ones…these are some of the unique challenges that Canada’s brave military families face daily. They do so proudly, with great resiliency, and often without recognition or appreciation.
Together We Stand serves Canada’s military families by celebrating their contribution to our country, supporting families in need of a hand up, and educating the civilian population about the pivotal role these families play in the country’s safety and security.
In December 2017, founders Rick and Lillian Ekstein provided the families of deployed Canadian Armed Forces members with gift cards to say thank you for supporting their serving loved ones while they ensure the safety and security of our country.
The reaction from these families was so positive they decided to continue their commitment to showing appreciation to Canadian military families, thus Together We Stand was born.
Over the past four years, Together We Stand has expanded on our operations by calling on civilians, private donors and Corporate Canada to stand with Canada’s military families.
Together We Stand is the creation of Rick and Lillian Ekstein of Thornhill, ON. 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. After a 40 year career in the lumber industry, Rick and Lillian decided it was time to give back to the country that had been so good to them – identifying the Canadian Armed Forces as the most respected industry in Canada.
Within the military philanthropic landscape, Rick and Lillian came to realize that there are a number of organizations that focus on the serving member or veteran, but very few – if any – that emphasize the family at home. Mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers… these families are the strength behind the uniform, keeping things running on the home front, so their loved ones can focus on being effective and efficient in the line of duty.
“We started Together We Stand to say THANK YOU to Canada; To say thank you for letting our parents into the country, to say thank you for letting us build a business that would prosper, and thank you for allowing our children to grow up where they are free to practice their religion in safety and without fear.
One of the many reasons that Canada is the greatest country in the world is because we have a military willing to do whatever it takes to ensure our freedoms and security. And THEY in turn, have families who are willing to support them – bravely facing the challenges that are thrown at them on a daily basis.
Supporting Canadian Military families is OUR way of saying thank you to Canada”.
– Rick Ekstein
Sacrifice is exemplified daily by the families of our Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Members, the glue that keeps everything together at home, and the heart of our military.
When Canadian military personnel are called on, it is the family that provides a sense of stability to the serving member by handling all things home related, often in a new city and without any external support. Families experience many of the same fluctuations of military life as our serving members – constantly changing schedules, dropping everything at a moment’s notice and the unfortunate possibility of dealing with life-changing loss and injury that comes with protecting one’s country.