NKPR Women’s Entrepreneurship Grant 2022

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Would you believe it if we told you that ONLY a quarter of all entrepreneurs in Canada are women? While women entrepreneurs around the world are powerful drivers of development and economic growth, due to a lack of funding among other factors, many of them are often unable to get their businesses up and running. With this in mind, on the occasion of NKPR’s 20th anniversary, we launched the inaugural NKPR Women’s Entrepreneurship Grant along with our media partner Canadian Business, to empower and uplift women entrepreneurs by providing them with the tools they need to make their dreams a reality. 

Over the last few months, we had the privilege of discovering a variety of amazing women-owned businesses through the incredible number of entries we received from all over Canada. We narrowed it down to 5 finalists who were shortlisted based on an in-depth process that included their elevator pitch, business plan, video submission and interview. Today, we are pleased to announce that Nuria Madrenas, Founder of Tacit online gallery and art consultancy, is the winner of our first-ever NKPR Entrepreneurship Grant! In addition to $10,000 in funding, Nuria will receive valuable hands-on coaching and mentorship sessions. According to reports, only 2% of global art spending is on works by women and Tacit is working to address this gender disparity through promoting women-made art amongst emerging collectors and giving female artists a platform to showcase their work. We look forward to supporting Nuria and providing her with the funding, guidance and tools that she needs to make this a turning point in her entrepreneurial journey. Congratulations Nuria!

Moreover, as all four shortlisted candidates demonstrated tremendous business acumen and potential that deserved to be nurtured, the grant was extended to include an additional 10 hours of mentorship from NKPR to assist them in meeting their business objectives. Read on to learn more about the four shortlisted candidates and their businesses: 

  1. Celia Lopez, founder of Placemade: PlaceMade is Toronto’s first health and fitness workspace, designed specifically for health and fitness professionals. Celia’s vision is to empower health and fitness professionals with a foundation for success by providing a top-quality workspace, business support and a powerful community to aid in their mission to promote an active lifestyle.
  2. Jessica Bevilacqua, founder of Dog Standards: A customized, fresh dog food delivery service offering a convenient and healthy feeding solution for pet parents. Pet owners are asked questions about their pup, after which the app’s algorithm calculates the pup’s daily caloric requirements, and creates a customized meal plan.The dog’s food is then shipped on a regular schedule in eco-friendly thermal packaging with feeding guidelines on the back! 
  3. Tila Laurence, founder of Pretty in paint: Pretty in Paint are trusted repaint specialists who provide their clients with quick, quality, affordable painting services in both residential and commercial painting sectors. The company is truly changing the way people think about painting and trades through a service and product that is a ‘cut’ above the rest.
  4. Sade Lambo and Rachel Lambo, co-founders of Sade Baron: Co-founded by a mother daughter duo, Sade Baron was built on the pair’s own experiences with dry skin, and is a 100% vegan brand that has been thoughtfully crafted using high-quality nutrients as a source of food for the skin.

Now more than ever, we need to support and empower women entrepreneurs and work towards a world where they can thrive and succeed on their own terms.

Celebrating 14 years of the Artists for Peace and Justice Gala

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Our 14th annual Artists for Peace and Justice gala took place on September 10, and it was an evening well spent in the company of local and international changemakers who opened their hearts to support education in Haiti. It’s true, when like-minded and benevolent people come together, magic happens – and together we raised over $725,000 that will all go towards our Academy of Peace and Justice!

Co-chaired by Natasha Koifman and Zoomer Editor-In-Chief & Publisher Suzanne Boyd, the APJ Gala was attended by 120  guests, including notable celebrities like Hayden Christensen, Nelly Furtado, P.K. Subban and APJ Canada Board Members George Strombopoulos (Strombo), Shantelle and Yannick Bisson, Rose Mantella, Carrie Kirkman, Sholeh Alemi Fabbri and Joanne Bull; amazing people who lend their time and voices to important initiatives.

The evening was emceed by Strombo and TV and radio personality Natasha Gargiulo and featured beautiful musical performances by Fefe Dobson & Dan Kanter and Haitian artist Wesli Louissaint

This year, the prestigious Canadian Changemaker Award went to Dax Dasilva for his unwavering dedication to conservation through his non-profit environmental alliance, Age of Union, while Eric McCormack took home the official Artist for Peace and Justice Award for his continuous commitment to doing social good.

One of the highlights of the Gala was the live auction led by our amazing auctioneers, Mandy Rennehan and Lauren Ferraro. The items that were up for grabs included stunning and unique artworks created by Russell Young Art, Mr Brainwash Art, Eric Hendrikx and Peter Triantos, Anthony Ricciardi, 416Artistry, Peter Tunney, business class round trip tickets courtesy of Air Canada, a private suite for up to 16 people to a concert or baseball game courtesy of Lawson Media Events, and a South Sea Pearl and Diamond Ring donated by Royal de Versailles. We are immensely grateful to everybody who donated!

The people of Haiti are still suffering from the aftermath of recent earthquakes, years of political instability, and ongoing food and water shortages, and it breaks our hearts to see the current state of this once rich, vibrant and beautiful country. At APJ, we firmly believe that education holds the key to ending the cycle of poverty for Haitian youth and can open the doors to a brighter and more stable future for them.

We are so incredibly thankful for the kindness, generosity and support of our sponsors, guests and board members who come together year after year, helping APJ make a meaningful impact on those who need it most. Here are a few milestones that our Academy for Peace and Justice has achieved:

– Over 27,000 students have attended the Academy since we opened our doors in 2010

– Over 1,300 students have graduated since 2016 with an average overall pass rate of over 90%

– The Academy employs 130 teachers and annually provides education to more than 3,700 students!

See you next year!


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Earlier this month, we hosted the 18th edition of IT House- our interactive and experiential lounge, at The Purman Building (future home of Natasha The Residences). Taking place a block away from Festival street right in the heart of the TIFF festivities, IT House offered guests the opportunity to enjoy some much-needed R&R away from film festival madness, and explore amazing activations too! This year, our theme spotlighted Canadian and international brands that are making waves in Canada. Want to know what we had in store for our guests this year? Read on to find out!

Inspired by a dream dressing room, Joseph Ribkoff‘s vignette invited guests for the ultimate style experience. Fashion connoisseurs got a glimpse of the brand’s upcoming Fall/Winter 2022 collection, received product knowledge and were styled for a glamorous photo shoot at the Hello! Canada celebrity portrait studio – truly such a red carpet experience! 

We also had Hey Babe Cosmetics and Hair God Toronto give our guests premiere-worthy touch-ups while Starks Barber Co’s suave pop-up came complete with a swivel barber’s chair, hair trolley, full-length mirror and more.

MCM Worldwide’s beautiful walk-in closet was a real hit as were all the sips and snacks our guests were treated to while they explored the lounge, courtesy of Lobos 1707, Ceders Non-Alcoholic Spirits, Purplesful Popcorn, Better Rhodes and Flow Water.

But there’s more…On hand to prep us for the upcoming season was Regimen Lab’s skincare station, while Lifted Fitness‘ decor-inspired exercise equipment truly elevated the space! Last but definitely not the least was the epitome of elegance, La Bonne Fille Fine Tea’s cafe pop-up that served up some amazing  photo moments against a custom backdrop painted by renowned local artist, Bacon. Guests indulged in the different flavours of LBF amidst a refined and modern cafe setting.

We love how the IT House has become a hub for media, talent and VIPs who are looking to recharge and relax during the hustle and bustle of festival season, and we are forever grateful to our sponsors and partners who always put their best foot forward and contribute to the success of the IT House year after year. Cheers to another successful edition!

NKPR Celebrates 20 Years and Kicks Off Film Festival Season

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If there’s one thing we love at NKPR, it’s throwing a great party! Last week, we kicked off the 47th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) with our annual Festival Countdown party, getting the who’s who of Toronto into the film festival spirit. This year was extra special as Festival Countdown coincided with our 20th anniversary, making it a double celebration of sorts – and we are so grateful to have got the opportunity to commemorate this milestone with our clients, partners, friends and family!

Thank you to our amazing sponsors for ensuring that our guests were treated to the best throughout the night! From Pusateri Foods’ iconic sweets table, Hound’s vodka, Lobos 1707 and La Bonne Fille’s jazzy cocktail bars, Canvas Cannabis’ pre-rolled joints to Purplesful adding that flavourful pop of colour, Flow Water and Pellar Wines keeping us hydrated all night – It was the perfect evening! Shiny, happy people mingling over cocktails, food and tons of candy, what more can you ask for, you say? But there was MORE…McDonald’s on a silver platter, our super popular claw machine and our ice cream truck, all proved to be huge party hits and we loved seeing our guests get excited over them! It truly was a night to remember!

Although Festival Countdown signals the unofficial end of summer, Team NKPR is going to be basking in the warmth, love and support we’ve received over the last 2 decades! Thank you once again to everybody who joined us – see you next year!

NKPR Places Focus on Elevating Canadian Brands & Shopping Local

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Homegrown brands and businesses are the lifelines of any community, and It is so important that we show them some extra love! As Canadians we should be proud of the many amazing businesses that exist across our country and at NKPR, it has been our absolute privilege to be the agency of record for some of the most notable Canadian brands including Ellie Mae StudiosLa Bonne Fille Fine TeaPusateri FoodsStarks Barber Company and more! This year, we’ve had more homegrown brands join our roster – read on to find out more about them:of the most notable local and national brands! Read on to find out more about who we support:

Samuelsohn: Samuelsohn is a premium men’s suiting brand that is designed and created in Montreal! Featuring refined tailoring and quality investment pieces, Samuelsohn’s products range from tailored pieces to luxe-casual looks with their #VUECollection, leading the way in menswear innovation.  Supporting the brand across North America, NKPR is activating a full 360º PR and digital marketing program to celebrate their centennial year and to showcase the exceptional quality that they bring to the industry.   

TH Curation: Founded by Rachael Taylor Hannah, #THCuration is transforming the design industry by moving away from mass production and going towards mindful consumption through curated drops. Each piece has been produced in collaboration with expert artisans using refined materials made for thoughtful design. As part of NKPR’s partnership with THCuration, we are working on building a community supporting the new wave of ‘Interior Curators’ who provide consumers with access to verified and vetted home goods, among other projects.

Regimen Lab: Co-founded by skincare innovator Alex Apostolopoulos and chemist Webster Magcalas, Regimen Lab is a Canadian skincare brand that delivers what it promises! Built on the pillars of transparency, integrity and quality, Regimen Lab’s scientist-led team of ‘Skincare Geeks’ believe in making skincare more accessible, staying true to their motto ‘If we can’t perfect it, we don’t make it.‘ Each Regimen product is developed and formulated in Toronto and extensively tested before it is finally launched in the market. The brand has also created a skincare encyclopedia to help the public understand the biology and chemistry of skincare! NKPR will be supporting Regimen Lab by delivering constant Strategic counsel to drive widespread brand awareness nationally, build media and influencer relations plus product seeding, provide counsel on strategic alignments that will raise brand credibility and create positive emotional connections to grow Regimen Lab’s voice and brand loyalty among other things.

Waxon: Identifying a gap in the Canadian market, Waxon founder Lexi Miles Corrin developed an efficient, convenient and premium service, offering cutting-edge techniques, customized experiences and a safe space for anyone who walks through the doors. The one stop shop for all hair removal needs, WAXON is present in 14 locations across Canada and has an established loyal following that is growing rapidly every year! Some of our key objectives as Waxon’s agency of record are growing the franchise through Lexi’s story and endearing the brand to existing and new clientele through various women empowerment initiatives.

Joseph Ribkoff: Present in over 60 countries worldwide, Joseph Ribkoff has been guiding fashion trends with its elegant and versatile silhouettes, made for the woman on the move! Fashion is ever-evolving and many brands have found it tough to stay relevant – but not Joseph Ribkoff!!! The brand continues to delight its audience with designs that are constantly adapting to current trends and yet remain timeless. Prioritizing the brand’s B2B and B2C launches, NKPR is developing strategic communication roadmaps, providing counsel and managing Joseph Ribkoff’s internal and external partners while building the brand globally. 


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On June 17th, NKPR was pleased to support ‘ROCK & ROLL FOREVER’, a collaborative art exhibition by NKPR’s Creative Director and Rolling Stone Contributor, Eric Hendrikx, and Toronto-based contemporary painter, Peter Triantos.  Held at the Peter Triantos Art Gallery on 21 Avenue Road in Yorkville from June 17—29th, 2022, the exhibit featured Eric’s signed, limited edition black and white photographs of iconic rock stars—Slash, Ben Harper, Fergie, Foo Fighters and more – along with a unique collaboration of original mixed media artworks by both Hendrikx and Triantos. 

Opening Night of the ‘Rock & Roll Forever’ art exhibit: Martin and Ginger Barkey, Peter and Serphina Triantos, Natasha Koifman-Hendrikx, Eric Hendrikx, and Matthew Willson. Photo: Ryan Emberley

The exhibit is focused on Hendrikx’ photography taken over the past decade while writing for Rolling Stone and REVOLVER“Rock & Roll has always been there for me, especially throughout my formative years when I was most vulnerable. And men’s mental health has always carried a stigma preventing many men from being able to openly share their struggle and find the help that they need.  Anything that I can do to contribute to those efforts is a big priority for me,” says Hendrikx.  Proceeds from all sales will benefit men’s mental health and suicide prevention through Movember and The Unison Fund.

Natasha Koifman-Hendrikx and Eric Hendrikx. Photo: Ryan Emberley

Opening Night of the ‘Rock & Roll Forever’ art exhibit by Eric Hendrikx & Peter Triantos. Photo: Ryan Emberley

Abstract painter, Peter Triantos, has become a staple of Toronto’s art scene, known for his visually striking and colourful paintings.  “Eric’s rock and roll photography is powerful and filled with energy—each image represents and tells a story. So, I focused on honouring his photography,” says Triantos. “For our mixed media collaborations, we opened the vault, and I was able to bring colour and brushstrokes to these beautiful images.”

By popular demand, ROCK & ROLL FOREVER was extended several weeks and was a huge successEric’s first large gallery exhibit and a sold-out show that came with an important philanthropic message.

Eric Hendrikx and Peter Triantos. Photo: Renata Kaveh

Eric Hendrikx. Photo Renata Kaveh


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The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 

On May 22nd, 2022, thousands of distinguished gentlefolk from around the globe took to the streets of their respective cities, dapperly dressed (Read: Jon Hamm ala Mad Men) atop vintage and retro-inspired motorcycles to take part in the ‘Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR)‘, established to raise funds and awareness for Movember, supporting men’s mental health and prostate cancer. 

Leading the charge in Toronto was NKPR’s Executive Creative Director, Eric Hendrikx, who’s philanthropic initiatives made him the second highest fundraiser in Canada, and among the top twenty in the world, for 2022.  ‘Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR)‘—an excellent merit considering this was the former Californian’s first charity ride in Canada.

Eric Hendrikx riding in the 2018 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on his 2018 BMW R9t motorcycle. 

Back in California, Eric was named global ambassador for DGR in 2018 and in 2019 he was Orange County’s Grand Marshal, leading more than 2,000 motorcyclists along California’s spectacular Pacific Coast Highway.

Eric Hendrikx and Natasha Koifman-Hendrikx ready for the 2022 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

 This year’s DGR was palpable as we hopped on a Triumph T120 Bonneville to meet with likeminded people excited to help others. See you in 2023!

A Distinguished Social Affair 

The inaugural Distinguished Social Affair at the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto. Photo: Viktor Radics

Early in 2022, Eric founded the annual fundraising event, A Distinguished Social Affair, a pre-DGR charitable event held at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto’s EPOCH Bar & Kitchen Terrace. Through ticket sales, live auction, and sponsorships, we raised funds dedicated to Movember and Unison Fund—the latter providing counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music industry. 

Auctioning off a signed Tony Hawk skateboard deck for A Distinguished Social Affair. Photo: Viktor Radics

At NKPR, philanthropy is a top priority and we were honoured to support Eric’s initiative. The Toronto motorcycle community is truly such a caring and inclusive group of people and it was amazing to see them all come together to raise funds for an important cause.

The NKPR team supported Eric Hendrikx’s inaugural fundraiser, ‘A Distinguished Social Affair’.

NKPR Summer Social

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Work Hard, Play Hard! At our recent summer social event held poolside in Natasha’s backyard, the team spent a summer Friday together having fun and catching up outside of the office. Great weather, happy faces and amazing food – it truly was the perfect day to celebrate our NKPR family.

Here are some snapshots from the BBQ.

20 Hours of Kindness

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Making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate, and putting good into the world are missions that form the core values of NKPR! Keeping this spirit alive, our fifth annual  “20 Hours of Kindness”, returned on the 21st of July and had the team volunteer 20 accumulative hours at various locations across the GTHA. This year the noble organizations that we supported were:

Dr Roz’s Healing Place

Dr B Meisami Foundation

Canada Ukraine Foundation

Canadian Mental Health Association

Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary

St Felix Centre

To recap, we’ve put together a snapshot of NKPR’s Kindness Squad in action:

Women’s Empowerment & Support

In a bid to brighten the day of abuse survivors, team NKPR created gift bags and boxes filled with little luxuries for the women at Dr. Roz’s Healing Place, a centre for empowerment and healing that works towards eradicating violence against women and their children locally, nationally and globally. The team sent out questionnaires to the women at the shelter, and tailor-made each box based on the answers they received. The boxes were all assembled at the NKPR office and subsequently dropped off with personalized hand-written notes, to the centre along with specially prepared meals and treats.

Yoga and Meditation for Mental Health

To promote mindfulness and stillness, an hour-long yoga & meditation session was held at the Toronto Music Garden at 7:30 am on the 21st, led by Meagan Maguire. Participants paid a fee to attend the session, which went towards the Canadian Mental Health Association, a community organization that identifies and responds to Canada’s most pressing mental health priorities.

Meal service at St. Felix

Team NKPR supported the lunch program at the St. Felix Centre, a non-profit community centre in downtown Toronto that provides compassionate and safe services to marginalized communities who are experiencing homelessness, food insecurity and other complex challenges. The team assisted the centre’s staff in putting together the meals and serving them to the centre’s visitors and residents.

Animal Welfare

This team volunteered their time and raised funds for Happily Ever Esther, an animal sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates abandoned and abused farmed animals, and spreads Esther’s style of love and compassion. Funds collected went towards helping the farm rescue more animals, pay for treatment and medical supplies and maintain the farm. 

Fundraising for Ukrainian Refugees

This team partnered with Kidney Clothes, a charity that raises funds through the collection of used clothing. The amount collected from the sale and exchange of the clothing went towards the Canada Ukraine Foundation, an organization that coordinates, develops, organizes and delivers assistance to Ukrainian refugees.

REMEMBER, kindness doesn’t have to stop at just 20 hours! At NKPR, we want to ensure that we continue doing our part in giving back to the community, and in turn, encourage others to do the same, because kindness is the way forward to a braver and more benevolent world.

20 Hours of Kindness

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Social responsibility is at the core of our business, and we’ve always worked towards leaving the world a better place than I found it. Keeping this spirit alive, I am excited to announce the return of our 20 Hours of Kindness initiative! 

Back for its fifth year, 20 Hours of Kindness is an ongoing agency-wide initiative that aims to give back, foster a culture of kindness, empower team members to support a cause they are passionate about, and, in turn, inspire others to do the same. Taking place on July 21st, the initiative will have #TeamNKPR spend 20 consecutive hours giving back to the community at various locations around the GTHA.  This year the team will be supporting a selection of causes including the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Canadian Ukrainian Foundation, Dr. Roz’s Healing Place, Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, the St. Felix Centre, and The Dr. Borna Meisami Commemorative Foundation.

Dr. Roz’s Healing Place

NKPR is running a fundraiser for Dr. Roz’s Healing Place to support women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. With the proceeds donated, we will purchase items for those at the shelter that empowers and supports their wellness needs and will host a lunch for them on the 21st.

Please donate monetary funds to our GoFundMe or in-kind donations to our NKPR office at 312 Adelaide St. West. 
We are accepting items such as:

  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Hairbrushes
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrushes/toothpaste
  • Loofahs
  • Body wash
  • Chapstick

Please donate monetary funds to our GoFundMe or in-kind donations to our NKPR office at 312 Adelaide St. West

The Canadian Ukrainian Foundation

NKPR is running a clothing drive in partnership with Kidney Clothes to support Ukrainian Refugees. Kidney Clothes will trade NKPR’s clothing donations with Value Village for money which will be donated to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation. 

Please donate the following items to support our clothing drive with Kidney Clothes to raise funds for the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.
We will accept the following items:

  • All used clothing
  • Footwear and outerwear
  • Belts, ties and purses
  • Yarn, fabric and patterns
  • Blankets, bedding and linens
  • Draperies, pillows and cushions
  • Luggage and sleeping bags

Donations can be dropped off Monday July 18 – Thursday, July 21 during office hours (9am – 5pm)

The Canadian Mental Health Association

Join us for a mindful morning of yoga and meditation in support of CMHA, with the instructor, Dr. Meagan Maguire. After everything we have endured in the last 2+ years, mental health has never been more important. This year for 20 Hours of Kindness, the NKPR team is hosting a 1-hour yoga & meditation session on Thursday, July 21st from 7:30 am-8:30 am at the Toronto Music Garden.

Participation is $30 per person, and all donations are to be made through our fundraising page: https://cmha.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.personalCampaign&participantID=10363

Because one in five Canadians will experience a mental health issue in any given year. But five in five – all of us – have mental health, and we all need to take care of it.

What: Morning Yoga & Meditation Class

When: Thursday, July 21st from 7:30 am-8:30 am

Where: Toronto Music Garden (weather dependent)

Donation: $30 to attend the class (or as much as you would like to donate) 

Class sign up: https://forms.gle/do1NzeTk5rccaDJM6

Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary

NKPR will be raising funds for Happily Ever Esther, a farm sanctuary that rescues abused and neglected farm animals. Team NKPR will be spending the day volunteering at the farm and assisting as farmhands.

All donations are to be made through our fundraising page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-support-happily-ever-esther-farm-sanctuary

St. Felix Centre

Email vitoria@nkpr.net for information on how you get can be involved.

On July 21, the NKPR team will volunteer at St. Felix Centre, supporting with meal service at lunchtime. St. Felix Centre is a non-profit community centre dedicated to providing compassionate service and a safe, welcoming and respectful environment inclusive of all religions, genders, cultures and abilities. 

The Dr. Borna Meisami Commemorative Foundation

Through the Restoring Smiles initiative, they offer free dental and
oro-facial reconstructive services to women who have survived domestic violence. To date, Restoring Smiles has provided over $800,000.