Like many great ideas, the Branch Out Neurological Foundation started with a chat between friends over drinks. But Crystal Phillips and Graham Daw had no intention of leaving the idea at the bottom of a glass. The two young philanthropists founded the wonderful charity in November 2010 and haven’t looked back since.
Crystal Phillips, an athlete and MS sufferer had been a long time supporter of fundraising initiatives for Multiple Sclerosis. In June of 2010 she recruited Graham to participate on her team for the MS Bike Tour. Her team went on to raise a cumulative ~$250,000 over several years of participating in the tour.
Graham and Crystal, along with several friends went on to participate in the Highline 100 Bicycle Tour in Fernie, BC that summer.
Inspired by the selfless crew of the Highline 100, they decided that they would begin planning for their own bike tour the following year (at this point the date, location, and specific cause were yet to be determined, nor was there any mention of founding a charity).
As the planning went on over the next few months, Graham found out that his father had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, another degenerative neurological condition. Thus began the discussion to broaden the focus of the funds raised at the yet to be held (or named) Branch Out Bike Tour.
After several months of planning and meetings, and with the help of several volunteers along the way, the Branch Out Neurological Foundation was incorporated on November 23, 2010 and two years later were registered with the Canada Revenue Agency as a Registered Charitable Organization, effective December 1, 2012.
In just their first year, the Branch Out Foundation raised over $45,000 and in their 5th year, they hit their first Millionth dollar raised!! "We've created a monster!" as Crystal would say, with a smile from ear to ear.