Luke Anderson established the StopGap Foundation, whose main focus is the Ramp Project, a volunteer-run campaign that creates awareness about barriers in the built environment.
Luke was a gifted athlete, he was passionate about seeking adventure in the great outdoors and loved working with his hands. He graduated from university with an engineering degree, was following his dream living in the mountains with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts and working as a home builder.
In the fall of 2002, Luke and a friend were riding down a tricky trail and came upon a 25ft gap. Luke was determined to give it a try as well. He made sure he was in the right gear, gripped the handlebars tightly, pushed down hard on the pedals, left the takeoff platform, and his life as he knew it. In that moment Luke went from being a physically independent person to someone who must now depend on others for help. In that instant he entered a world that was no longer completely accessible to him. This frustration is what led to the StopGap Foundation.
The StopGap Foundation was registered as a charitable organization in October 2013 but it’s roots date back to the fall of 2011. StopGap’s first project to increase awareness was the launch of the first Community Ramp Project in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood. Through material donated by local hardware stores and volunteer labour, the Community Ramp Project provided a deployable ramp at no cost to 12 businesses in the area. Building ramps for single-step storefronts began as an initiative to raise awareness about barriers in our built environment.
StopGap’s lightweight plywood ramps were painted in bright colours to attract attention. It became clear from the incredibly positive outcome of the first Community Ramp Project that similar projects could be launched in different communities across the GTA. It also proved to have huge potential in raising awareness about accessibility on a national scale.
Paul was excited to speak with Luke about the formation of the StopGap Foundation and find out what motivates this inspiring and innovative man. Check out Luke and StopGap online: stopgap.ca, Facebook.com/StoGapFoundation, Twitter @StopGapRamp and Instagram @StopGapFoundation.
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