ST was born the day after Labour Day 1980. Steve Thomas left the Ontario New Democratic Party to found Stephen Thomas Associates Consulting Ltd, as the firm was known for many years. The first two clients were the Ontario NDP and the Federal NDP.
Other clients came along quickly – Amnesty International, Energy Probe and United Way Toronto. Steve spent the first year alone working in his basement and then moved to a small office in Toronto’s Beaches area where he was joined by co-founder Mary Attfield. Over the years, there have been six other offices – including one in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver.
It quickly became evident that we were a true agency — not modelled after those in the commercial world, but after pioneering ones in the US. Roger Craver and Mal Warwick had already founded successful direct response fundraising agencies. Stephen Thomas Associates Consulting Ltd became Canada’s first.
Today, we are Stephen Thomas Ltd (ST). Since our founding, we have diversified beyond direct mail to become a fully integrated, full-service fundraising and marketing agency offering Strategy, Digital, Digitally-integrated TV and online video, Branding, and data analytics.
Over forty years, we have partnered with hundreds of remarkable non-profit organizations and charities, including (but not limited to) the Red Cross, Canadian Cancer Society, TVOntario, Greenpeace, the Canadian Olympic Foundation, Doctors without Borders, Easter Seals, World Vision Canada, University of Toronto, the Alzheimer Society of Canada and Ontario, Children’s Wish Foundation (now Make-A-Wish) and many others. In the US we’ve partnered with PBS, Susan G Komen and Children’s Defence Fund, to name just three. In Australia, we worked with Surf Lifesaving for years. We are also proud to have helped put two clients out of business – Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain and the Canadian Coalition Against Death Penalty. Their missions were achieved!
The COVID-19 crisis has brought new challenges, both for us as an agency and for our client partners, but at least temporarily, Steve Thomas is back working in his basement still helping charities raise more money.