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May 23, 2020

A senior woman smiles while looking at a phone held by a person wearing a mask.
Dear ,

What gives you hope? It’s a question I regularly ask members of our community during our ongoing webinar series. Because with everything going on in the world these days, sometimes it can be hard to see the silver linings.

There are so many stories of hope, resilience, grit and determination in community during these difficult times. Stories about seniors who are connecting on Zoom calls. Stories about people calling agencies to volunteer their time. Stories of frontline social service workers who continue to show remarkable bravery and kindness on the frontlines of our community response to COVID-19.

Our network of 270 GTA-wide agencies is filled with social workers who check in on your elderly neighbour. Shelter staff who make sure people have food to eat. Case workers who help keep families together. We owe these heroes a debt of gratitude, not only for their emergency support, but for the significant amount of work that lies ahead as we look to recovering, and rebuilding.

Why do I remain so hopeful about our future? Because of community heroes like these on the frontlines. Because of your support. Because, when this is all over, we’ll emerge stronger, more resilient and more connected.

Always, and only, thank you.

Daniele Zanotti signature
Daniele Zanotti
President & CEO


  Laptop computer with the message “Let’s come together with community” on the screen.

Please join us at our virtual Annual General Meeting on June 23. We’ll look back at what we accomplished together last year and share how we’re working together to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t evolve from a health pandemic into a poverty pandemic.

And don’t forget to RSVP to our virtual community town halls for Peel and York Region. These 90-minute events are a great opportunity to ask questions and share your insights with the community.



    We’re proud to work with Employment and Social Development Canada and United Way Centraide to distribute the GTA portion of the Emergency Community Support Fund. Applications for funding opened on May 21, and through this partnership we’ll administer $11 million of funding for community organizations serving vulnerable populations during COVID-19. Contracts have also started for 52 emergency programs funded by the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors program.

    To date, we’ve invested nearly $1.9 million in one-time, emergency funds to support the urgent needs of 100,000+ vulnerable people through 172 programs. See a list of the funded agencies and programs.


  When it comes to facilitating systems-level change, United Way is the leading convener and connector in the sector. Here’s an example of the kind of transformative change your local love makes possible:

Volunteers carry greeen reusable bags filled with supplies.


The need for community volunteers has never been greater. That’s why United Way-supported agency Volunteer Toronto has teamed up with several organizations to increase capacity to recruit, screen and train additional volunteers. This team will develop and deliver training resources to volunteer managers and grassroots organizations to safely engage volunteers and adapt program offerings. Expected outcomes include:
  • 10,000: Up to a maximum of 10,000 volunteers will be screened and placed in the GTA to assist with services during the COVID-19 pandemic between May 8 and December 31, 2020.

  • 1,000: non-profit professionals and grassroots leaders will receive training to safely engage volunteers during the crisis.


  Screen capture from a video conference, showing four participants' faces.

In our latest webinar, I was joined by frontline experts who shared first-hand accounts of how some of our community’s most vulnerable are coping during this crisis. This includes women facing domestic abuse, our Indigenous communities and those experiencing homelessness. I hope you’ll watch our recording of the webinar to learn more about how your generosity makes a difference.




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