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June 27, 2020

A group of people standing on the sidewalk next to a parking lot.
Dear ,

The data is clear. It’s neighbourhoods that are predominantly low-income that are bearing the brunt of this pandemic. As one journalist described it, COVID-19 is “rapidly engulfing an entire region but only devastating areas where race and class divisions are most pronounced.”

This is the very reason we continue to invest your generous support in the places where it’s needed most, listening to the voices of residents and local leaders to identify needs and create change.

Thanks to the support of people like you, we can continue to make these data-driven investments as our communities begin their recovery. We will prioritize the people and places who need help the most, while looking at the larger systemic issues that are deepening the divide between people who are doing well and those who are struggling.

Together, we will transform the place we live into a home where everyone belongs and has what they need, not just to survive, but to thrive.

Always, and only, thank you.

Daniele Zanotti signature
Daniele Zanotti
President & CEO



Since March, United Way Greater Toronto has approved more than $2.1 million in emergency funding to 198 projects across the GTA, including rapid response initiatives in the communities most impacted by COVID-19:
  • Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women – New funding will purchase used laptops to enable young mothers, seniors and newcomer students in Black Creek and Humber Summit to access supports online.

  • Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre – New funding will support neighbourhood leaders in assisting 1,500-2,500 residents across five buildings with crisis response, including food hampers.

  • TNO - The Neighbourhood Organization – New funding will deliver 1,000 culturally appropriate food hampers to isolated seniors in Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park and St. James Town.


As a result of a partnership between the City of Toronto and a number of community organizations, including United Way, more than 2 million meals have been provided to people and families made vulnerable by the pandemic. The Food Security Table, which consists of city staff and representatives from United Way, Daily Bread Food Bank, FoodShare Toronto, North York Harvest Food Bank, Second Harvest, Red Cross, Toronto Public Library and The Salvation Army, continues to meet regularly to discuss food access gaps in the community and how they can be filled.


I am pleased to share our 2019-2020 Annual Report with you, which highlights the need, now more than ever, for a united way through these challenging times. We hope you’ll take the time to learn more about how you, along with thousands of other caring individuals across the GTA, are helping to keep our community strong and connected.


  Exterior of the Native Child and Family Services of Toronto building.

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, a United Way-supported agency, is offering an innovative way for the children it serves to spend some much-needed time outside while still adhering to social distancing guidelines. Staff from the agency will be piloting a program in Toronto parks that offers wellness checks for children as well as programming that boosts kids’ physical and mental health during this period of isolation.


  Screenshot of people on the AGM Zoom call.

More than 400 people attended our first-ever virtual Annual General Meeting on June 23. Didn’t get a chance to join us? You can watch a recording of the meeting, featuring an engaging panel discussion with the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and MP, York South-Weston; Toyo Ajibolade, Executive Director, Lady Ballers Camp and Beth Wilson, CEO, Dentons Canada LLP.



  A collection of baby items, including diapers and a bottle.

Opportunity: DIY baby essentials kit

Our do-it-yourself guide offers fun, creative ways for you to give back. This week, we’re highlighting the DIY baby essentials kit. Baby essentials are one of the biggest needs for mothers and families experiencing poverty. By assembling and donating one of these kits, you can help relieve some of the stress of this challenging time. We’ll provide you with a list of supplies, instructions on how to assemble the kits and directions on how to donate them to a United Way agency in your community.

To learn more about this activity—and other ways you can give back from home—download our guide.



  • This Toronto engineer started his own non-profit during the pandemic to co-ordinate and deliver food donations to people in need. He’s inspired local businesses to get involved, partnering with one company to get 4,000 pounds of food to local shelters.

  • The Local, a United Way-supported online publication, has dedicated their new issue to exploring how COVID-19 has played out in different communities across the city. The pieces tell the story of the pandemic’s first hundred days, including how divisions and inequities have only grown more apparent during the crisis.
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