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June 13, 2020

A rainbow drawn in chalk on pavement.
Dear ,

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been bringing you updates on our community response to COVID-19. This week, in addition to telling you about our work on the frontlines, I also want to take this important opportunity to recognize, celebrate and amplify the contributions and voices of our many friends and neighbours across the GTA.

I couldn’t be more honoured to shine a light on the extraordinary contributions of the “invisible heroes” of the community services sector. These are the social workers, personal support workers and program managers (and many, many more) who are providing vital services to those who need them the most during this pandemic. Earlier this week, we partnered with the City of Toronto as Mayor John Tory officially recognized June 8-12 as Community Worker Recognition Week.

We also remain deeply committed to listening to our community members and learning from their diverse perspectives and lived experiences. This includes our Black Community Advisory Council, Black community members and staff. It also includes members of the GTA’s Indigenous and LGBTQ2S communities, who are celebrating National Indigenous History Month and Pride Month this June.

Always, and only, thank you.

Daniele Zanotti signature
Daniele Zanotti
President & CEO


  A laptop sitting on a desk showing a message that reads: Let’s come together with community.

Our virtual AGM is on June 23 and we’ll be joined by the following distinguished panellists: 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. There is still time to sign up to join us.




On June 4, more than 120 United Way staff members came together virtually for an emotional and, at times, painful conversation on systemic anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism in the GTA. As an organization, and individually, we remain deeply committed to our values of diversity, inclusion and equity. We are listening, learning and working towards a better future. This includes reflecting on the words of Kofi Hope, former executive director of United Way agency CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, who shared his powerful thoughts on how we need to seize this moment to create a real shift in how Canada relates to its Black communities.


We’re continuing our ongoing work administering federal Reaching Home investments in York Region. This work, part of Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, has taken on new urgency during the pandemic. Now, in close partnership with the Regional Municipality of York, the York Region Homelessness Community Advisory Board and the homelessness community table, we’ve committed more than $2.8 million in additional Reaching Home emergency funds to programs that address the impacts of COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness.


You may be used to us kicking off our annual campaign in the fall, but, as we are all fond of saying, these are “unprecedented times.” COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted people and families who are least able to bear its effects. And we are going to need your help now more than ever before. Our 2020 fundraising campaign is being co-chaired by Bharat Masrani, Group President and CEO of TD Bank Group and our Campaign Chair, and Joanna Rotenberg, Group Head, BMO Wealth Management, BMO Financial Group and our Major Individual Giving Cabinet Chair. Together, they are leading a group of dedicated volunteers to mobilize local love across the GTA. Our goal? To ensure our vital social safety net will continue to support those who need it most as we recover, and rebuild, from the pandemic.



Illustration of woman paddling in a canoe surrounded by flowers.

For National Indigenous History Month and Pride Month, we’ve put together a short list of resources for you to listen to and learn from members of the GTA’s Indigenous and LGBTQ2S communities: RUNNING A WORKPLACE CAMPAIGN?

Close up of a keyboard where one of the keys reads "Donate".

Do you run an employee giving campaign in your workplace? We’ve assembled a stellar collection of resources in our Campaign Toolkit to make your job easier. We've got you covered with everything from stories and videos to fundraising best practices.


Screenshot of United Way President & CEO speaking to the camera during his video update.

I recorded a special message of thanks to the incredible frontline community workers at 12 United Way-supported agencies who were recognized as part of Community Worker Recognition Week. You can read more about these amazing individuals, who are helping people stay housed, supporting children and teens and bringing vital services to our Indigenous community, on our blog.


  Screenshot from the Peel Town Hall showing the screens of some of the people who participated.

We had an incredible turnout for our first-ever virtual town hall for Peel Region on June 11. More than 240 community members, donors and agency staff joined us to talk about their local love in action across the GTA. Panellists included Sonia Pace, Director, Community Partnerships, The Regional Municipality of Peel; Sharon Floyd, Executive Director, Interim Place; and Blair Peberdy, Vice President, Government & Corporate Relations, Alectra Inc. Don’t worry, if you missed the event you can watch a recording below.




  • Paul Taylor, Executive Director of United Way-supported FoodShare, has penned a powerful (and personal) feature for Toronto Life on the links between race and food insecurity.

  • In my op-ed, I’m shouting out the tireless frontline pandemic response by our network of agencies and sharing how connected communities can recover faster from times of crisis.

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