June 22, 2023 (Toronto, ON) – This morning, following United Way Greater Toronto’s Annual and Special Meeting of Members, Lisa Gonsalves, an accomplished public sector professional with a 30-year career, was appointed as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees, to help lead the organization in accelerating its work to fight inequity and poverty in neighbourhoods across Peel, Toronto and York.
Lisa Gonsalves was the Vice Chair, Community Impact Committee since 2021, a Board Trustee for United Way Greater Toronto since 2015, and a Board Trustee for United Way York Region since 2012. Currently, she is the General Manager, Paramedic and Seniors Services with the Regional Municipality of York.
In her career, Lisa Gonsalves has led countless human services and policy initiatives, including overseeing community investment allocations, strategic social policy, research and analysis, the Region’s newcomer and seniors strategies, and the Inclusion Charter, which received international recognition from United Nations Institute for Training and Research.
At the AGM, Dr. Pat O’Campo, the outgoing Chair of UWGT, was thanked for her leadership over the past two years and for her service on the Board since 2011. She will remain as co-Chair of UWGT’s Indigenous Partnership Council. In this led by Indigenous people for Indigenous people initiative, O’Campo will support system-level initiatives that respond to the needs of urban Indigenous peoples in the region over the next three to five years.
O’Campo noted the organization’s financial commitments to three- and five-year funding as the hallmark of United Way Greater Toronto’s work to build capacity in the social services sector; this unique-to-United-Way model offers longer term flexible funding for programming and core operational support so that organizations can meaningfully move the needle on poverty.
Earlier this year, United Way Greater Toronto renewed five-year anchor funding to 60-plus foundational partners, a centre piece of strength and stability for the sector, while committing to making additional investments to Indigenous, Black and other structurally disadvantaged groups later this year.
These investments were outlined in UWGT’s 2022-2023 Annual Report released at the AGM. The interactive microsite highlighted the organization’s achievements in tackling both poverty and inequity through deep neighbourhood work through videos, maps, infographics and more.
At the meeting, UWGT’s also recognized advances in meeting its Reconciliation and Equity Action Plan goals of becoming a more equitable organization, fundraiser and funder to support more equitable outcomes in community. Advances included new funding approaches resulting in more than 25% of all funded agencies being led by, focused on and serving equity-seeking groups, and UWGT surpassing the 50-30 Challenge, an initiative that challenges organizations to increase representation of equity-seeking groups on boards and senior leadership positions.
Former Mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi provided an inspiring keynote speech to attendees before sharing the stage with UWGT CEO Daniele Zanotti for a virtual fireside chat. The two discussed how business, government and the social sectors can build an eco-system that is ready to tackle some of our biggest challenges, including affordable housing and building vibrant and inclusive communities.
Neighborhood-level innovations such the Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity (ILEO) Initiative’s five pilot programs in the Greater Golden Mile, and the Social Medicine Initiative, which is a modular housing project consisting of 51 units in Parkdale with comprehensive support services, were discussed by Nenshi and Zanotti as cross-sectoral, scalable solutions.
Daniele Zanotti underscored the critical role of cross-sector collaboration in creating inclusive communities—supportive environments that lift people out of poverty and provide the resources they need to thrive.
United, we can end poverty.
Learn more about UWGT’s Board of Trustees and Committees.
Read United Way Greater Toronto’s 2022-2023 Annual Report.
Watch the AGM recording, including Daniele Zanotti’s fireside chat with Naheed Nenshi on building inclusive communities.
Lisa Gonsalves, Chair of the Board of Trustees, United Way Greater Toronto
With so many issues impacting people today, taking on the role of Chair of the Board of Trustees at United Way Greater Toronto carries weight and responsibility. But I know that I’m far from alone. And that with the support and commitment of our dedicated Board, partners, and staff we are focused more than ever on working with community to create a more equitable Peel, Toronto, and York where everyone can thrive and prosper.
Daniele Zanotti, President and CEO of United Way Greater Toronto
United Way Greater Toronto is evolving, expanding and rising to the challenge of tackling inequity and poverty in Peel, Toronto and York. Lisa Gonsalves’ depth of experience and insight into the sector will be invaluable in her role as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Her leadership will help set the strategic course for 2023-2024, so that we live and breathe our mission at all levels of the organization and in all neighbourhoods in the GTA.
Manager, Communications, United Way Greater Toronto
About United Way: As the largest non-government funder of community services in the GTA, United Way Greater Toronto reinforces a crucial community safety net to support people living in poverty. United Way’s network of agencies and initiatives in neighbourhoods across Peel, Toronto and York Region works to ensure that everyone has access to the programs and services they need to thrive. Mobilizing community support, United Way’s work is rooted in ground-breaking research, strategic leadership, local advocacy and cross-sectoral partnerships committed to building a more equitable region and lasting solutions to the GTA’s greatest challenges.