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United Way Greater Toronto Announces over $415,000 in grants to support African Resettlement

42 organizations across Peel, Toronto and York have received grants as part of the African Resettlement Emergency Fund announced on August 9.

September 13, 2023 (Toronto, ON) – With a complex and growing human tragedy unfolding across the Greater Toronto Area, United Way Greater Toronto identified the need to get resources into the hands of community leaders proving supports and programming as quickly as possible.

Today at the Victoria Park Community Hub, United Way Greater Toronto announced over $415,000 in disbursements of the African Resettlement Emergency Fund to 42 organizations, ensuring programs and services benefiting refugee claimants have necessary resources to meet rising urgent needs and begin the steps for sustainable resettlement. The announcement took place alongside the hub’s Wellness Wednesday — a program formed in response to the growing refugee crisis that provides a variety of day programming and wrap around supports to refugee claimant African women.

The 42 organizations – many of them Black-led, -focused and -serving – were quick to rally around refugees and asylum seekers this summer. These grants will help stabilize a community sector already taking action to support the region’s newcomers with programs including Wellness Wednesday, a weekly drop-in program supported and run by – Sesheme Foundation, Working Women Community Centre, Eva’s and CAFCAN – to help recently arrive African women map out a path forward to self-sufficiency. Every Wednesday, the program offers decompression and quiet space, healthy meals, volunteer services, safe food handling training, wellness workshops, community tours, health walks, onsite laundry, and much more.

United Way Greater Toronto fund supports a wide range of programming including access to culturally appropriate food, housing access, and health-based support. Other grant recipients include the Peel Multicultural Council and their program to improve refugee wellbeing, The Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Drop-in Centre providing “Hotels, Housing and Hope”, the Kenyan Canadian Association’s Emergency Food Support for Asylum Seekers from East Africa and ANCHOR Canada’s refugee Assistance Program which has been working with refugee claimants in York Region.

United Way Greater Toronto announced the establishment of the African Resettlement Emergency Fund on August 9, with an initial contribution of $250,000, to support these efforts and to galvanize the philanthropic community into quick action. In the month following the fund’s launch, The WES Mariam Assefa Fund made a remarkable $100,000 contribution, providing much-needed additional support and demonstrating leadership in addressing the crisis.

We are seeing a complex and growing human tragedy across Peel, Toronto and York Region. The African Resettlement Emergency Fund is United Way Greater Toronto rising to meet a moment of need. Since announcing the fund last month we’ve moved quickly to ensure resources were directed to a strong, coordinated community network working to deliver support and programming. If the GTA is going to be a welcoming place for all, we know that this will be only the first step to stabilize what is becoming a significant regional issue.

Daniele Zanotti, President and CEO of United Way Greater Toronto

United Way Greater Toronto is responding to a major crisis unfolding in Toronto and the GTA, ensuring that asylum seekers can access essential services, opportunities, and resources. The WES Mariam Assefa Fund is proud to support the African Resettlement Fund as it aligns with our goals of ensuring immigrants and refugees can access equitable opportunity, and that we can shift power and funding to organizations that are led by people from immigrant and Black communities themselves.

Marina Nuri, Director of Canada Programs and Strategy, WES Mariam Assefa Fund

Sesheme Foundation is honoured to support our African sisters seeking a safe new start here in Toronto. The housing crisis they are currently navigating is a setback, but these ladies are determined not to be held back. Through Wellness Wednesdays they are not just refugees and asylum seekers, they are daughters, friends, sisters, and mothers skilled in many ways. Here we can speak openly about what’s next, celebrate their womanhood and share the resources needed to start life a fresh. We are grateful to the partners who have jumped in to support over the last 4 weeks and we are deeply appreciative of the United Way’s Support to continue supporting our sisters over the next 12 weeks.

Annik Pierre, Sesheme Foundation

We are very grateful for the support and leadership of Aramark Canada which has donated food and supplies for Wellness Wednesdays and rallied many of their vendors to also join with them in bringing assistance to the women we are assisting such as Bento Sushi who is providing lunch today.

Vanda Henriques, Senior Programs Manager Working Women Community Centre

Agency Name (legal name)Project/Initiative Name
Bethel Outreach community ServicesCulturally Appropriate African Food
Peel Multicultural CouncilAssisting African Refugee Claimants and Asylum Seeker
TAIBU Community Health CentreWelcoming Embrace
Shelley Cares FoundationSCF – African Resettlement
ANCHOR CanadaANCHOR Refugee Assistance Program (ARAP)
Christie Ossington Neighbourhood CentreFood Sustainability for African Refugees
Christie Refugee Welcome Centre Inc.Providing Basic Needs Items to Refugee Claimant Families
La Passerelle – Integration et Development Economiquesoutien aux refugiés africains
Sistering-A Woman’s PlaceSistering – Welcome
Ethiopian association in the GTA and surrounding regionsRefugee Claimants Crisis Response Project in the Greater Toronto Area
Centre for Black development options- CanadaProject give back
Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community ServicesAmong Friends
African Community Services of PeelEmergency Support for African Refugees Initiative
New Circles Community ServicesNew Circles: Empowering and Supporting African Resettlement
Miracle Arena For All NationsShelter, Clothe, Feed (SCF Program)
The Salvation Army Family Life Resource CentreBasic Needs for African Refugees
African In Partnership Against AIDSAfrican, Caribbean and Black (ACB) Newcomer Engagement
Ghanaian-Canadian Association of OntarioAfrican Refugee Resettlement in Ontario
Abode Community Service CentreImprove African Refugee Wellbeing
Polycultural Immigrant and Community ServicesAfrican Refugees Emergency Project
Toronto People with AIDS FoundationHIV Positive African Refugees Resettlement Project.
The Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Drop In CentreHotels, Housing & Hope
Agincourt Community Services Association (ASCA)Refugee Resettlement Rapid Response Program
African Canadian Social Development CouncilAfrican Transcontinental Refugee Emergency Coping Strategies
Christian Centre ChurchAfrican Refuge Care Program
Mississauga Seventh-Day Adventist ChurchTender Mercies
Malton Neighbourhood ServicesThe African Settlement Program
Kenyan Canadian AssociationEmergency Food Support for Asylum Seekers from East Africa
Caribbean African Canadian Social ServicesOur People’s Keeper, Too
Moyo Health and Community ServicesSupport and Care
Sesheme FoundationWellness Wednesdays for African Women for Newcomer Women
COSTI Immigrant ServicesCARE
Centre francophone du Grand TorontoSupports to African refugee claimants and asylum seekers
Street Haven at the CrossroadsWomen Supporting Women
Collaborative Initiative
Pilgrim’s Feast TabernacleMargaret’s Community Housing and Support Services
African Centre for RefugeesRwandan Canadian Healing Centre
FCJ Refugee CentreDominion Church International
Black Creek Community Health CentreRevival Tabernacle – The Beautiful Foundation

Media contact: 

Joshua McLarnon
Director of 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.  

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