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United Way Greater Toronto rallies to build a more equitable GTA

June 24, 2022 – At United Way Greater Toronto’s 66th AGM – attended by nearly 300 people yesterday morning – President and CEO Daniele Zanotti announced Donald K. Johnson has made a $10-million commitment as a match donor over the next ten years. Johnson, a long-time United Way supporter, has issued a challenge for other donors to match his gift of unrestricted funds to fuel UWGT’s work in the community. 

Zanotti continued the meeting by sharing the organization’s plan to build more inclusive and prosperous communities in recovery and beyond. The AGM and the organization’s just-released Annual Report highlights how stretched thin the social safety net in Peel, Toronto, and York regions is after the pandemic and with the growing crisis of affordability. 

“What will it take for us to collectively change the trajectory of neighbourhoods that are increasingly segregated by income and race?” asked Zanotti. “Covid-19 proved that United Way Greater Toronto’s collaborative and coordinating network of frontline agencies responds to crises faster, helps people recover from crises stronger, and has the potential to build our neighbourhoods for the better – for everyone.”  

In the Annual Report, the organization described how it mobilized quickly over the past year to meet the urgent needs of communities. United Way invested $99.2M through various funding streams, community services and program support; this included 700 community programs delivered by a network of nearly 300 agencies, and over 400 COVID emergency programs. Over 2 million residents relied on these programs and services.  

Zanotti emphasized how the organization has focused its attention on dismantling the structural inequities that fuel poverty and create deep opportunity gaps – gaps that widened during the pandemic. This work, directed by the organization’s Reconciliation and Equity Action Plan, involves deeper partnerships with Indigenous-, Black- and equity-led, focused and serving organizations in the creation of solutions. 

Zanotti further showcased UWGT’s leadership in tackling social issues by engaging leaders at the AGM: first talking with Lisa Williams, Senior Vice President, Strategy at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) about The National Housing Strategy; and then with Angela Robertson, Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre Executive Director, and Mercedes Sharpe Zayas, Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC) Planning Coordinator, about the Social Medicine Initiative, an innovative partnership to develop a first-of-its-kind supportive housing facility in Parkdale.  

Moving videos highlighted UWGT’s investments in community organizations providing much-needed support to hard-hit communities: Embrave Agency to End Violence in Peel Region, and 360°kids in York Region, agencies delivering critical supports to victims of gender-based violence and youth experiencing homelessness in York Region. 

The AGM also recognized the addition of three new members on the UWGT Board of Trustees who are resolute in its mission to fight local poverty: Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Senior Executive Vice-President and Group Head, Personal and Business Banking, Canada, at CIBC; Ziad Hindo, Chief Investment Officer at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; and Kurankye Sekyi-Otu, Chief Strategy Officer at Polar Asset Management Partners. United with other trustees continuing their term, and under the leadership of Dr. Patricia O’Campo, Chair of the Board of Trustees, the board will further position UWGT as a leader and innovator in the social services sector through their commitment to the mission.

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 today. 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.    


UWGT’s 2021/2022 Annual Report, “From here to there: bringing a future without poverty into focus”: 

UWGT’s Reconciliation and Equity Action Plan: 

Video highlighting Embrave Agency to End Violence in Peel Region: 

Video highlighting 360°kids, an agency delivering critical supports to homeless youth in York Region: 

Media contact: 

Lindsay Kwan
Manager, Communications, United Way Greater Toronto 
Tel. 416-732-9700 

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