We’re on track to hit our 2022 Community Campaign goal, ensuring GTA women can continue to access critical services
Just a few days ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re on track to meet our 2022 Community Campaign goal of $110 million. That means more sustained funding for women and children fleeing violence at home. It means funding for organizations with employment supports for women, who consistently face gender wage gaps, disproportionate and unpaid family work, precarious employment, and expensive childcare. It means funding for programs that empower girls to reach their full potential. And it means funding supports for all the unique ways in which women may experience settlement, homelessness, and mental health challenges.
As we celebrate this day, we reflect on this year’s theme, #EmbraceEquity. Lori Galway, our Director of Public Affairs who supports our policy work, presents a great starting point, reminding us that “thinking about equity through the lens of gender requires openness, thoughtfulness, commitment, and courage to value distinct histories of women that are informed by class, race, gender identity, abilities, cultural values, religion.”
With that in mind, we reached out to five partners and received recommendations as diverse as the experiences represented, all of which can be viewed on our blog – everything from urging employers not to judge resume gaps filled with rich life experience; to ensuring our boards and workplaces are truly diverse; and implementing mobile services for women experiencing domestic violence, abuse or human trafficking.
I’m so grateful to learn from leaders in our sector who are passionate about improving the lives of women, girls and families in their communities. And I’m grateful to you, for all the ways you may have contributed to our successful 2022 Community Campaign, which allows us to partner with such incredible organizations making the GTA a more equitable and supportive home for all women.
Always, and only, thank you.
President & CEO
United Way Greater Toronto
Things to Know Right Now
Renewed Anchor Agency Funding
United Way is so proud and honoured to be renewing our five-year funding commitments of $33 million to 65 local anchor agencies, which deliver 208 programs across Peel, Toronto and York Region to fight local poverty. This long-term flexible funding, made possible by donors like you, means agencies can pivot quickly to respond to evolving needs and unexpected crises, such as the pandemic, or an influx of refugees, or record-high inflation. “Five-year flexible Anchor agency funding helps our organization plan for the future,” says Maureen Fair, Executive Director of West Neighbourhood House. “It helps us move out of response mode, and into prevention – getting at the root causes of poverty – so we can stop further harms from happening to people. We want to end the need for help.” And as Utcha Sawyers, CEO of BGC East Scarborough put it, “together we can navigate the complexities of the existing and emerging demands of the community, bringing local voices to the table. This flexibility ensures resources are allocated in the way that will most benefit the community, in the moment of need.”
Celebrating Local Leaders
Here at United Way, we depend on support from community to fight local poverty, which is why we’re celebrating organizations across the GTA that are leading the way with the 2023 United Way Greater Toronto Local Leaders list. These organizations have shown tremendous leadership, generosity and dedication, fundraising to support residents with housing, mental health and food security, all amidst high inflation and a cost-of-living crisis. Because of their commitment to our 2022 Community Campaign, we can continue to build stronger, healthier and more equitable communities for all.
A new report examines the health of Torontonians post-pandemic, highlighting growing food insecurity, unaffordable housing, worsening mental health, and persistent health inequities, especially amongst people from marginalized communities. The report shows a serious need for services, interventions and government funding, but with several months to go before a new mayor is elected, advocates worry these concerns won’t be addressed with the urgency required. As Torontonians prepare to elect a new mayor on June 26, we encourage you to think about the issues that impact members of our community who face social and economic vulnerabilities. Find more details in our Municipal Election Checklist from last fall.
Affordable Community Spaces
Many organizations that provide supports to address poverty are facing challenges caused by the same trends driving increased demand for their services, and they are being pushed out of the neighbourhoods they serve by skyrocketing real estate prices and redevelopment, according to a new survey from the United Way-funded Social Purpose Real Estate Reference Group. The survey shows organizations depend on subsidies, discounts or free space, and makes recommendations for how government and community organizations can partner to make affordable space available.
Update from the Frontlines
As the provincial government prepares to release their 2023 budget on March 23, the need to address mounting social issues becomes more urgent as economic uncertainty puts increasing pressure on Ontarians. These critical issues must be addressed equitably and effectively with smart investments that will bring lasting solutions. “We find ourselves in a critical moment for changing the course of poverty and housing affordability. There is an opportunity to reverse trends and address systemic barriers against marginalized and racialized communities,” said our President and CEO Daniele Zanotti. That’s why we partnered with United Ways across the province to present four recommendations in a pre-budget submission to build the foundation for equitable prosperity in Ontario.
The need for affordable and accessible housing in the GTA is growing. For Cat, who lives in a subsidized apartment with the support of United Way-funded Madison Community Services, the lack of affordable housing for people in need is not acceptable. “We are a country that has resources and yet we still have people who are homeless,” she said. “This shouldn’t be the fate of somebody who has a disability or struggles with their mental health. Nobody should start at zero. I believe everybody should have shelter.” Affordable housing projects like the proposed five-tower development in North York are needed to provide access to housing for those in need. Spotlight Development has partnered with non-profits like United Way-funded WoodGreen Community Services and others to manage and deliver units there to marginalized groups.
International Women’s Day is a day to recognize challenges faced by women, promote gender equity, and celebrate women’s achievements. Many United Way-funded organizations are finding ways to participate throughout March:
- North York Women’s Shelter is launching an advocacy kit to help fight gender-based violence
- Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic is hosting a on the role of public legal education in addressing and preventing gender-based violence, March 7
- Malton Neighbourhood Services is holding an International Women’s Day event, March 8
- Sandgate Women’s Shelter of York Region is co-hosting a celebration for International Women’s Day, March 8
- NewRoads is hosting their annual Girls Night Out event in support of Girls Inc. of York Region, March 8
- Punjabi Community Health Services is holding their annual International Women’s Day event, March 24
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