Looking back at all we accomplished last year—and looking forward to all we’ll accomplish in the years ahead
Tutt’ ‘ndrechat. One of my favourite Italian sayings, in the Abruzzo dialect. It means everybody entwined, weaved, tangled, interwoven—like a bowl of spaghetti. Nobody does tutt’ ‘ndrechat like United Way. And that’s thanks to you. We have been a network of giving since 1956—founded and funded by business and activists and agencies and labour. Every donor dollar, every corporate or labour gift, every event, coming together in a common cause of caring.
Because decades of research, now tested and proven during the COVID pandemic, show that a connected, collaborating, coordinating network of frontline agencies responds to crisis faster, recovers from crisis stronger and has the potential to rebuild better for all.
If you joined our Annual General Meeting last Thursday, I trust you were moved and energized by our guests who are part of that cause, who shared their passion for transforming our region together from wherever they stand, whether it’s by ensuring community voices are at the forefront, or whether it’s by pushing established institutions towards housing solutions for all. Trust you were also awed by the announcement that long-time United Way supporter Donald K. Johnson has made an incredibly generous $10-million commitment over the next 10 years as a match donor.
That type of interconnectivity is highlighted throughout our newly released Annual Report, which showcases the breadth and depth of work that was made possible last year with your support, as well as the work you’re continuing to make possible this year and in the years to come.
As a donor, volunteer or community champion, tutt’ ‘ndrechat is how we will usher in much-needed change—and build it to last. Thank you for helping to shape the GTA into the home we all deserve.
Always, and only, thank you.
President & CEO
United Way Greater Toronto
We invite you to read our 2021-2022 Annual Report, providing a glimpse of the impact we made last year across Peel, Toronto and York Region, thanks to your support. That includes:
1,100+ community and emergency programs delivered
2 million+ people supported through United Way-funded programs and services
$99.2 million invested in community through funding, community services and program support
100,000+ donors helping to fight poverty in our region
Emergency Funds: In times of crisis, we stepped up with emergency funds, including $1.2 million in COVID-19 Relief Grants to support more than 125 programs. These projects—many culturally specific—allocated resources to the people and places with the greatest need.
Program grants: We directed more funding to agencies that serve equity-deserving groups, including Indigenous-led and Black-led organizations.
Housing: Shovels are in the ground and new modular housing is around the corner, cementing an innovative approach to integrating health and community care. Beyond affordable housing, the Social Medicine Initiative will offer supportive housing for people dealing with poverty and homelessness, as well as health issues and mental illness.
Employment: We are bringing residents, community agencies, corporate Canada and municipal government to the table, as our Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity initiative maps out new opportunities in Scarborough’s Greater Golden Mile. Five forward-looking pilots, a commitment to social procurement and tailored supports for aspiring entrepreneurs are all part of the mix, which makes this approach anything but business as usual.
One theme rang loud and clear throughout our 66th Annual General Meeting last Thursday, and it was best expressed by one of our guest speakers, Angela Robertson, Executive Director of Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre: “We must address need, but we also need to have our eyes set on those systemic changes that are further ahead.”
How do we do this? By sustaining a critical social safety net while working to dismantle the structural inequities that fuel poverty. We do this through research and advocacy. We do this through innovation and partnership with government, the private sector, visionary philanthropists and other leaders and allies across sectors.
Five such leaders, including Robertson, joined us at our AGM to share what this looks like in practice. They dug into the housing crisis and shared three important tactics they’re using to address this and other pressing issues in our region.
Collaborating: Lisa Williams, Senior Vice President of Strategy at CMHC, described how they rely on significant collaboration with organizations like United Way and local agencies to move towards a particularly bold aspiration: to help every Canadian have a home they could afford and that met their needs by 2030.
Letting community lead: Mercedes Sharpe Zayas, Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre Planning Coordinator involved with the Social Medicine Initiative, emphasized the need to forefront marginalized community voices at every turn. “An important part of systems-level collaboration is understanding the power dynamics at play…. It’s the role of funders to listen to ideas brought forward by the community.”
Focusing on social justice: Multiple speakers pointed to the importance of working social justice frameworks directly into the services, supports and growth of programs. They noted the role discrimination plays on Black and Indigenous communities in housing programs and in the shelter system, and how discrimination and homophobia leave many young people unhoused, turned away from family after coming out.
You can watch conversations with Embrave’s Sharon Floyd and 360°kids’ Clovis Grant below to learn more about how United Way-supported agencies are creating lasting change in our community.
Board of Trustees
We’re so pleased to welcome three new members on the Board of Trustees for 2022-2023 who are resolute in their 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. Under the leadership of Dr. Patricia O’Campo, the board will further position United Way Greater Toronto as a leader and innovator in the social services sector. We wholeheartedly thank Cheryl Craig, James Meadows, Elaine Walsh and Mark Wiseman for their many years of service on our Board and their deep impact on our work.