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United Way investing in community

March 12, 2022 by United Way Greater Toronto

A group of program participants learning to compost in a community garden.

Recognizing and supporting the strong leaders who make our community more inclusive and vibrant.

Dear Friend,

For United Way and the rest of the social service sector, this pandemic has required real-time adaptation and partnership to meet escalating needs in innovative ways. And working towards an equitable recovery over the next few years will require no less: A network of local, connected and responsive frontline agencies helping to meet basic needs while continuing to improve systemic social conditions.

This is why I am so proud and pleased to announce our Community Program grants, a $72 million investment over the next 3 years in nearly 300 programs. Programs that will continue to fight poverty’s most persistent issues, including homelessness, food insecurity, unemployment and mental health. Investing in neighbourhoods in Toronto, Peel and York Region where poverty is spreading and stubborn. Strengthening relationships with organizations that serve Indigenous, Black and equity-deserving communities. Welcoming over 43 new agencies like ENAGB Indigenous Youth AgencyRoots Community Services, and the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians.

These grants complement our five-year core support for anchor agencies, as well as various rapid response grants for emergency support.

Thanks to the community volunteers and staff who carefully reviewed the overwhelming number of applicants – with requests totalling triple the funding envelope, in fact. Thanks to donors like you who stand with us and with community. And thanks to our partners who day after day serve heroically on the frontline of the pandemic. And to those who will stand with us on the road to an equitable recovery: the local, connected, responsive network of agencies our beloved GTA needs today.

Always, and only, thank you.

Daniele Zanotti
President & CEO
United Way Greater Toronto

Things to Know Right Now

Official Banner for Black Mental Health week, showing silhouetted faces and trees

Black Mental Health Awareness Week

Many places, many faces, building together. That was the theme for this year’s Black Mental Health Week, held March 7-11. In March 2020, United Way-funded TAIBU Community Health Centre and the City of Toronto hosted the inaugural Black Mental Health Day to demand an end to 400 years of oppression and raise awareness about the continuing mental health impacts of systemic anti-Black racism. This year, the day was expanded to a week full of events and resources, and was further supported by two other United Way-funded agencies: Tropicana Community Services and Strides Toronto.

Seniors support and elder abuse

Over the course of the pandemic, elder abuse has become a prominent and growing problem. In response, United Way-supported CHATS has developed a virtual education series to unpack what abuse looks like, from mental health to financial abuse. For many years, CHATS has run wellness and adult day programs that provide activities for seniors and respite for caregivers.

Annually, United Way funds over 25 programs for seniors. And during the pandemic we directed emergency funding, including the Government of Canada’s New Horizons fund, to meet seniors’ needs, from food delivery and social visits to online programming and activity kits. Through the Allan Slaight Seniors Fund, we are also funding organizations that serve vulnerable seniors.

Local Love in Action

Banner reading 'United Way Local Leaders: Thank you for standing united with community.'

Local Leaders

We are honoured to share with you United Way Greater Toronto’s 2022 Local Leaders List! It is our special way of recognizing the amazing workplaces across our region that stepped up for United Way’s 2021 Community Recovery Campaign. Thank you to every volunteer, donor, and champion for standing with us to ensure that our communities, friends, and neighbours continue to receive the support they need to recover from the pandemic and its long-lasting impacts.

Congratulations to everyone on the list and our deepest appreciation for your continued support.

Update from the Frontlines

Photo of a young woman making an ‘x’ with her arms

On March 8, United Way joined millions of people across the GTA and beyond to mark International Women’s Day, celebrating and raising the voices of women: mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. Leaders who make our communities better. Who carry the weight of the world on their shoulders and open up spaces so other women can thrive. At the same time, this year’s theme, #BreakTheBias, shone a light on structural inequities, calling for fair wages, equal opportunities, and safe living and working conditions.

For many years, United Way-funded WoodGreen Community Services has helped single mothers who are homeless or inadequately housed to earn college diplomas, start careers and achieve financial stability. This International Women’s Day, Woodgreen celebrated women like Naomi, who attended their program and changed their lives.

Get Involved

A man wearing a mask writes on a whiteboard as a woman wearing a mask watches

Leading Social Justice Fellowship 2022

The pandemic, systemic racism, and climate change have disproportionately impacted those made vulnerable by systemic barriers in our communities. This moment calls for courage and a different kind of leadership. The Leading Social Justice Fellowship, co-created by United Way Greater Toronto and University of Toronto’s School of Cities, is an innovative leadership development program for individuals from the public, private, and community sectors who want to rebuild an equitable and inclusive city. If you are passionate about putting social justice at the centre of your approach to leadership, this fellowship is for you. Learn more here.

Photograph of seven women, smiling at the camera. The banner reads 'United Way: Women United'

Women United

On International Women’s Day and throughout the year, United Way’s Women United helps women build strong, independent lives by supporting local services and programs that provide access to shelter, housing, childcare, employment, and safety for women-identified individuals. Learn more about Women United and how you can get involved today.

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