Stand united with your community. Join United Way’s 2022 Community Campaign
I’m excited to announce that, just over a week ago, we kicked off United Way’s 2022 Community Campaign. This year we’re aiming to raise $110 million for community—an ambitious goal, but a necessary one.
One in four families in the GTA live in poverty. These are our neighbours, and they are feeling the impacts of rising inflation most heavily. They are forced to skip meals to make sure their kids have enough to eat. They are struggling to keep a roof over their heads as their bills get bigger and bigger. And they are trying to stay afloat despite living on low wages that aren’t keeping up with the cost of living.
They need their community to stand with them, united.
I’ve seen the incredible power we have when we work together, shoulder to shoulder, with our neighbours. That’s why I’m asking you to join United Way as we continue to meet basic needs—just like we did throughout the pandemic. Together, we will not just ensure people have enough to eat, safe shelter and good jobs, we’ll also address the root causes of poverty—precarious work, unaffordable housing, racism and discrimination—to make sure future generations don’t face the same challenges.
We need everyone who can to step up and work together to bring a future without poverty into focus. That’s why I’m asking you to please consider making a gift to United Way’s 2022 Community Campaign today. United, we will build a region that is everything it can be, for everyone who lives here.
Always, and only, thank you.
President & CEO
United Way Greater Toronto
Things to Know Right Now
Youth mental health
Janet McCrimmon, CEO of United Way-funded Strides Toronto, is raising the alarm about how an overstretched mental health care system for children and youth is struggling to provide critical supports to young people who need it. One of the main challenges is retaining and recruiting staff—McCrimmon notes that Strides’ team of counsellors and therapists is 20 per cent smaller than it should be to meet need. Staffing is an issue across the social services sector, one United Way is advocating for government to address. We’re pushing for stronger collaboration between government and social services, stable funding for community agencies, and agreements that include competitive wages to attract and retain skilled staff. Because a strong social service sector—including organizations supporting the mental health of children and youth—is essential to our community’s well-being.
Legislative win for Ontarians with disabilities
We were pleased to see a recent legislative win that promises greater financial independence for Ontarians with disabilities. You may have read the Toronto Star’s recent story about 19-year-old Maggie Hickey, who has Angelman syndrome. She was at risk of losing vital provincial funding as her family was not willing to comply with requirements they considered to be a threat to her autonomy. This legislative win illustrates the power of community collaboration to bring about progressive policy change, including advocacy from local organizations like Community Living Ontario. United Way supports close to 50 programs across Peel, Toronto and York Region that offer skills development and personal empowerment opportunities to enable people with disabilities to transition into independent living, including Community Living York South’s Community Support Program, which strives to empower people in directing their own lives.
Opportunity: GetUP 2022
You can help us build a better community in just 300 minutes! Get #UP4Community by doing 300 minutes of activity from Nov. 1-10. With each stride, stretch, jump, skip, dance step or pedal (how you move is up to you), you’ll be supporting your friends and neighbours who are experiencing poverty, homelessness, hunger and other related issues. They especially need your support right now—the rising cost of living and the lingering effects of the pandemic are pushing many into crisis.
Show your #LocalLove and get your heart pumping! Register by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 11 to save 25 per cent on your registration fee.
Opportunity: Community Conversations – Mental Health After COVID-19
We’ve seen the impacts the pandemic had on everyone’s well-being; now think about how the compounding challenges of poverty, food insecurity and unemployment can affect mental health. The solution? Holistic approaches that connect people to a wide range of support. Join us as we discuss how to get there. Reserve your spot today.
Update from the Frontlines
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Yesterday, Sept. 30, we recognized National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day. Here at United Way, our staff came together to honour the resilience, dignity and strength of survivors and intergenerational survivors, and remember the children who never came home. It was also an opportunity for us to reflect on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action and what we as an organization can do to ensure their completion. United Way is committed to using the principles of reconciliation and equity to eliminate systemic racism and discrimination from our work. This includes advancing Calls to Action that apply directly to our work by providing multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations such as The ENAGB Indigenous Youth Agency, establishing an Indigenous Partnership Council to help guide us in our work and ensuring equitable access to jobs, training and education within our own organization. But this work is far from over, and we will continue to strive to be better as we move along the path towards justice.
Local Love in Action
The Remix Project
Singer and songwriter Jessie Reyez recently sat down with the Toronto Star to talk about her newest album—and how her experience with United Way-supported The Remix Project helped her achieve her dream. The multiple Juno Award winner and Grammy nominee said that, “The Remix Project really altered my life and shifted everything. The thing that affected me most from there and had such a positive effect on me was them providing mentorship, because my whole life all these dreams seemed so far away.”
We’re thrilled to see Jessie share her experience with this remarkable project, which continues to connect youth from under-served communities to training, mentorship and other supports as they develop their artistic identities. We’re sure we’ll be hearing from more of its alums in the future!