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A Message from our President and CEO about our 21/22 investments

Agency workers and volunteers collecting food for donation.

Dear friends,

When too many in our community were dealing with the worst of circumstances in 2020, you showed us the GTA’s best — an unparalleled outpouring of care and generosity. Thank you.

Our network of agencies modelled the power of collaboration. This invisible, impactful social safety net, already positioned and prepared to support the people and places facing the greatest barriers, pivoted overnight: meeting increased demands, tackling perennial and new needs with innovative solutions that will change the way we work forever. Thank you.

Our donors — new and long-time supporters, individuals and corporations, labour, government and agencies — held virtual events, ran employee campaigns, made corporate gifts, gave generously and then gave again when we appealed for help in closing a stubborn 25% fundraising gap. Thank you.

Now we are faced with two realities. First, in the long road to recovery, United Way and our network of agencies must continue to respond to the pandemic, while blazing a trail forward. Second, we are forecasting a 10% gap in meeting our current community investments. While this is encouraging given where we were just months ago and the financial reality facing so many, it is a gap nevertheless. And recognition that fundraising challenges will remain with us through the foreseeable future and a recovering economy necessitates a more sustainable response than digging into our reserves, as we have.

That means that we must make some tough choices. We’ve reduced our own operational expenses and will continue to plan our future operations efficiently. In consultation with our sector and our Board of Directors, we have also made the difficult decision to adjust and reduce our investment portfolio by 10%.

We’ve been in close communication with our agencies throughout the pandemic. This week we met to map our way ahead – to ensure a network that can respond today and support people and neighbourhoods through recovery in the years to come. We are committed to supporting agencies through the transition and to minimizing impact on the sector.

We have extended most contracts through to March 31, 2022 to provide stability through the pandemic. We continue to offer flexible funding so our agencies can do what they do best: respond where need is greatest. We are maintaining funding to our community hubs, critical social infrastructure in neighbourhoods most impacted by poverty and COVID. We are maintaining our funding to Black and Indigenous focused agencies — a signal of our ongoing commitment to equity. Projects in partnership with our donors and communities that are already underway will continue as planned.

The road ahead is unknown, full of challenge, but also, we hope, of opportunity. We enter 2021, where we have always been — with community — and ready to address immediate needs and support an inclusive recovery across the GTA. To build back better in the face of greater economic uncertainty, increased inequality, and deeper poverty in a united way.

With partners like you, and your record outpouring of care, we are confident that this place we love will emerge stronger — for all.

Always and only, thank you.

— Daniele Zanotti, United Way Greater Toronto President & CEO

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