Our commitment to you

We work to ensure that your generous gift serves the highest purpose: creating belonging for everyone in our region, today and into the future.

In 2017, our total disbursements to the community were as follows:

Allocations to United Way of Greater Toronto agencies, partners and community services
Programs delivered by United Way of Greater Toronto
Programs and organizations supported by targeted funds
Donor designations to United Way of Greater Toronto agencies and partners
Donor designations to Other United Ways
Allocations, programs and needs assessment expenses
Donor designations to Other registered charities

Management discussion and analysis

The past year has seen United Way invest in sustaining our operational excellence as a crucial foundation for four major thrusts in our work: 1) our growth as a regional entity as a strategy to address the spread of social need across geographic boundaries, 2) an associated shift in our community investment strategy to confront deepening poverty and inequality, 3) a commitment to becoming an active partner in the Reconciliation journey with Indigenous Peoples as a response to the challenge of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as 4) a significant pivots in our individual and corporate engagement strategies to get ahead of shifting donor trends.


Confronting emerging challenges and capitalizing on the many opportunities ahead of us starts with a strong organization. Maintaining our reputation as a top-notch organization that delivers real value for the community and is a great place to work remained a topmost priority for United Way.

The merger between Toronto and York Region’s United Ways offered us a first step in establishing a regional platform to combat poverty. Ensuring we invested the time in integration of staff teams, coordination of efforts to sustain and grow our engagement with communities, as well as, learning how to maintain local relevance in an expanded geographic footprint was a daily commitment, starting with our executive team. Capitalizing on this learning, with the addition of Peel Region into this United Way partnership later in the year, has remained front and centre for our work.

A good test of how we are doing on our commitment to operational excellence was United Way Greater Toronto’s re-accreditation—for another five years—under Imagine Canada’s national Standards Program. We are proud to once again be recognized for our operational excellence in five areas: board governance, financial accountability and transparency, fundraising, staff management, and volunteer involvement.


In Fall 2017, The Opportunity Equation—groundbreaking research from United Way Toronto & York Region and its partners—confirmed that issues we face in Toronto and York Region are the same as those faced by neighbouring regions. The report confirmed the reality that we hear from our partners on the ground: poverty is deepening in some neighbourhoods—especially Toronto’s inner suburbs—while spreading to more parts of our region. From this, it was imperative that we become even more responsive—and effective—in fighting local poverty.

Our response was to announce our biggest-ever investment in community, tapping new partnerships that target people and places hardest hit by growing income inequality. United Way rebalanced our investments so that two thirds of our investments are directed to target areas in Toronto’s inner suburbs and York region where deepening poverty is met with a lack of social infrastructure.

A major pivot in how we support our community agency partners was a keystone of the new strategy. As outlined in our Strategic Plan four years ago, we set out to introduce a new approach to support initiatives in the community. This included a segmentation of our Community Services Strategy, to invite a new cohort of Anchor Agencies into a deeper relationship with United Way in terms of local impact, research and policy, as well as ramped up engagement of our supporters. We also launched a new program funding stream in 2018 with a greater line of sight to achieving impact in specific focus areas. The strategy opened the door to new programs in 2018 targeting populations facing greatest needs that received funding for the first time. This included 29 new agencies and 46 new programs.

As mentioned above, another step to fighting the spread of poverty across our region was to bring our efforts together across Peel, Toronto and York Region. Effective April 1, 2018, United Way Toronto & York Region and United Way Peel Region officially merged to become United Way Greater Toronto. By consolidating resources and focusing efforts, we are now working together with communities in Peel, Toronto and York Region, all toward a common goal.


A testament to our diversity and inclusion work, and just one example of our dedication to helping local populations, has been our movement’s response to recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. This journey of Indigenous Collaboration has become a central theme for our work to strengthen our capacity, partnerships and investment strategy. At United Way Greater Toronto, we have hired dedicated staff capacity to embed our commitment to Reconciliation in all that we do. We have held Indigenous “cultural competency training” sessions, reached out to new Indigenous partners, built new relationships, and made this journey a priority in our Business Plan.


The convergence of two major trends in giving and social impact spurred major new investments in our engagement strategy with United Way supporters.

First, we are part of a growing realization that the rapid pace and complexity of social and economic change require attention and responses that cross sectors and go beyond traditional roles between public, private and non-profit sectors. In the face or fundamental labour market changes, an ageing and increasingly diverse society, the growth of an opportunity gap, and the shared insight that these changes are inter-connected we recognize that impact in any one area has repercussions for everyone else. This means that every sector must collaborate in analysis, sense-making and dynamic solutions that borrow from the best insights and practices across sectors.

Second, digital platforms are the new reality of engagement and mobilization of communities who share interests and causes. Any organization that is committed to enabling citizens to be engaged in conversations and action about the causes they care about in their community must play in the digital space.

Joining up a need to think across sectors as well as the reality that more and more people engage with each other digitally has led us to invest in a major new venture. Partnering with United Way Worldwide and Salesforce, we have created a new, content-rich giving and engagement tool, Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud, aimed at leveraging new technology to strengthen our direct line of communication to supporters. Starting roll-out in 2018, this new platform will link citizens more closely to our work in fighting local poverty in all its forms.

In partnership with other United Ways across North America, this new tool holds big potential in strengthening citizen and workplace partnerships at the global, national, regional, and local levels.

Alongside this new venture, United Way has also invested in new ways to become more relevant to a variety of people in our community looking to roll up their sleeves for local impact. In April 2018, United Way Greater Toronto launched, an online magazine that links digital-savvy readers with easy ways to give back to the community. The site has seen overwhelming success, including support and contributions from notable Canadian journalists and influencers.

And further consolidating efforts in the region and across the country, United Way Greater Toronto’s Community Impact & Strategy and Marketing departments have been working to present the value of United Way and agencies in new and compelling ways—to increase brand relevancy on a large scale. In close collaboration with United Way Centraide Canada, we have helped to unify and are now leading United Ways from across Canada in a new national brand strategy—slated for launch in September 2018.

Offering a new, more engaging way to give and creating a more relevant brand are ways that we can inspire donors to our cause. With every effort, we are striving to make it easier for donors to see our stories and the value of our work in the community—and more likely to join our ever-expanding uprising of care.

Finance, audit and risk committee report

Governance and Financial Transparency

United Way has a strong, independent Finance, Audit and Risk Committee comprising of seven members. The committee meets annually, independent of management, with KPMG, United Way’s auditors.

The financial statements are consistent with Canadian accounting standards for not-for profit organizations and United Way Canada – Centraide Canada’s Transparency and Accountability Financial Standards, which were designed to ensure a consistent and high standard of financial reporting by all United Ways. They also meet the requirements of Imagine Canada’s Standards Program.

The Committee oversees the audit, budgets, investments, pension & benefits, and risk management on behalf of the Board of Trustees. Specifically, the Committee oversees the assets and financial operations for which the Board acts as Trustee and/or Administrator. The committee also oversees investing activities for The Tomorrow Fund™ (our endowment fund), unrestricted net assets and the assets for our employee pension plan.

In February 2006, United Way was named Trustee for the Province of Ontario’s Youth Challenge Fund (YCF). The YCF financial reports and activities are excluded from this report. As of April 1, 2017, a final set of audited financial statements will be produced for YCF once the remaining funds have been spent. These statements will be reviewed by the Committee for the United Way’s Board of Trustees, who oversees the terms and conditions of that Trustee responsibility. The statements are provided to the Province of Ontario.

Financial Highlights

United Way’s ability to invest in our community is strengthened by diversifying the source of funds. Individual, workplace, and corporate donors contribute to this financial health, as well as special events, grants, pro-bono support – from legal services to donated media advertising space. United Way’s financial strength and efficiency are due also to extraordinary support from our donors and supporters. Some highlights from the past year:

United Way’s Community Fund continues to be strong through generous donations and the recognition of United Way as the best place to invest in our communities. We raised $105 million in our 2017 campaign for our community—our biggest achievement yet.

Thanks to the campaign success, the strengthening of the investment markets last year and prudent fiscal management, we were able to maintain our commitment to our community partners while keeping our operating spending to a minimum.

Our Cost Revenue Ratio continues to be low at 16.9%. We maintain a strong focus on operational efficiency and our diligence is reflected in the cost ratio.

Due to the success of our 2017 Campaign and prudent fiscal management, our Unrestricted Net Assets is healthy at $16 million. This amount will be distributed to our agencies over the course of the next year.

Our endowment fund, The Tomorrow Fund, has a net balance of $80 million—thanks to the generosity and vision of donors who are investing in our region. The monies in The Tomorrow Fund are either externally or internally restricted for investment in the community. United Way continues to meet and exceed its CRA distribution quota.

2017-2018 results and recent trends:

Fiscal Year 2017-2018 2016-2017 2015-2016
Total gifts $131,982,000 $132,001,000 $131,535,000
Total distributions and community programs $122,860,000 $120,230,000 $115,793,000
Cost revenue ratio 16.9% 15.0% 17.4%
Investment income/(losses) $5,601,000 $9,469,000 $49,000

Audited financial statements

Read our full 2017–18 Audited Financial Statements.

If you require content in an alternative format please contact us at or 416-777-2001/TTY: 866-620-2993.

2017-18 Board and Committees

Board of Trustees

  • Rob Bruce**, Mobile Klinik
  • John Cartwright, Toronto & York Region Labour Council
  • Lily Chang, CUPE Local 79
  • Teri Currie, TD Bank Group
  • Omar Dhalla, Element AI
  • Shirley Hoy, StrategyCorp
  • Lisa Gonsalves, The Regional Municipality of York
  • Heather Mason-Wood, Canso Investment Counsel Ltd.
  • Kwame McKenzie, The Wellesley Institute; Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
  • James Meadows, Manitou Investment Management Ltd.
  • Patricia O’Campo, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Andrew Pickersgill, McKinsey & Company Canada
  • Jane Rowe, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
  • Jamison Steeve, Martin Prosperity Institute and the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity
  • Frank Techar, BMO Financial Group
  • Elaine Walsh, Hill House Hospice

** Has resigned from the Board

Officers of the Corporation

  • Shirley Hoy, Chair, Board of Trustees
  • Heather Mason-Wood, Vice Chair, Finance & Treasurer
  • John Cartwright, Vice Chair, Labour
  • Patricia O’Campo, Vice Chair, Community Impact
  • Andrew Pickersgill, Vice Chair, Resource Development
  • Vince Timpano, Past Chair (Retired Trustee)

Committee Membership

Governance & Human Resources Committee
  • Shirley Hoy*, StrategyCorp
  • Lisa Gonsalves*, The Regional Municipality of York
  • Heather Mason-Wood*, Canso Investment Counsel Ltd.
  • Patricia O’Campo*, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Andrew Pickersgill*, McKinsey and Company
Community Impact Committee
  • Patricia O’Campo*, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • André Chamberlain, Public Prosecution Service of Canada
  • Lily Chang*, CUPE Local 79
  • Liz Janzen
  • Paul Koreen, KCI – Ketchum Canada Inc.
  • Jean Lam, Red Cross
  • Kwame McKenzie*, The Wellesley Institute; Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Peter Milovanovic
  • Brenda Patterson
  • Jamison Steeve*, Martin Prosperity Institute and the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity
  • Elaine Walsh*, Hill House Hospice
Finance, Audit & Risk Committee
  • Heather Mason-Wood*, Canso Investment Counsel Ltd.
  • Linda Byron, AON Hewitt
  • Stephanie Chung, Pennylegion Chung LLP
  • Teri Currie*, TD Bank Group
  • James Meadows*, Manitou Investment Management Ltd.
  • Mary Pember
  • Jane Rowe*, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
Strategic Resource Development Committee
  • Andrew Pickersgill*, McKinsey & Company Canada, Chair
  • Alan Depencier, RBC
  • Omar Dhalla*, Element AI
  • Nancy McConnell, Google Canada
  • Frank Techar*, BMO Financial Group
  • Tyler Turnbull, FCB Toronto
  • Susan Walker
  • Damon Williams, RBC
  • Beth Wilson, Dentons Canada LLP

Note: An asterisk* indicates that the Committee member also serves on the United Way Greater Toronto Region Board of Trustees.

Senior executive team

Learn more about our Senior Executive Team here.