2019-2020 Annual Report

Building on Communities

Members of United Way’s Black Community Advisory Council joined by chair Linden King (third from left), Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Councillor Ron Starr (centre), and Peel District School Board Trustee Kathy McDonald (third from right) at Be Black and Shine, a Black History Month event in partnership with the City of Mississauga.

Bringing the GTA’s community, volunteer and financial resources together in a common cause of caring

Community Advisory Councils

Three community advisory councils, an outstanding legacy from United Way’s impact in Peel Region, continue to strengthen our work in a multitude of ways.

  • The Black Community Advisory Council’s Black Youth School Success Initiative, in partnership with Laidlaw, Trillium and local boards of education, has blossomed, now reaching 175 young people across nine schools. The proven program—set to expand to both Toronto and York Region—has also been used in the development of a new child welfare service model: The Black Community Action Network and Peel Children’s Aid’s Akoma Wraparound Program. Youth success continues to be a central theme in the Council’s other projects and headlined this year’s gathering and Black History Month celebrations.
  • The South Asian Advisory Council maintains a laser focus on gender-based violence, an issue of growing concern in our community, and hosted a panel discussion on psychological and emotional violence at this year’s annual breakfast.
  • The Chinese Advisory Council has joined forces with the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and others on a Government of Canada Collaborative COVID-19 Rapid Research Project, looking at resilience in communities impacted by the outbreak and implications for managing future crises.

Indigenous Collaboration
We continue our commitment to reconciliation through our Indigenous Collaboration work—building staff capacity and investing in Indigenous-led agencies to deliver programming and advocacy. Presently supporting 16 Indigenous-serving programs in vital work, we’re also directing additional resources to meet greater need as Indigenous communities across our region are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. As well, we’re reaching out to Indigenous organizations such as the Toronto Aboriginal Social Services Council to build a strong foundation for future partnerships. One exciting new project already underway is an accessible mobile application and improved web-based community resources portal that will connect community to Indigenous services in the city.

Hope and Prayer in the 6ix
This unique first-time event brought 2,000 Muslims, along with leaders of other faith groups and representatives of United Way, the City of Toronto and the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), to Nathan Phillips Square for a special call to prayer. The interfaith demonstration of the common cause of community engagement and service raised $100,000 to support United Way’s work and shaped a Toronto Star opinion piece by Sharaf Sharafeldin, Executive Director of MAC, and Daniele Zanotti, President & CEO of United Way Greater Toronto, on the place of faith, prayer and charity in ending poverty.

Labour: Like-minded Allies
Organized labour continues to be a vital ally in Toronto, York and Peel. Local labour councils—founding partners of United Way—and the interests of working people have always been integral to our work. Most recently, that collaboration has resulted in shared efforts to create new employment opportunities for equity-seeking groups and local residents in priority neighbourhoods, part of the Community Benefits frameworks linked to infrastructure projects.

Toronto Workforce Funders Collaborative

Working with the Community Foundations of Canada, the new Toronto Workforce Funders Collaborative is pooling the capital and smarts of funding heavyweights—the Counselling Foundation of Canada, J.P. Morgan Chase, the Metcalf Foundation, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, TD Bank and United Way—to take on big workforce problems.