United Way Greater Toronto 2020/2021 Annual Report wordmark

How are we empowering philanthropy to fuel change?

Aerial photo of the GTA People and organizations across the GTA supported our community like never before.

We’ve always counted on the support of people who are invested in community, but this year you joined us for every step of an unprecedented journey and responded to our call to dig deeper and fight poverty harder than ever before. Over the past year:

When no sector was spared the impact of COVID-19, when the future was uncertain and giving harder, you showed a higher love for community. New and long-time supporters, individuals and corporations, labour, government and agencies came together like never before. Every donation counted, and we are indebted to everyone who prioritized their commitment to community, including these notable donors.

  • The more than 150 generous volunteers of our Board of Directors and mighty Campaign Cabinet and Major Individual Giving Cabinet, led by Joanna Rotenberg, who met the challenge of campaign chair Bharat B. Masrani — our north star through this campaign unlike any other. Together, they matched donations up to $7.5 million.
  • A truly corporate and community leader, 407 ETR, which was one of the first to step forward, and pledged a $4-million multi-year investment in COVID-19 response and ongoing support for our network of agencies.
  • The Azrieli Foundation, which entrusted United Way with a gift of $1.5 million toward the Women’s Impact Fund to support women and their families through COVID-19 crisis, recovery and rebuild.
  • Polar Asset Management Partners, which rallied other industry and community leaders, including Canso Investment Counsel, Birch Hill Equity Partners and Stephen Smith and Diane Blake, to match gifts to the Local Love Fund up to $1.5 million.
  • The Harquail Family, whose generous $1-million challenge gift inspired over 250 new donors to give $10,000 or more to United Way for the first time.

Bharat Masrani

“It is no small task to fundraise during challenging economic times, but I am guided by my firm belief that a strong, co-ordinated network of front-line agencies working together is one of the most impactful ways to fight local poverty and empower our communities as we work toward an inclusive recovery.”

—Bharat Masrani, CEO, TD Bank Group and 2020 United Way Campaign Chair

Globe and Mail, As charities suffer through the pandemic, those with means can and must do more to help October 13, 2020

United Way Greater Toronto virtual event

“Pleasure to join @UWGreaterTO for their Celebration Event after a successful employee campaign. The United Way does so much for our city - especially for those who are most vulnerable & hardest hit by the pandemic. Thank you for your passionate dedication to serving Torontonians.”


Linden King

“Establishing accountability measures and responsibility. This is going to be a collaborative effort with shared responsibilities. And we need to hear the voices of the individuals with lived experiences.”

—Linden King, Chair, United Way Greater Toronto Black Community Advisory Council, Let's Talk About Anti-Black Racism, part of our virtual engagement series

Nick Chan and family

“In the past when I had given, it was to acknowledge that we are very fortunate people. Now, I’m thinking about how I want to engage with my community to make it better for everyone.”

—Nick Chan, Donor, and Family



Our congratulations and thanks to the Toronto & York Region Labour Council as they mark a major milestone: 150 years since they took up the fight for social justice for working people. With the Labour Council as founding partners, we've been supporting that collective voice for dignity and fairness from our inception 65 years ago. Together we’ve made strides: reducing job precarity, improving worker protections and expanding employment opportunities for equity-seeking groups through Community Benefits frameworks. The spirit of solidarity that inspired so long ago is just as relevant now, and we count on the continued dynamism of the United Way–Labour partnership as we all put our efforts towards building back better.





Local Love in the Time of COVID

Engagement was different this year; it had to be. Gone were the feel-good moments that have brought us together over the years, like UP, the CN Tower Climb and Scotiabank Rat Race. But people still put their support into action, with over 3,000 joining the GetUp virtual physical challenge to raise close to $765,000 for community.

And as some barriers went up, others went down. With a deep desire to understand the crisis on the ground, people got up close and personal with the issues, tuning in to our webinar series to hear from community experts about our pandemic response, food security, the impact on seniors and vulnerable populations, and a special panel discussion with corporate and community leaders from the GTA’s Black community, Let’s Talk About Racism. Other engagement offerings ranged from virtual neighbourhood tours and panels on myth-busting homelessness to fun family-focused online events. And our regular email update, chock full of the latest developments, kept 130,000 supporters informed and connected.

Thank you for stepping up in a whole new way when your community needed you most.


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113,000 donors