This year’s annual report is different. Because we are knee-deep in our community’s greatest crisis in living memory and hungry for societal change. As COVID-19 evolves and lays bare the fault lines of poverty and sharpens the divisions between those who have and have not, the need for a united way has never been greater.
As I write, the guts of who we are and the value of how we work have never been more certain or necessary. In these unprecedented times, we know our community’s resilience—its survival and its future—is dependent on working together. To combat racism and geographic isolation. To increase access to services and decent work opportunities.
Now in the eye of the storm, we are finding strength where we always have: reaching across our region to work with our network of 280 agencies, plus almost 60 new agencies that your support has enabled us to mobilize for the first time. And by joining forces with government and civic leaders across jurisdictions; with corporate, community and labour partners; and with donors and supporters like you.
We are on the ground—coordinated, agile, focused—responding to spiking urgent need and steeling ourselves for the long, difficult road ahead.
Like never before, we are taking care of one another. Through ongoing flexible agency funding and the new emergency Local Love Fund, we are mobilizing compassion and harnessing deep local knowledge, relationships and experience. Together, we are serving the individuals and families most impacted by poverty—close to 90% of funded agencies are supporting equity-seeking and vulnerable groups, including Black and Indigenous populations—bringing food and essentials to the door.
As this crisis has struck at the very nature of our connection to one another, we have found new ways to strengthen our relationships on the ground and bolster our communities. At virtual neighbourhood and regional tables, we are coordinating our response with local government and agencies. And we’re working with our federal partners to administer extraordinary funds to support particularly at-risk groups, including seniors and those experiencing homelessness.
We will get through this together. And because of this defining moment, because we have learned so much and now understand the profound fragility and strength of community, we will be courageous and bold. Together, we can—and we will—rebuild the place we live, transforming it into the one we envision, a home where everyone belongs and has what they need, not just to survive, but to thrive.
President & CEO
United Way Greater Toronto