2019-2020 Annual Report
Building on Partnerships
Regional convenor connecting private and public sectors to community transformation
With mental health, housing and violence as ongoing issues in our neighbourhoods, we doubled down on a proven model for stopping community crises in their tracks. A collaboration with the City of Toronto, Toronto Police Service and our network of agencies, Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services (FOCUS) leverages local knowledge and relationships, and has now expanded to a fifth situation table in the Black Creek neighbourhood. By the end of 2019, FOCUS had reviewed 2,381 crisis situations since inception. Of last year’s 479 interventions, risk was successfully lowered in 73%, preventing them from becoming emergency response situations.
Greater Golden Mile
The Greater Golden Mile in Scarborough, a neighbourhood in transition, is on a trajectory ripe with potential, driven by infrastructure investment and development. Soon it’ll be home to new cross-sector innovations: a small-business catalyzer and construction joint venture. These pilot projects of the Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity (ILEO) leadership tables—spearheaded by BMO, 24 corporate and community partners, the City of Toronto and United Way Greater Toronto—will raise the bar on inclusive local economic opportunity. They offer a cutting-edge playbook for corporate-community partnerships as they forge new alliances in local job creation, business ownership and neighbourhood development.
Food Security in Peel
Food and shelter are necessities of life, yet last year, the Mississauga Food Bank reported a 16% increase in demand. To meet growing need, United Way and the General Mills Foundation launched a food security initiative in Peel that goes beyond food distribution to also promote community education and development. Six grants address the issue through a variety of interventions, from cultivating neighbourhood gardens to building relationships with grocery chains, ultimately connecting community agencies, residents and partners to nutritious, culturally appropriate and affordable food.
Building Migrant Resilience in Cities
Last year, United Way assessed settlement needs and services for specific populations through the Building Migrant Resilience in Cities project, a collaboration with York University. New learnings already impact work on the ground, with United Way convening local York Region organizations to provide extensive wraparound support for the particularly vulnerable Yazidi refugee community. Anchor agencies such as Family Services York Region and COSTI, together with partners like the York Region District School Board, are helping families navigate complex issues around housing, education and trauma.
Allan Slaight Seniors Fund
Thanks to this generous $15-million donation—the largest individual gift in United Way Greater Toronto history—the gap between health care and families is being bridged: Seniors are being connected to community supports through United Way’s network of agencies.
Regent Park Social Impact Investment Fund
This fund is supporting the renaissance of a revitalized neighbourhood. Kick-started by Daniels Corporation and supported by the City of Toronto and United Way, the fund is moving forward on five resident-led grassroots projects and four local agency collaborations.
Social Medicine Initiative
United Way, anchor agency PARC, University Health Network and the City of Toronto tackle poverty and poor health starting with housing and wraparound supports.