2018-2019 Annual Report

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 2018-2019, our total disbursements to the community were as follows:

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


Over the past year, Management focused on three areas:

  • Increasing our brand relevance and growing revenue;
  • Becoming one United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT) serving Peel, Toronto and York Region;
  • Developing a Multi-Year Fiscal Sustainability Plan to mission-proof our organization for long-term success.


In close collaboration with United Way Centraide Canada and eight United Way partners across the country, we launched a new marketing campaign under the theme of #UNIGNORABLE. To bring attention to local issues like homelessness, domestic violence, mental health and social isolation, we partnered with worldwide colour authority Pantone® to create the most #UNIGNORABLE colour in the world. We also worked with world-renowned graphic illustrator Malika Favre to bring the new colour to life in a series of graphic illustrations aimed at generating greater attention to the issues that we care about in our community.

The campaign has already made an impact in increasing United Way’s brand relevance. Our metrics in the GTA showed a significant bump in a number of brand affinity indicators among all age groups. Additionally, for the first time in a decade, we saw a marked increase in our United Way familiarity brand metrics.

In a market of increasingly digitally savvy donors, UWGT continued its investment in Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud (SPC), a giving and engagement software platform, in partnership with United Way Worldwide and In the past year, nine corporate partners signed onto SPC. We expect take-up on this new platform to grow considerably in the year ahead, especially as we are now ready to share links to volunteer and engagement opportunities as part of the platform’s offerings.

Investments in brand relevance and the SPC platform underpinned growing United Way revenue in the short-term and, hopefully, bode well for our long-term future too. In February, we announced the highest United Way campaign achievement in the world, which allowed us to make a record investment in our community.

Thanks to the engagement of more than 400,000 people during the campaign, UWGT is investing $94 million in a network of agencies across Peel, Toronto and York Region in the coming year. Next to government, United Way remains the largest funder of social services in local communities in Greater Toronto.


On April 1, 2019, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the merger between United Way of Peel Region and United Way Toronto & York Region. In this first year of our new United Way Greater Toronto, our goals for operational integration were achieved, with a common approach to systems, policies and processes now in place across our organization.

Additionally, our merger has already leveraged new investments in our expanded geography. This included new commitments of over $300,000 for youth success, over $130,000 for the Peel Community Benefits Network and the seeding of new social enterprises in the region. In the first year of the Greater Toronto campaign, we secured new corporate partners, like Microsoft, and new employee campaigns. And we deepened local research with The Opportunity Equation and Getting Left Behind reports, all featuring a regional focus.

As we move forward, we continue to explore ways to leverage our new regional footprint for greater impact, more meaningful engagement and ultimately more dollars locally across Peel, Toronto and York Region. This means embedding local presence, local knowledge and local relationships in our business planning, community investment framework and strategic plan.


As in most other sectors, philanthropy is operating in a rapidly changing environment, marked by new trends in giving, a desire for local engagement, a noisy marketplace of ideas vying for the public’s attention, as well as the ongoing acceleration of digital technology.

In this environment, our organization is embracing a new reality of disruption, adaptation and change.

At the core of our approach is an unshakeable commitment to mission-proof our business model, so that we can ensure our contribution to strong communities for the long term. In the past year, we launched a three-year plan to invest in our transformation, while keeping our investments in community as stable as possible. This plan includes a planned deficit over the course of the next three years, with a view to returning to a positive fiscal situation in the medium term.

These investments will allow us to focus on the following priorities:

  • Sustaining urgently needed funds in a rapidly changing community sector;
  • Investing in what we believe are areas of growth—new brand, innovative partnerships with a focus on co-designing multi-year impact programs, regional scale that allows us to be fiercely local and new digital capacities like SPC;
  • Focusing on mission-critical capabilities inside our organization.

In order to drive this multi-year plan forward, we have identified three business priorities for the upcoming year:

  1. Grow UWGT revenue;
  2. Revitalize our operating model;
  3. Refresh our community investment strategy against our new geographic footprint.

Stay with us as we mission-proof our organization for more and greater service to our community.



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 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 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.


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 and 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 $110.3 million in our 2018 Campaign for our community—our biggest achievement ever.

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 17.6%. We maintain a strong focus on operational efficiency and our diligence is reflected in the cost ratio.

Due to the success of our 2018 Campaign and prudent fiscal management, our Unrestricted Net Assets is healthy at $16.3 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 $80.7 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.

Fiscal Year 2018-2019 2017-2018 2016-2017
Total gifts $144,595,000 $131,982,000 $132,001,000
Total distributions and community programs $129,745,000 $122,860,000 $120,230,000
Cost revenue ratio 17.6% 16.9% 15.0%
Investment income/(losses) $2,653,000 $5,601,000 $9,469,000

Read our full 2018-19 Audited Financial Statements.

2018-19 Board and Committees

We thank our Board of Trustees and Committee members for their wisdom, commitment and passion to steer our organization in the achievement of our mission.


Andrew Pickersgill
McKinsey & Company
Chair, Board of Trustees

John Cartwright
Toronto & York Region Labour Council

Lily Chang
CUPE Local 79

Betsey Chung
TD Bank Group

Teri Currie**
TD Bank Group

Omar Dhalla
Element AI

Lisa Gonsalves
The Regional Municipality of York

Wayne Halenda
Independent Consultant

Mariam Hashmi

Bruce McCuaig

Kwame McKenzie
The Wellesley Institute; Centre for Addiction & Mental Health

James Meadows
Manitou Investment Management Ltd.

Patricia O’Campo
St. Michael’s Hospital

Andrew Robertson
Peel Regional Labour Council

Jane Rowe
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

Jamison Steeve
Martin Prosperity Institute and the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity

Elaine Walsh
Hill House Hospice (retired)

Mark Wiseman
BlackRock, Inc.


Andrew Pickersgill
Chair, Board of Trustees

John Cartwright
Vice Chair, Labour

Thomas Dyck
Honorary Vice Chair (Advisory)

Bruce McCuaig
Vice Chair, Finance & Treasurer

Patricia O’Campo
Vice Chair, Community Impact

Jamison Steeve
Vice Chair, Resource Development


Patricia O’Campo*

Andr├ę Chamberlain
Public Prosecution Service of Canada

Mohammed Hashim
Toronto & York Region Labour Council

Mariam Hashmi*

Jean Lam
Red Cross

Kwame McKenzie*

Jenn Miller
Atkinson Foundation

Peter Milovanovic

Naki Osutei
TD Bank Group

Brenda Patterson
Deputy City Manager (retired)

Andrew Robertson*

Elaine Walsh*


Andrew Pickersgill*

Lisa Gonsalves*

Bruce McCuaig*

Patricia O’Campo*

Jamison Steeve*


Bruce McCuaig*

Linda Byron
AON Hewitt

Stephanie Chung
Pennylegion Chung LLP

Wayne Halenda*

James Meadows*

Mary Pember
TD Bank (retired)

Jane Rowe*


Jamison Steeve*

Betsey Chung*

Omar Dhalla*


Nancy McConnell
Google Canada

Tyler Turnbull
FCB Canada

Susan Walker
Independent Consultant

Damon Williams

Beth Wilson
Dentons Canada LLP


*Committee member also serves on the United Way Greater Toronto Board of Trustees
**Has resigned from the Board