It was almost two years ago that the United Way organizations in Toronto and York Region came together to form a single agency.
So far it’s been a tremendous success. The merged United Way Toronto and York Region has raised more money each year than the independent agencies did on their own. Last year’s campaign brought in a record $102 million.
Now the United Way is broadening its scope. It’s making it easier for newer, less established charitable organizations to benefit from funding and other help.
This responds to a real need throughout the vast territory covered by the organization, from Lake Ontario all the way to the shore of Lake Simcoe. It includes many diverse communities with their own needs and local charitable groups. As the biggest non-governmental supporter of social services in the region, the United Way should be able to keep up with changing demands for help.
The changes announced this past week go in that direction. United Way is continuing its ongoing support for some 220 local agencies, including the March of Dimes, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Toronto, and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
At the same time, it’s directing money to a youth success strategy aimed at helping young people get access to higher education and job opportunities, and to “community hub” projects in areas of highest need.
It’s also establishing new partnerships with 62 service agencies and opening the door to three-year funding arrangements with other groups. The idea is to make sure that United Way funds go to a broader range of agencies throughout Toronto and York Region.
United Way plays a vital role throughout the region, helping to meet the needs of a big, diverse population. As it grows, it also has to adapt. These latest moves show that it’s on the right track.
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