United Way has always worked to meet immediate needs, but we’ve come to understand that treating symptoms alone is not enough. Through long-term strategies, we are targeting the conditions that create social challenges to build a better city for everyone.
United Way works to create lasting positive change by improving social conditions over the long-term. This means going beyond helping one person at a time — it’s about engaging multiple partners to change whole communities and make things better for all of us.
Our community has suffered the negative impacts of a slow recovery for the past four years. But there are longer-term, multigenerational trends threatening to undermine Toronto’s health and prosperity. United Way’s research has revealed that poverty continues to deepen and concentrate in the inner-suburbs, where low-income families are increasingly living in high-rise rental towers.
These vulnerabilities are made worse by growing gaps in our community. A gap in opportunities has people struggling to find a job. A gap in services leaves many without access to the supports they need to build a better life. And there is a gap between neighbourhoods that are doing well and those at risk of falling further behind. If left unchecked, these serious challenges could put our entire city at risk.
United Way’s strategy for creating long-term change is focused on improving social conditions over time. Our work begins with research, to help us understand our city’s challenges and develop effective strategies to address them. We work in partnership — with community agencies, the private sector and all levels of government — in a coordinated approach that targets resources to areas where need is greatest.
In collaboration with our partners, United Way identifies the changes we want to see in our community. We measure ourselves against those outcomes to ensure we’re on the right track. Many of the issues we’re trying to address involve broad economic, social and political trends. That’s why we work to improve the public’s understanding of these issues and partner with decision-makers to take action.
Addressing long-term issues takes time — but we’re already beginning to see the seeds of change take root.
Building understanding of our city and its challenges
Revitalizing inner-suburban neighbourhoods
Supporting local capacity for change
Kick-starting resident-led projects
Improving access to community services and space
Building partnerships for the good of our community
Photo at top: United Way’s Financial Literacy Strategy helps people like Aneesa develop the knowledge and skills they need to transition into financial stability.