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Take Action Now

This is an outstanding city.
But you don't just take.
You've got to build.

Fran Deacon

Wife of the late Fraser Deacon,
Founder of Toronto Foundation

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Reading the data and trends in this report can be unsettling, but nonprofit leaders are optimistic that if we listen to voices of lived experience and are steadfast in our commitment to act, we can leverage this moment for systemic change.
Here are some suggestions on how you can contribute to an equitable recovery led by community-driven solutions.

Invest in these community organizations

Nonprofits across Toronto have the insights, expertise, and ideas we need to make this moment count. Donate to these organizations that continue to support marginalized Toronto residents through the pandemic, and whose work is integral to advancing racial and social justice.

  • The Toronto’s Vital Signs grantees: These are high-impact organizations addressing Toronto’s greatest inequalities right now.
  • Black and Indigenous- led and serving organizations: Social justice movements have gained momentum after unprecedented attention on anti-Black and anti-Indigenous systemic racism. This, in tandem with the disproportionate inequities faced by racialized Torontonians during the pandemic, underscores the imperative work of these organizations. Consult this list of Black and Indigenous-led and serving organizations to get ideas on where to give.
Civic engagement

The Toronto Fallout Report confirms what’s at risk if we don’t address inequality in this city. Creating a new normal that includes everyone, requires all of us to participate. Lifelong civic engagement can be practiced in many ways, on top of making donations.

  • Learn about what’s on the minds of your fellow Torontonians. How are others being impacted by current events, systemic barriers, political announcements, government budgets etc.? Be sure you are hearing from those with lived experience. Use what you learn to question your perspective and the status quo that is perpetuating inequality.
  • Volunteer your skills and time to community organizations and initiatives that are delivering services and developing solutions to tackle critical issues in our city. Throughout the pandemic we’ve also seen the growth of less-formal, resident-led resource and support networks often called mutual aid groups. Groups have formed locally and online as neighbours seek to support one another and especially meet the needs of vulnerable neighbours, for social connection, food, and access to medicine, too.
  • Connect with those in your community to expand your personal circle. It’s through sharing our experiences that we understand what is needed for inclusive city building.
  • Advocate for what is needed to promote community-driven solutions. Participate in opportunities to engage such as consultations and town halls to learn about issues, proposed policies and solutions. Use your platforms in your personal and professional spheres. And remember one of your most powerful tools is your vote!
  • Be thoughtful in your actions and daily life decisions. Creating a new normal means being mindful and aligning our individual and collective actions with the long-term change we seek
Broaden your sources of news and information

Reading and listening to a variety of publications and mediums can help inform a more nuanced and intersectional understanding of the issues impacting our city.Connect to community organizations to get an “on- the- ground” perspective that is often not reported in mass media. Subscribe to their newsletters, follow them on social media, or attend their events. And through your community engagement learn more about the perspectives of others.

Leverage your philanthropy

Ensure you are maximizing the potential impact of your charitable giving. Contact our team to discuss your philanthropy goals and options.

Aneil Gokhale, Director Philanthropy
416.921.2035 x212
Nicola Hives, Director, Legacy
416.921.2035 x203

Nonprofit Leaders

“Many racialized communities don’t have the luxury a 100-year history as a nonprofit or an organization with many locations and reach. I think we need to move out of that thinking of it being higher risk and find ways to mitigate that risk by enabling smaller grassroots organizations.”

Neethan Shan, Executive Director, Urban Alliance on Race Relations

“It’s always cyclical attention for the Black community.”

Liben Gebremikael, Executive Director, TAIBU Community Health Centre

“When we’re in difficult times, when we’re trying to work through complex ideas, artists can help us really be laser-focused on what matters, and assess and encourage us to have open dialogue, encourage us to reflect. The arts are necessary in the good times, but even more so in the difficult times.”

Alica Hall, Executive Director, Nia Centre for the Arts

“Reliable access to technology and internet is no longer a luxury. It’s an essential for education.”

Eugenia Addy, CEO, Visions of Science

“CERB was important in stabilizing the economy and ensuring that people stay at home to reduce the transmission of COVID, but it was a protection of those with recent labour market attachment. Those who are lower-income and who are on social assistance received much fewer federal supports.”

Garima Talwar Kapoor, Director of Policy and Research, Maytree

“Disease epidemics are not new for Indigenous people. There’s a deep history of disease epidemics here in Turtle Island, and so there’s a lot of intergenerational trauma being triggered right now by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Jeffrey Schiffer, Executive Director, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto

“There’s a growing inequity. People with wealth, space, time and the ability to support students at home can create these consistent rhythms. They are going to be able to learn, while other kids aren’t.”

Michael Carlson, Educator, Kapapamahchakwew – Wandering Spirit School

“Parks in underserved neighbourhoods often don’t fit the needs of the people who live around them. They are flat expanses of grass that lack infrastructure, few benches to sit on, no shelter or shade, no lights after dark, unstable paths to walk on, no barbeque pits, and old, rusty playgrounds that need to be replaced.”

Minaz Asani-Kanji, Manager of Outreach, Park People

“Nobody who is not white and wealthy wants to go back to the way things were before, because a lot of the issues that we’re talking about in COVID pre-existed for a lot of communities.”

Mohini Datta-Ray, Executive Director, North York Women’s Shelter

“Before, the focus was sometimes on taking the training and getting the job. Now, we’re building more of a continuum of training and getting as many skills as one can.”

Nancy Martin, Executive Director, Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training

“The benefits of having the lodge are going to be multiple, for not only the women, but also the community, because we’re not going to have women going out and being so desperate that they reoffend. A lot of these offences are based out of the fact that these women are living in poverty.”

Patti Pettigrew, Founder and Executive Director, Woman Healing Lodge Society

“These wicked problems, like poverty and food insecurity and homelessness, have long been offloaded or dumped on to charitable organizations that don’t have the capacity to solve them.”

Paul Taylor, Executive Director, FoodShare Toronto

“Large new builds can displace people from a neighbourhood they have been living in for a long time, because they can no longer afford the neighbourhood. People are being fully displaced from their networks as they move farther outside of the city.”

Phylicia Davis-Wesseling, Founder and Program Manager, KGO Adult Literacy

“We took a calculated risk in order to secure desperately needed affordable units by buying the property without all the construction funding.”

Steve Teekens, Executive Director, Na-Me-Res

“We need to structure education in ways that make sense for everyone and for communities like ours at Jane and Finch that’s been one of the hardest hit by COVID. How do we create an in-school learning experience where students are not afraid to come to school and get COVID.”

Tesfai Mengesha, Executive Director, Success Beyond Limits

“A lot of services are now being offered by phone or virtually, but sometimes there are families that don’t have those resources.”

Ekua Asabea Blair, CEO, Massey Centre

“We need to take a trauma-informed approach. We take a 360 of an individual’s life and tackle whatever barriers that they might be facing to employment one by one, and no one is ever treated with a cookie-cutter way of handling pain.”

Agapi Gessesse, Executive Director, CEE Centre for Young Black Professional