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Better Toronto Coalition Hub

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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Better Toronto Coalition Hub


No one is untouched by the current circumstances, but the impacts of COVID-19 will not be shared equally. Some of our neighbours have seen their jobs disappear. Part-time and temporary workers may be facing the impossible question of whether to pay for food or rent. They may have to visit a food bank for the first time ever. Those with mental health challenges will no doubt be triggered. Frontline workers supporting our most vulnerable will face increased demands and stresses.

That’s why we’ve created the Better Toronto Coalition to connect concerned residents directly with learnings from nonprofit leaders and help direct your support to where it’s needed most.

Weekly Gatherings

On Thursdays at 8:00am EST we’re connecting interested Torontonians to the front lines – virtually – so we can learn together. Register now for the next webinar on Thursday April 9 when we’ll discuss the pressing issue of women and safety during isolation. We’ll hear from Pamela Hart, Executive Director of Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, Deepa Mattoo, Executive Director of Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic and Heather McGregor, CEO of YWCA Toronto. Please check your inbox or junk mail for your confirmation email.


Special thanks to Vancity Community Investment Bank, sponsor of our Better Toronto Coalition weekly gatherings and first contributor to the Better Toronto Coalition Fund. We’re pleased to announce that all staff at Rally Assets have also contributed a donation to the fund.







This is where you can find the nonprofits serving the most vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 crisis. If you’re looking for guidance on where to direct your donations here are a few options:

  • Donate directly to frontline organizations. That’s the top priority.
  • Review lists of our current and past grantees for ideas on who we’ve funded.
  • Pool your donation with other concerned Torontonians by giving to the Better Toronto Coalition Fund.

Donate directly to frontline organizations

Some support services are more critical in the early weeks of the pandemic. Our first and strongest recommendation is that you make an unrestricted donation directly to local organizations working on the frontlines to support our city’s most vulnerable.

The following links take you to lists of organizations grouped by membership in an umbrella organization or by sector – as curated by stakeholders.

Food security: TorontoCentral Healthline

Mental health: Toronto Drop-In Network

Shelter and housing supports for low-income people: Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness

Social supports for marginalized people: Toronto Neighbourhood Centres

Assistance for seniors: Toronto Senior Services

Urban Indigenous peoples: Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council

Women’s shelters: Toronto Central Healthline


Toronto Foundation Grantees

If you’re looking to see which organizations we’ve supported, read more about our current and past grantees. All of these organizations fight inequality in our city and are facing extraordinary pressures at this unprecedented time. Providing direct financial gifts to them would be enormously helpful.

  • Toronto Vital Signs Grantees 2020
  • Good to Give Guide 2020, 2019


Pool your donations: Better Toronto Coalition Fund

If you’re looking to increase your impact, we’ve established a vehicle for you to pool your donation with other progressive donors to support organizations on the front lines. All funds granted from this pool will be 100% unrestricted, so that organizations can use the money wherever it’s most needed. By supporting a coordinated effort we ensure that no one is left behind.

The first round of funding is in the process of being rolled out to eight anchor organizations that will divide the money up amongst smaller nonprofits in the sector – in some cases member organizations. Toronto Foundation is working on accessing more funding while finalizing a plan to support more high-impact organizations in the city.

With all that said, you do NOT have to contribute to the fund to be part of the coalition.  Anyone can use our weekly gatherings to meet and hear from the small, but mighty organizations keeping our communities afloat. You can also give gifts directly to any number of vital organizations on the ground. We will be updating the lists of organizations included in Ways To Give for you to consider as our efforts unfold.  We welcome contributions of time and treasure – working together we will weather this crisis.


Special thanks to Vancity Community Investment Bank, sponsor of our Better Toronto Coalition weekly gatherings and first contributor to the Better Toronto Coalition Fund. For partnership questions contact Nicola Hives,





March 19Overview of the challenges the sector is facing to date during COVID-19

March 26The pressing issues facing local nonprofits and their clients (part 1)

April 2 The pressing issues facing local nonprofits and their clients (part 2)



  • Black Creek Community Farm – is partnering with FoodShare Toronto to provide food boxes to communities in Jane/Finch area and needs software help for collecting addresses and other info for those needing food baskets
  • Building Roots is assembling kits of home educational resources and games to families stuck at home in Moss Park, to go alongside weekly food provisions. Email Dustin
  • Canadian Blood Services – it’s safe to donate blood during COVID-19, and critical for patients
  • Community Head Injury Resource Services – is looking for board games. Direct inquiries to Hedy Chandler
  • Community Food Centres Canada’s Good Food Access Fund – ensures that the 183 Good Food Organizations and 13 Community Food Centres working on the front lines in 175 communities across Canada can quickly purchase food and supplies for those who need it most. For a limited time, Manulife will match your donation, up to a total of $150K
  • Daily Bread Food Bank – is in need of food donations and drivers. You can order food online through your favourite grocery store (chose a local small business if you can!) and have items delivered directly to their warehouse: 191 New Toronto Street, Toronto, ON  M8V2E7. If you want to volunteer and have a DZ license, please read more here
  • Friendly Neighbour Hotline – an initiative run through Toronto General Hospital, that was created during this uncertain time to facilitate the purchase and delivery of necessities to vulnerable seniors
  • Future Possibilities for Kids – resources to support kids during the COVID-19 crisis – for parents, guardians and families, from Future Possibilities for Kids, a leading child program charity for kids 9-12
  • Glad Day Lit – has an Emergency Survival Fund for LGBTQ2S artists, performers, tip-based workers
  • Indigenous Climate Action – COVID19 Resources for Indigenous Peoples
  • Kids Help Phone – is looking for 600 more volunteers as their phone lines get clogged with children looking for counselling
  • Sanctuary Toronto – is accepting donations of new and used tents and sleeping bags to distribute to people on the street who are anxious about or unable to access shelter beds
  • Shopify – has created a list of global government relief programs (work in progress and will be updated as new programs come on board)
  • St. Stephen’s Community House needs donations of hygiene supplies (soap, hand sanitizer, towels, etc…) to help homeless individuals to stay clean and wash their hands.
  • Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) – member organizations need drivers to deliver resources to those in need. To help please email TASSC executive director Lindsay Kretschmer
  • Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre is looking for donations of diapers, hygiene supplies, and food (for their food bank). To help, contact Darlene McGregor at
  • Toronto Drop-in Network – needs gloves, masks, takeaway meals, containers. Please drop off or send to Holy Trinity Church | 19 Trinity Square, Toronto, ON  M5G 1B1
  • Upside Foundation – has a list of Resources & Tools for Startups to Manage through COVID-19
  • Volunteer Toronto – is launching a dedicated resource to support volunteer-engaging organizations with their emerging needs. Reach out directly to for more information. AND There are some great virtual volunteer opportunities for teens to use their skills and creativity to help right now. They have volunteer advisors ( who can provide some help to get connected to opportunities by phone/email
  • The Workers Action Centre – helping workers learn about and apply for Emergency Support Benefits and Emergency Care Benefits – an important area for nonprofits to know about and help with. The Workers Action Centre is doing a lot of that vital work on EI education and support. Their hotline is still open
  • List of resources/ways to help complied by informal network of Torontonians


  • Bargain Groups/Kits for a Cause is offering hand sanitizer and to connect organizations looking for drivers with transportation companies. Contact Jodi by email or by phone at 416-785-5655
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto is looking to partner with charities, non-profits, and individuals – as their littles are struggling mentally and physically right now. Email Sue Sheridan at
  • CapitalW is offering pro bono fundraising coaching sessions to help women’s organizations navigate the crisis . They can help organizational leadership stay connected to board of directors, donors and constituents, assess long and short-term financial needs, identify pockets of funding that may be available, coach fundraising teams on how to prioritize their work, coach teams on how to forge new partnerships. Email
  • Cathy Mann – Fundraising consultant Cathy Mann is offering free fundraising “pep talks” – email
  • Children’s Book Bank is looking to partner with food security organizations to distribute free books to families. Please email
  • CityShare Canada is a real-time, crowdsourced platform that houses resources, tools, and stories on how city builders and residents are responding to COVID-19.
  • David O’Leary – The firm of Toronto Foundation fundholder David O’Leary, Kind Wealth, has 5-6 financial professionals who are offering free financial consultations for small nonprofits or the most financially vulnerable,
  • Human Resources Professionals Association is offering free HR resources for the non-profit sector
  • Layoff guide created by a newly laid off nonprofit HR professional
  • Leadership Emergency Arts Network (LEAN) is an immediate, grassroots, pro bono response network to help Canadian professional non-profit arts organizations (big and small) deal with what is coming at them during this crisis. If you need help at this time in strategic decision-making, crisis response, financial analysis, board direction, relationship mediation, HR management, systems change or inspirational leadership, LEAN on us!
  • Supporting deliveries to seniors – UHN OpenLab has created the Friendly Neighbour Hotline and recruited over 400 volunteers just for this crisis. Email Tai Huynh at
  • Mental Health resources list created by a psychiatrist working at North York General Hospital
  • Rumie learning technology solution is helpful for organizations with learning programs that are forced to go remote on short notice today. They are making it freely available to those organizations that are looking urgently for remote learning delivery solutions. Email Alison, for more details.
  • Vancity Community Investment Bank can provide Prepaid Visa cards, which can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, for community groups, foundations, or other nonprofits looking to distribute emergency relief funds to members of the community. For more information, contact James Dawe –
  • Volunteer Toronto – is the central hub in the city to find and post volunteer opportunities. They are waiving fees for nonprofits to post needs.
  • 211 is asking human service organizations across the province to use this form to quickly let them know about any changes to services listed on, especially those meeting basic needs (e.g., financial aid, food security, and shelter) and emerging COVID-19–related community supports. Please also direct people you service to 211 Ontario for the latest information on new and changing social and community services. This will help free up 911, 311, and Telehealth Ontario so they can focus on health and municipal services inquiries.

COVID-19 and philanthropy

COVID-19 and the nonprofit sector

COVID-19 and equity

COVID-19 and Indigenous communities:

COVID-19 and gender:

COVID-19 and race:

COVID-19, housing, and homelessness:

COVID-19, work, and income:

COVID-19 and food security:

COVID-19 and technology:

COVID-19 and mental health:

COVID-19, urban resilience, and city building:

COVID-19 feel-good stories



Here we’re sharing analysis for philanthropists and the nonprofit sector on what we’re seeing as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, what we might see in the future and what it could mean for our city.