The impacts of COVID-19 are not being felt equally. Thousands of Torontonians have lost their jobs. Many part-time and temporary workers are facing the impossible question of whether to pay for food or rent. Some are visiting a food bank for the first time ever. Those with mental health challenges have no doubt been triggered. Frontline workers supporting our most vulnerable are dealing with increased demands and stresses.
That’s why we 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.
- Since mid-March we’ve hosted 10 virtual gatherings featuring nonprofit leaders so concerned Torontonians could learn about the issues affecting the city’s most vulnerable. Links to all of those recordings are available below.
- Because of your donations we have been able to make 183 grants to smaller organizations doing critical work in communities across the city.
We’re grateful to those of you who contributed to the Better Toronto Coalition Fund to make that possible and to those of you who gave directly to the organizations sharing their stories.
Thank you to Vancity Community Investment Bank, sponsor of our Better Toronto Coalition webinars and first contributor to the Better Toronto Coalition Fund, and to Green Shield Canada and all staff at Rally Assets who also contributed a donation to the fund.
Over the summer we’re pulling together data and stories that will inform a fall report for donors. In the meantime, check out the content below, follow us on social or subscribe to our e-newsletter.
READY TO DO MORE?
Donate Directly to Frontline Organizations
Please consider making an unrestricted donation now to the organization(s) you care most about. The entire sector has been impacted by this crisis – either because demand for their services has increased exponentially and/or they have had to re-imagine and retool how they work due to physical distancing. Many are experiencing extraordinary financial loss and need support to keep moving forward.
Past Toronto Foundation Grantees
Or, if you would like to follow our lead, check out these lists:
- who we’ve granted to during the pandemic here
- 2020 Vital Signs Grantees here or
- previous grantees in the 2020 or 2019 Good to Give Guides
Pool Your Donations
If you would prefer to give collectively, please consider supporting the Better Toronto Coalition Fund and we will add your support to our effort.
Special thanks to Vancity Community Investment Bank, first contributor to the Better Toronto Coalition Fund. We’re pleased to announce that Green Shield Canada and all staff at Rally Assets have also contributed a donation to the fund.
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.
- COVID-19, Income Inequality and the Call for Philanthropy
- Food Security during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Toronto’s food crisis is imminent
- COVID-19 and the repercussions for mental health in Toronto
- COVID-19 and housing: will opportunity emerge from crisis?
- Shutdowns and resilience in Toronto’s arts and culture sector
- Bruce MacDonald, President & CEO, Imagine Canada
- Teresa Vasilopoulos, Executive Director, WoodGreen Foundation
March 26 – The pressing issues facing local nonprofits and their clients (part 1)
- Susan Bender, Manager of Toronto Drop-In Network
- Leticia Deawuo, Director, Black Creek Community Farm
- Neil Hetherington, CEO, Daily Bread Food Bank
- Lindsay Kretschmer, Executive Director, Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC)
April 2 – The pressing issues facing local nonprofits and their clients (part 2)
- Ekua Asabea Blair, CEO, The Massey Centre for Women
- Shelley Nicholls, Executive Director, Sistering
- Bill Sinclair, Executive Director, St. Stephen’s Community House with The Neighbourhood Group
April 9 – The growing crisis of women’s safety
- Deepa Mattoo, Executive Director, Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
- Heather McGregor, CEO, YWCA Toronto
- Pamela Hart, Executive Director, Native Women’s Resource Centre Toronto
April 16 – Race, Newcomers & COVID-19
- Helene Gayle, President & CEO, Chicago Community Trust
- Sam Chaise, Executive Director, Christie Refugee Welcome Centre
- Debbie Douglas, Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)
- Anna Victoria Wong, Executive Director, Community Family Services of Ontario
April 30 – Mental Health & COVID-19
- Charlene Avalos, Manager of Holistic Healing Services, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
- Kaitlyn Axelrod, Program and Outreach Coordinator, Sheena’s Place
- Kwame McKenzie, Director of Health Equity, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) & CEO, Wellesley Institute
- Robert Ridge, Executive Director, Distress Centres of Greater Toronto
- Mark Aston, Executive Director of Covenant House, and Chair of the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness
- Abigail Bond, Executive Director, Housing Secretariat at the City of Toronto
- Steve Teekens, Executive Director of Na-Me-Res; and Chair of the Toronto Indigenous Community Advisory Board
- Ene Underwood, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area.
May 28 – Arts, Culture and Social Cohesion
- Ajeev Bhatia, Manager, Community/Policy Connections, Centre for Connected Communities (C3)
- Zahra Ebrahim, Chair, Park People / Amis des parcs
- Claire Hopkinson, M.S.M., Director and CEO, Toronto Arts Council
- Utcha Sawyers, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of East Scarborough
- Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook, Senior Lead of Indigenous Engagement, Evergreen, and Future Cities Canada
- Emmay Mah, Executive Director, Toronto Environmental Alliance
- Steve Moran, National Coordinator, Green Economy Network
- Michael de Pencier Lead Director, GrandTrees Climate Solutions & Director, Trees for Life Urban Tree Coalition, and Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign
June 25 – Resilience and Reconciliation: COVID & Indigenous Toronto
(Guest Moderator: Lindsay Kretschmer of TASSC)
- Lindsay Kretschmer, Executive Director, Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC)
- Suzanne Brunelle, Senator, Toronto & York Region Métis Council
- Andrea Chrisjohn, Board Designate, Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre
- Keith McCrady, Executive Director, 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations
- Bryan Winters, Executive Director, Toronto Inuit Association
COVID-19 and philanthropy
- Philanthropy and the pandemic, thephilanthropist.ca.
- 6 Steps for Grant Makers to Take Now to Ensure Nonprofits Recover From Coronavirus Spread, philanthropy.com.
- COVID-19—Seven Things Philanthropy Can Do, FSG.
- The Coronavirus Outbreak Could Prove Why Donor-Advised Funds Serve Society Well, philanthropy.com.
- A COVID-19 Statement from CFC, PFC, EFC, and The Circle on supporting grantees, Community Foundations of Canada.
- COVID-19 relief lessons from the fastest rapid response fund in the world, Future of Good
- This is how Canada’s foundations should respond to COVID-19, Future of Good.
- How Philanthropists Are Helping During the Crisis, the New York Times.
- Four Ways for Community-Focused Philanthropy to Confront the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis, The Bridgespan Group.
- A Growing Group of Foundations Pledge No “Business as Usual” with COVID-19, Nonprofit Quarterly.
COVID-19 and the nonprofit sector
- COVID-19 and the charitable sector, Imagine Canada.
- Nonprofits on the front lines of COVID-19, Ontario Non Profit Network.
- When ‘Cancel Everything’ Means Disaster for the Arts, CityLab.
- Resources to help nonprofits adapt and respond to COVID-19, Ontario Nonprofit Network.
- Community-based COVID-19 relief could be more effective. Here’s how, Future of Good.
- COVID-19 is accelerating our move to digital — charities must act now to keep up, Future of Good.
- Charitable Sector Gradually Adjusting to a New Regulatory World that Allows Unlimited Engagement in Public Policy Dialogue, The Philanthropist.
- What Canada can learn from global tech non-profits pivoting to address COVID-19 needs, Future of Good.
- Announcement: Leadership Emergency Arts Network (LEAN), Leadership Emergency Arts Network.
- COVID-19 Flash Survey Findings, Ontario Nonprofit Network.
- Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID‑19 (Funding for Charities), Ontario.ca.
COVID-19 and equity
- We need to urgently consider equity in our coronavirus response, Op-Ed by Kwame McKenzie, The Toronto Star.
- Tiny Virus, Big Picture, The Tyee.
- Viral inequality: Coronavirus might be an equalizer but society is not, The Toronto Star.
- The COVID-19 crisis has spawned a movement of helpers, but that doesn’t relieve the government of its responsibility to protect the vulnerable, Policy Options.
COVID-19 and Indigenous communities:
- Indigenous communities are vulnerable in times of pandemic. We must not ignore them, Globe and Mail.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Indigenous communities, Government of Canada.
- COVID-19 resources for Indigenous people across Canada, Canadian Roots Exchange.
- List of First Nations communities that are qualified donees, Canada Revenue Agency.
- Ottawa response for COVID-19 outbreak in Indigenous communities troubling, Canada’s National Observer.
- First Nation leaders say $305M not enough as MPs greenlight COVID-19 relief measures, APTN.
- Northern Ontario communities doing what they can to keep COVID-19 out, APTN.
- A remote First Nation prepares for its most daunting challenge: limiting the spread of coronavirus, the Globe & Mail.
- Ontario First Nation Hit By Water Crisis Now Faces COVID-19, Huffington Post.
- Coronavirus: Toronto’s Indigenous Community Sending Out SOS, 106.5 ELMNT FM Toronto.
- Organizations need more COVID-19 funding, says National Association of Friendship Centres, Future of Good.
- COVID-19 Did Not Cause Food Insecurity In Indigenous Communities But It Will Make It Worse, The Yellowhead Institute.
- Data gaps exist on COVID-19 cases in Indigenous communities, says research fellow, CBC.
COVID-19 and women:
- Why women will feel the societal impacts of coronavirus more intensely, Future of Good.
- What does feminist leadership look like in a pandemic?, Medium.
- “A Lot of That Joy Has Been Taken Away From Me”: New Moms on Having a Baby During a Global Pandemic, Mother Jones.
- What Do Countries With The Best Coronavirus Reponses Have In Common? Women Leaders, Forbes.
- The secret weapon in the fight against coronavirus: women, The Guardian.
- Andrea Gunraj and Jessica Howard: Women leaders: Seen and unseen during COVID-19 crisis, The Province.com.
- Leading with a quiet voice — the irony of women’s influence during COVID-19, iPolitics.ca.
COVID-19 and safety:
- GTA domestic violence groups brace for ‘perfect storm’ as abused women stay home amid COVID-19, Toronto Star.
- Domestic Abusers Can Control Your Devices. Here’s How to Fight Back, The New York Times.
- A New COVID-19 Crisis: Domestic Abuse Rises Worldwide, The New York Times.
- Infographic: The Shadow Pandemic – Violence Against Women and Girls and COVID-19, UN Women.
- Domestic violence calls spike amid COVID-19, CityNews.
COVID-19 and race:
- The ‘Chinese Flu’ Is Part of a Long History of Racializing Disease, CityLab.
- What Bigotry Looks Like During Social Distancing, CityLab.
- Chicago’s coronavirus disparity: Black Chicagoans are dying at nearly six times the rate of white residents, data show, Chicago Tribune.
- ‘It’s a racial justice issue’: Black Americans are dying in greater numbers from Covid-19, The Guardian.
- Unlike Canadians, Americans at least know how Black people are faring with COVID-19 (very badly), The Toronto Star.
- Medical experts calling for collection of race-based coronavirus data, CityNews.
COVID-19, housing, and homelessness:
- Homeless vulnerable to COVID-19 need help from governments: advocates, CTV.
- Tenants, landlords on edge as pandemic forces thousands out of work, CBC.
- Coronavirus is forcing Toronto to confront the rental housing crisis like never before, NOW.
- City of Toronto acquires hotels, rental buildings for homeless in response to coronavirus, CityNews.
- 7 Reasons the Homeless Need Your Help to Survive COVID-19, Fred Victor.
- This crisis has changed our experience of home – and exposed the deep pain of poor housing, The Guardian.
- City of Toronto to spend $47.5M to build 250 supportive modular housing units, Global News.
- Who is homeless? Homeless Hub.
COVID-19, work, and income:
- Unemployment claims reach nearly one million as businesses battered by coronavirus pandemic, The Globe and Mail.
- Two million Canadians could soon be out of work — and women and low-wage workers will be hit the hardest, Toronto Star.
- COVID-19 disruptions could send many Canadian households into a financial tailspin, The Globe and Mail.
COVID-19 and food security:
- On the Food Bank Frontlines, The Local.
- Impacts of COVID-19 will drive up costs of vegetables, baked goods: Researchers, CTV News.
- Let people on ODSP, Ontario Works shop on Tuesday, urges Guelph social worker, CBC.
- Nearly 12 times more people in Toronto are asking for help with food security right now, blogTO.
- Pandemic has exposed the rifts in our social fabric, Toronto Star.
- WoodGreen responds to growing food demand from seniors during COVID-19, Toronto Star.
COVID-19 and technology:
- ‘Internet is the only lifeline they have’: Canada needs to confront ‘digital divide’ amid COVID-19 crisis, CBC Radio.
COVID-19, mental health, and addictions:
- Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic, Centre for Addictions and Mental Health.
- The pandemic of loneliness, the Toronto Star.
- ‘Social distancing’ is a misnomer: we should be physically distancing, but remain as social as ever, The Globe and Mail.
- That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief, Harvard Business Review.
- Coping with Fatigue, Fear, and Panic During a Crisis, Harvard Business Review.
- Yale’s massively popular ‘happiness’ course is available free online, CNN.
- Worst month for Toronto overdose deaths since March 2019 as COVID-19 measures strain addictions system, The Toronto Star.
- For Eating Disorder Sufferers, Self-Isolation Comes With Added Struggles, Vogue.
- COVID-19 Does Not Discriminate by Body Weight, Wired.
- Mental health group warns of ‘echo pandemic’ among traumatized health workers, vulnerable Canadians, CBC.
COVID-19, urban resilience, and city building:
- What a Coronavirus Recovery Could Look Like, CityLab.
- The NIMBYs of the Coronavirus Crisis, CityLab.
- Alone Together, in Community Resilience, CityLab.
- In the coronavirus crisis, who gets to be outside?, Curbed.
COVID-19 feel-good stories
- Coronavirus: Kind Canadians start ‘caremongering’ trend, BBC.
- Confined to their homes, Italian neighbors sing together to boost morale, CNN.
- The need for parks: In a time of sickness, we all need to take a breath, Globe and Mail.
- Stuck at home? These 12 famous museums offer virtual tours you can take on your couch, Hello Giggles.
- Experience the AGO from Home, Art Gallery of Ontario.
- What It Looks Like From Space When Everything Stops, Bloomberg Green.
- Wild goats take over Welsh town amid coronavirus lockdown, CNN.
- It’s the only supermarket in town — and volunteers are helping it stay open, TVO.
- Even if you’re locked down from COVID-19, you can still explore the city. Here’s how, The Toronto Star.
- Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas.
- Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance by Edgar Villaneuva.
- Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better by Rob Reich.
- New Power: How power works in our hyperconnected world, and how to make it work for you by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms.
- The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
- Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count by Phil Buchanan.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence.
- The Power of Disability: 10 Lessons for Surviving, Thriving, and Changing the World by Al Etmanski.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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
- Kits for a Cause is accepting donations of basic home supplies and hygiene/personal care products to put into their kits for the homeless. Email email@example.com for more information or to get involved.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 email@example.com
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (email@example.com) 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
RESOURCES FOR NONPROFITS
- Bargain Groups/Kits for a Cause is offering hand sanitizer and to connect organizations looking for drivers with transportation companies. Contact Jodi by email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Sue.email@example.com
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cathy Mann – Fundraising consultant Cathy Mann is offering free fundraising “pep talks” – email email@example.com.
- The City of Toronto has launched the BusinessTO Support Centre to provide one-on-one support for Toronto businesses, including not-for-profit organizations, during this crisis.
- Children’s Book Bank is looking to partner with food security organizations to distribute free books to families. Please email Mary.firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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, email@example.com
- Garthson Leadership Centre is offering free Zoom, Skype or phone calls with not-for-profit board members, senior managers and leadership teams who are are seeking governance support for their charity or community organization, including for new situations arising due to the COVID-19 crisis. Email Jane Garthson at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time for an initial conversation.
- Human Resources Professionals Association is offering free HR resources for the non-profit sector
- Jack.org has launched a hub of mental health resources to help you take care of yourself and look out for the people you love during this challenging time.
- Kits for a Cause has donors looking to give back through donations of PPE and hygiene/personal care supplies. Please reach out to email@example.com if you are in need of supplies.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mental Health resources list created by a psychiatrist working at North York General Hospital
- Mike Prosserman (Founder of Unity Charity and current CEO of EPIC Leadership) is offering free weekly non-profit Executive Directors & senior leaders sharing sessions on Zoom to share wins, challenges & practices that are working in response to COVID19. If you’re interested in joining, you can email Mike directly at email@example.com – Sessions are being offered every Wednesday from 12:00pm-1:30pm until the end of April.
- Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) (in partnership with Imagine Canada) is offering a free webinar series to support nonprofits and charities.
- 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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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 – email@example.com.
- 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 211Ontario.ca, 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.