The Better Toronto Coalition was started to do two things: share the stories of frontline organizations addressing the crisis and encourage direct financial support; create a central fund for donors that want to pool their giving. The following organizations have received grants from the Better Toronto Coalition Fund.
Toronto Foundation is supporting a broad range of organizations in the wake of the pandemic. Grants are rolling out in 4 phases: emergency response; impact; stabilization; recovery. We expect to be granting into 2021. Where possible we are making unrestricted grants, with no strings attached. This kind of trust-based philanthropy is more important than ever.
For all funding phases priority is given to small and medium-sized nonprofits that tackle inequality and serve people living on low-income and otherwise vulnerable populations in the city.
Status: Complete as of May 15, 2020
$10,000 unrestricted grants to a broad range of small and medium-sized organizations impacted by the crisis. Many of these are working on the frontlines of the pandemic; others are adjusting to a new way of operating and surviving. Some are anchor organizations coordinating programs and services across issues and communities, and others operate at the neighbourhood level.
Priority issues addressed:
food security; homelessness and women in shelter; mental health; social cohesion.
Priority populations served:
seniors; Indigenous people; racialized communities; newcomers; LGBTQ.
Emergency Response Grantees
Following a lead gift from VanCity Community Investment Bank of $50,000 we have made the following $10,000 grants to organizations serving some of the most vulnerable populations in Toronto. The grant means that:
Aboriginal Legal Services (Trustee: TBD)
Alexandra Park Community Centre: can maintain its weekly healthy meal program for 100+ isolated, low-income and racialized seniors and allows community youth to not just cook and deliver healthy, nutritious food daily, but also create critical social capital and strong inter-generational networks
Charlie’s Freewheels: can continue to support youth in Toronto with access to bikes and mechanical know-how, at a time when active transportation provides safe ways of getting to essential employment and services.
Christie Refugee Welcome Centre: can support refugee children and their parents by providing shelter, food and basic needs, and case management, and continue to support them via phone and email as they move into somewhat precarious living situations throughout Toronto
Daily Bread Food Bank: can help tens of thousands realize their right to food now while advocating for a more just society
Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth: can continue to provide healthy food, crisis supports and crucial life skills to youth experiencing homelessness and empower them to transition to independent living in their communities and a brighter, more prosperous future
FEAT for Children of Incarcerated Parents: deliver over 100 homemade nutritious meals every week as well as provide virtual support and personalized care packages to children affected by parental incarceration
FoodShare: has been able to increase its ability to provide immediate relief to Torontonians navigating food insecurity as a result of COVID-19 by delivering large boxes of fresh produce to their homes
Friends of Ruby: can expand support to LGBTQI2S youth who are feeling isolated during this pandemic by pivoting to virtual social services and counselling, and by re-opening drop-in doors and safely providing food, toiletries and other needed supplies.
Future Possibilities for Kids: connecting children ages 9 to 12 from underserved communities in Toronto with caring adult volunteers on the phone on a regular basis, providing encouragement and positive, meaningful connection at a time when children are feeling very isolated.
Jane Finch Housing Coalition (Trustee: Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre): can respond to emerging and ongoing housing issues by organizing tenants rights workshops, connecting community members to key information and resources, and advocating for housing justice for all low-income residents in Jane-Finch and across Toronto.
L’Arche Toronto Homes: can continue to provide a safe home life, assistance with daily living, emotional support, online support and programming, and a virtual circle of connection for individuals with intellectual disabilities in four East Toronto homes.
LOFT Community Services: purchase PPE and food to protect and support over 900 of the most vulnerable adults/seniors who struggle with the most complex mental and physical health challenges.
Massey Centre: can accept more vulnerable young moms and babies into housing programs and provide for their basic needs, purchase disinfectants and personal protective equipment, while innovating programs to provide counselling, life skills, high school, and children’s programs online
Miziwe Biik Employment and Training: can meet growing employment and training services demand for urban Indigenous people in the GTA by expanding its footprint to build their own four-story Institute
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto: deliver essential food and hygiene supplies to Indigenous families in need across the GTA and continue to offer critical counseling, case management, domestic violence, and mental health and addictions support to clients remotely, online or by phone
Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto: can offer basic needs and services to maintain the dignity and respect for Indigenous women and children, while also offering them safety from violence with connection to culture and healing
Nightwood Theatre: means that, despite cancelled events and productions, they have been able to pay artists; and by pivoting to responsive online programming, they have continued to offer meaningful artistic engagement to communities, providing communal experiences that offer hope and connection
Nishnawbe Homes Inc.: purchase necessary PPE and disinfectant to respond to safety issues for tenants and staff as well as have the financial resources to address food insecurity issues for tenants, Elders and those suffering from mobility issues
North York Women’s Shelter: can maintain providing a safe and secure environment to those who have experienced gender based violence, by meeting their basic needs of food, clothing and mental health support; and providing adaptable programing based on the needs of the residents
Parenting Group (Trustee: Flemingdon Health Centre): can engage parenting group members as well as other families in the community by providing mental health support through STEAM projects, especially to implement strategies to provide online support for children’s online learning
Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre: can maintain a clean and safe drop-in for folks without housing to have two dignified sit-down meals per day, while also delivering shelter-at-home food hampers to some of their most vulnerable members
R.I.S.E. Edutainment(Trustee: VIBE Arts): can continue supporting and developing emerging artists from racialized communities to create and express themselves during this time of isolation and social distancing
Regent Park Film Festival: can continue to connect our communities through film at a time when they are feeling most isolated, pay underrepresented artists to screen their works, and move programming online to remain accessible
Second Harvest: can respond to the increased need for food in Toronto: by supporting the City’s 10 emergency food sites, and keeping its fleet of trucks on the road delivering food to frontline agencies, including 40 new agencies brought onboard in response to the pandemic
SKETCH Working Arts for Street-involved and Homeless Youth: can continue supporting young people navigating the margins through access to virtual programming, including equipment and free internet, access to one-to-one mentorship, healthy food boxes and art supply pick-up, and online referrals to wraparound services to provide mental health, and housing support
Social Planning Toronto: was able to redeploy staff to assist frontline agencies serving vulnerable populations and to contribute to the collective ideas that are shaping Toronto’s recovery process
St. Stephen’s Community House: could cover unplanned expenses: more food & grocery cards for the surge in hunger; personal protective equipment needed to stay open to the public; and laptops to support staff travelling into the community to serve high risk populations
Stella’s Place: can meet the heightened demand for its secure mobile chat application by extending service hours and hiring more peer support workers for evening and weekend shifts when young adults struggling with their mental health are most vulnerable and in need of connection, validation and support
Street Health: can ensure those who are homeless in Toronto’s core have access to critical personal care and hygiene supplies (including underwear, socks, hand sanitizer and face masks) and up-to-date information, which is in high demand, as services have changed and closed during the pandemic
The Period Purse: can purchase period products online and ship them directly to the shelters it supports across the city. This helps keep volunteers safe and also continues to give free period products to marginalized community members who need our help more than ever
Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (Trustee: NCCT): can ensure the needs of the Indigenous people of Toronto are being met through food security, virtual programming, justice and domestic violence responses and connectivity and devices access
Toronto Inuit Association: create and host impactful online workshops for the foreseeable future; in cultural programming, crafts and the accompanying social engagement to community members, including the required craft materials and significant honoraria for talented and treasured presenters
Toronto Neighbourhood Centres: could create a website and tools to connect neighbours offering mutual support in ways to ensure they are reaching the most vulnerable community members
Wigwamen Incorporated: can provide direct supports to its Indigenous non-profit housing tenants; enhanced cleaning services at all sites, including Wigwamen Terrace, a seniors residence; and personal protective equipment for tenants and staff
Timing: May-August 2020
Grants up to $200,000 for extraordinary activities associated with the crisis. Working in partnership with other private and public funders and in consultation with sector leaders. There is no application process; these funds go direct to recipient organizations. We will post a list of grantee organizations here when grants have been made.