United Way Toronto announces $109-million achievement

Historic result surpasses goal by $1.5-million

TORONTO, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - In a time of great uncertainty and need, the people of Toronto have responded with a stunning demonstration of community commitment and compassion, United Way President and CEO Frances Lankin said tonight as the charity announced a record fundraising achievement of $109 Million.

United Way Toronto's 2009 Campaign surpassed the $107.5-million goal it set in the fall by $1.5-million. Lankin read out a letter from Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide, congratulating United Way Toronto for having the largest campaign achievement in North America last year.

"With the city in recession last year and uncertain times ahead, the pressure on people and families is great. The community responded with compassion and unparalleled generosity helping United Way reach its highest achievement ever," Lankin said. "We're here tonight to thank everyone who stood with us and stood with the community from the beginning," she said.

"From the bottom of our hearts, thank you."

Lankin was joined by United Way's Campaign Chair, Bill Downe, President and CEO of BMO Financial Group.

"When people living in Toronto need help, more often than not, it's a United Way agency that gets the call. It takes a lot of money to fund these agencies - it also takes the dedication of many people and volunteers. They and the people they serve bring meaning to our campaign efforts" said Downe. "On behalf of the Campaign Cabinet, I would like to thank every donor - you have shown great kindness and given so much to help make the work of United Way agencies possible."

Lankin noted that tonight's event was the capstone on a week of achievements for United Way. She pointed to significant progress in United Way's Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy with the opening of the first Community Hub in Eglinton East/Kennedy Park, the first of eight hubs planned for the priority neighbourhoods.

"This campaign reminded us that united we can make a difference in our city. But we most certainly can't do it alone," said Lankin. "In 2009, we were reminded that tough times bring out the best in people, and the unwavering generosity and commitment of the thousands who worked so hard this year for their community will go a long way to strengthen the social fabric that unites us all."

CBC Broadcaster and host of CBC Radio's Here and Now, Matt Galloway hosted the dinner held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The money raised will provide stable funding to United Way's network of 200 health and social service agencies across Toronto that are providing the urgent services people need most during tough economic times. Funds from the 2009 campaign will also support United Way's long term efforts to strengthen the 13 priority neighbourhoods through its Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy.

Established in 1956, United Way Toronto is a charity working to advance the common good and create opportunities for a better life for everyone in our city. Working in partnership with others, we mobilize people and resources to address the root causes of social problems and to change community conditions for the better. United Way supports agencies that provide services to strengthen individuals, families, and communities.

SOURCE BMO BANK OF MONTREAL

For further information: For further information: Media contact: Caitlin Stidwill, United Way Toronto, Desk - (416) 777-1444 x 396, Cell - (416) 525-5632, cstidwill@uwgt.org


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