United Way Toronto's 2009 Campaign Takes off with Million Dollar Boost from

BMO commits $1-million to United Way Toronto's Community Hub strategy

TORONTO, Sept. 15 /CNW/ - A generous gift from BMO will help bring much-needed infrastructure to Toronto's most underserved neighbourhoods - and will give United Way's 2009 campaign an enormous boost, said United Way President and CEO Frances Lankin today at the organization's annual campaign launch.

Standing before a colourful crowd of United Way supporters at First Canadian Place, Bill Downe, President and CEO of BMO Financial Group and Chairman of United Way's 2009 Campaign Cabinet, announced the $1-million gift in support of United Way Toronto's Community Hub strategy.

"This gift goes above and beyond BMO's annual campaign pledge. It's proof that people in our city come together when it matters most. Not only to meet the most urgent needs in our community, but also to address the root causes of social challenges," said Lankin.

"United Way is always there to provide immediate help for people who are struggling," said Downe. "At the same time, United Way is working to address the root causes of some of our community's most pressing social issues. The Community Hub strategy is helping to create vibrant, livable communities in Toronto's at-risk neighborhoods, home to significant numbers of newcomers and youth. BMO's commitment to United Way's Community Hub strategy will bring people together and make our community stronger. We hope that gifts like this will encourage others to step up."

In Toronto's priority neighbourhoods, the challenges of social isolation and poverty are compounded by the lack of services and community space. As part of United Way's Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy, UW has partnered with the Government of Ontario, private funders such as BMO, and community agencies to seed the development of eight Community Hubs.

In a year when there is so much at stake for so many people in Toronto, Lankin and Downe revealed United Way's citywide fundraising goal of $107.5-million.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure United Way is there to support our community at a time when it's needed most," said Lankin. "Our goal will ensure funding to our member agencies remains stable, especially important in a year when agencies may be facing cuts from other sources."

Downe thanked this year's United Way Campaign Cabinet and acknowledged the thousands of volunteers from business, labour, the public service and community agencies who will work to meet this year's campaign goal. "This year, the number of people who need help has grown daily. The economic environment has challenged us all - and even as signs of recovery begin to emerge, there are individuals and entire communities that will struggle to catch up. So it is up to all of us, as caring members of our community, to reaffirm our commitment and pledge our continuing support to United Way."

"We know our friends and neighbours are struggling, so we are calling on everyone, from all parts of our city, to pull together and join us in building a better future for everyone," Lankin told the crowd.

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.


For further information: For further information: For media enquiries, contact: Caitlin Stidwill, United Way Toronto, (416) 777-1444 ext. 396, Mobile: (416) 525-5632, cstidwill@uwgt.org; Paul Deegan, BMO Financial Group, (416) 867-3996, paul.deegan@bmo.com

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