3 min read
01 March 2023

WoodGreen takes action for Toronto’s daunting unmet social needs

One of the city’s largest social service agencies is rallying community leaders and influencers to be part of a movement to create a more equitable city.

Toronto, Ont. - WoodGreen Community Services is mobilizing WoodGreen ambassadors and city change makers to come together, beginning March 1, to use their social platforms to elevate the conversation around the myriad unmet social needs in Toronto. The goal of this social media event, which kicks off the awareness component of WoodGreen’s new UNMET Needs Campaign, is to bring attention to challenges in our city and shine a spotlight on the impact of the social service sector.

“The needs of growing numbers of Torontonians are shockingly unmet,” said Anne Babcock, President and CEO of WoodGreen. “Community agencies are witnessing a dramatic increase in the demand for services stemming from pandemic disruptions that disproportionately affected underserved neighbourhoods. With the wealth gap widening and the current economic situation creating alarming pressures, more and more people are unhoused and unsupported in what is already known to be the least equitable city in the country.”

The campaign participants who will be lending their influence to champion change will wear branded UNMET t-shirts and post photos on their social platforms to give voice to the unmet needs across Toronto. They hope to inspire those who are able to help at a time when charitable giving is on the decline.

“Our recent Toronto Social Capital Study reveals donations are way down and people aren’t volunteering the way they used to,” said Sharon Avery, President and CEO of the Toronto Foundation. “It shows that over 300,000 Torontonians say they have no one to turn to when they need help. Facing smaller social networks, vulnerable residents often turn to community organizations like WoodGreen for support. But when 66% of all charitable revenue in Canada goes to only 1% of charitable organizations (hospitals and universities), community need often goes unmet. At Toronto Foundation we believe that real solutions exist at the community level. Organizations like WoodGreen are tackling our city’s inequities, and are essential to meeting the unmet needs of our community.”

The awareness phase of the UNMET Needs Campaign is intended, in part, to raise WoodGreen's profile ahead of the upcoming public fundraising phase. However, WoodGreen is just one of the many front-line community agencies that work to make Toronto a safer and more compassionate place. Accordingly, WoodGreen is taking an inclusive approach and hoping to bring the crucial need for investment into the whole social service sector to the forefront of urban discussion.

“Last year, over two million people reached out to United Way Greater Toronto’s network of 300 frontline agencies for food, housing, connection to services and supports and that number is expected to surge for years to come – the long tail impact of Covid, inflation and systemic barriers,” said Daniele Zanotti, President and CEO of United Way Greater Toronto. “The bridge between met and unmet needs for a growing number of our neighbours, family and friends is a network of partners working with community. In a united way. Everyday, WoodGreen, a United Way anchor agency, is at the forefront of addressing the immediate and improving the underlying social conditions. Serving, solving and advocating that for this place to be great – it has got to be great for all.”

To learn more about WoodGreen’s UNMET Needs Campaign, please visit www.woodgreen.org/unmet.

About WoodGreen Community Services (woodgreen.org): WoodGreen is one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, serving 37,000 people each year. We offer over 75 programs and services tackling the social determinants that affect the health and well-being of individuals in our community.

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For more information, UNMET Needs Campaign creative assets, or to arrange an interview, please contact: Tureisha Hamlet, Manager, Public Relations & Corporate Communications; [email protected]; (416) 277-2672