High Spirits and High Hopes at United Way’s 2011 Campaign Launch

With Canadian rapper K’naan’s anthem “Wavin’ Flag” spilling from the speakers, United Way Toronto’s President and CEO Susan McIsaac made her way to the stage as hundreds of people from community agencies across the city waved their own flags and held up banners to celebrate the launch of United Way’s 2011 fundraising campaign.

“I’ve been around United Way for a long time. Going to these launches year after year, you’d think I’d get used to it,” McIsaac told the crowd. “But no, I still get goose bumps every year. And I just want to put it out there now: we have a really big number to tell you about.”

That big number was $116-million—this year’s ambitious campaign goal. The jubilant crowd roared in approval as the number was revealed.

In a climate of growing economic uncertainty, United Way’s priority will be to use the funds raised during this year’s campaign to provide stability to frontline agencies offering crucial programs and services. At the same time, United Way will maintain a commitment to longterm initiatives to improve overall social conditions.

“Each one of us has the opportunity to make a difference. And that’s why I’m calling on all of you to join me,” said McIsaac. “Acting, volunteering and giving to make a difference. To continually improve our city. And I thank you in advance because year after year, you do it.”

The launch took place at the Community Hub, AccessPoint on Danforth. The Hub houses several community agencies funded by United Way that provide health, settlement and other services to residents of the area. It was a fitting backdrop for an event that proved to be as much about celebrating our city’s community agencies, and the donors who support them, as it was about launching this year’s campaign.

“Our United Way family is all of you, our incredible community partners, all of our agencies, our corporate partners and our donors, that come to the table year after year, to help us bring to reality and bring to life our dreams for our community and our city,” said McIsaac. “I thank each and every one of you for your contribution.”

McIsaac went on to welcome Enbridge’s Janet Holder, the 2011 Campaign Chair. In her role as Campaign Chair, Janet will be heading up a group of committed volunteers in raising this crucial support for the city.

“It’s amazing to feel the positive energy in this room that you’ve all brought to the campaign launch for us,” said Holder. “I am extremely honoured to head up this year’s campaign and proud to continue Enbridge’s decades long tradition of supporting United Way.”

The campaign invites Torontonians to come together in a common cause of caring—to create opportunities for a better life for everyone.

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