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Barrett Family Foundation Invests $2.6M to Support Indigenous, Black, and Racialized Communities

Press Release

June 23, 2021 – A $2.6 million investment from the Barrett Family Foundation will help catalyze United Way’s commitment to building an equitable recovery across Peel, Toronto and York Region. The transformative three-year gift will establish the Barrett Building Opportunities Greater Toronto Fund, scaling United Way’s support for organizations and programs serving Indigenous, Black, and other racialized populations impacted by poverty. The gift will enable United Way to offer support and flexible funding to organizations and programs both led by and serving these communities.

“It was important to us to focus our investment on where it could have the greatest impact,” says Robert K. Barrett, President, Barrett Family Foundation. “United Way will use these funds to support Indigenous, Black, and other racialized communities, which often experience systemic inequities, racism and discrimination. We decided to work with United Way as a trusted leader and partner in our community committed to addressing barriers that have held back some individuals for too long.”

The priorities of the Barrett Building Opportunities Fund are to drive long-term change by investing in the leadership and structures of organizations led by Indigenous, Black, and other racialized communities; to provide culturally specific programs and services; to address critical needs while providing pathways out of poverty; and to strengthen agency capacity and networks.

“We are immensely grateful to the Barrett Family Foundation for recognizing how some groups have been disproportionately impacted not only by the pandemic, but by historic and systemic injustices beyond one’s control,” says Daniele Zanotti, President & CEO, United Way Greater Toronto. “Their generous gift will place us further along on our path towards greater equity.”

United Way will continue to work towards an equitable recovery throughout the year, collaborating to meet increased and complex needs, prioritizing partnerships and systems change that meet the needs of individuals most impacted by the pandemic.


About United Way Greater Toronto: As the largest non-government funder of community services in the GTA, United Way Greater Toronto reinforces a crucial community safety net. United Way’s network of agencies and initiatives in neighbourhoods across Peel, Toronto and York Region works to ensure that everyone has access to the programs and services they need to thrive today. Mobilizing the network and other community support, United Way tackles #UNIGNORABLE issues linked to poverty. United Way’s work is rooted in ground-breaking research, strategic leadership, local advocacy and cross-sectoral partnerships committed to building lasting solutions to the GTA’s greatest challenges.

About the Barrett Family Foundation: The Barrett Family Foundation, founded by Bob and Francine Barrett, has been providing the children of their employees at Polytainers with post- secondary scholarships since 1986. Over time, the Foundation has grown to support programs in education, environment, humanitarian causes, health, and the arts. Working closely with partner organizations, the Barrett Family Foundation seeks to better serve people living on the margins so that they can face their futures with confidence and self-respect.

Media contact: Deena Douara, Communications Manager, United Way Greater Toronto

Office: (416) 777-1157 | Email: [email protected]


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