A $15-million donation from The Slaight Family Foundation to United Way Greater
Toronto is breaking new ground in support for seniors as the largest individual gift in United Way’s history.
The Allan Slaight Seniors Fund will connect vulnerable seniors with community support to help them remain in their own homes and continue to be vital, active participants in our neighbourhoods. A first of its kind, the fund bridges the gap between the healthcare system and families by connecting seniors to United Way’s network of community agencies.
This $15-million gift over six years will focus on seniors who have difficulty accessing health and social services because of poverty or other barriers. At a time that can often be isolating, community agencies provide a critical circle of support to help seniors stay healthy longer, and close to home. United Way’s network of social, recreation and peer programs is aimed at reducing the isolation many seniors experience. Outreach programs help seniors navigate the health and community services they need to stay healthy and engaged. The Allan Slaight Seniors Fund will expand this network of supports and make it easier to access supports by coordinating programs available in the community, and integrating services.
“The Slaight family are game-changers,” said Daniele Zanotti, president & CEO, United Way Greater Toronto. “In 2009, the family broke ground with a foundational gift to United Way’s Youth Challenge Fund.
Today, this trailblazing gift from The Slaight Family Foundation is helping the GTA reimagine how we can support and empower seniors to remain active, vibrant and connected in their communities.”
This historic gift builds on Allan Slaight’s decades-long legacy of giving and community service. Starting in 1979, he volunteered for nine years with the United Way Greater Toronto Board of Directors. As chair of the 1985 United Way campaign, he led the organization to a record-breaking result and the highest year over year increase in United Way’s history. He was inducted into the Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1997, and in 2001 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.
“More than anything, this gift honours my dad,” said Gary Slaight, The Slaight Family Foundation. “His commitment to United Way’s mission to create opportunities and connection for everyone has always been important to our family. We think there is much more to be done to take care of the elderly in Toronto and we believe that the solution starts with community. The Slaight Family Foundation is pleased to honour Allan’s history and commitment to the work of the United Way with the creation of the Allan Slaight Seniors Fund.”
Seniors are the fastest growing age group in Ontario – and that population that is expected to double by 2041. Today, 34 per cent of the province’s seniors call the GTA home. In a stage of life where people need more support, challenges can be even greater for those who are vulnerable.
“Seniors have so much to give to their communities. But the reality is also that aging can be a difficult transition for people and their families,” said Ruth Crammond, Vice President, Community Investment & Development, United Way Greater Toronto. “And it’s even harder for vulnerable seniors and their families — navigating how to find support for the first time, communicating in a different language, or trying to get by on a low income. The Allan Slaight Seniors Fund will wrap seniors and their families with the support of community.”