2022 Toronto Social Capital Study Underscores Importance of Connections

22 November 2022

A lead study partner, the YMCA of Greater Toronto re-commits its efforts to boost well-being and promote equity through diverse and responsive programs and services

At the launch of the 2022 Toronto Social Capital Study, released by Toronto Foundation, the Environics Institute and 15 partners today, the YMCA of Greater Toronto recommitted to its efforts to boost well-being and promote equity in response to findings that underscore the importance of connection.

The Y is one of 17 leading organizations that supported the study – the second-ever and most in-depth look at social capital in the city. Social capital measures the connection we feel to our city and each other.

The charity’s 2020 to 2025 strategic plan, Ignite the Light, focuses on boosting well-being and promoting equity in the Greater Toronto Area. Improving connections is an important part of social capital and it’s embedded in all of the Y’s programs including its shelter, employment, newcomer, child care, camp and health and fitness programs.

“One essential dimension of social capital is the presence and quality of personal connections that individuals have with others through their social networks, including both family and friends,” said Jamison Steeve, Chief Strategy Officer of the YMCA of Greater Toronto. “The Y is all about building community so our efforts are at the heart of social capital. This study affirms the importance and impact of what we’re doing and inspires us to double down on our efforts particularly for citizens who face more obstacles than others.”

The YMCA of Greater Toronto has a 170-year history of stepping up for the community during times of need, adapting and responding to community needs. Since the release of the first Social Capital report, the Y’s efforts have included:

  • In response to a growing number of isolated seniors the Y launched the Bright Spot, an online community for older adults.
  • When the pandemic forced the temporary closure of many physical spaces, the charity launched virtual programs from camp and children’s story time to online fitness. The Y also provided emergency child care for essential workers.
  • The charity found creative ways to use its spaces to meet changing community needs including opening food banks, serving as COVID vaccination clinics and testing sites.
  • The Y is building more Centres of Community where people can make social connections that improve their well-being. This year it opened The Y at the David Braley Vaughan Centre and the Steve and Sally Stavro Family YMCA in the Beaches. Its McDonald Family Y is under construction at Richmond Street West and Spadina Avenue in Toronto.
  • It has been rebuilding youth-focused in person programs in the wake of the pandemic including free YMCA Teen Nights and its Youth Leadership Development programs.
  • As part of our efforts to confront anti-Black racism, it launched the YMCA Black Achievers Mentorship program for youth.

These efforts are made possible by the commitment of employees, volunteers, funders, donors, and community partners.

To read the full 2022 Toronto Social Capital Study visit torontofoundation.ca/socialcapital.

About the YMCA of Greater Toronto

The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity that ignites the potential in people, helping them grow, lead and give back to their communities. For 170 years, the YMCA of Greater Toronto has provided opportunities for people to shine through a variety of programs and services including health and fitness, licensed child care, camps, employment and immigrant services, education and training, and services for youth, families and seniors. Promoting equity and boosting well-being across more than 440 locations in the Greater Toronto Area, the Y is a leading charity that helps everyone shine. For more information visit ymcagta.org.