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Programs In Need Of Support

The YMCA of Greater Toronto has a 170-year track record of meeting our community’s most urgent needs — from housing to precarious employment, racism, inequity, and more.

You can be part of innovative solutions to challenges in your local community by supporting evidence-based YMCA programs that align with your passions, interests, and philanthropic aspirations.

Housing First For Youth

Why It Matters

Each night in Toronto, approximately 3,000 young individuals face homelessness. They contend with systemic barriers like racism, overincarceration, education gaps, and unemployment. These challenges lead to long-term poverty, poor health, and isolation. 

Join Us in Tackling Youth Homelessness

With donor and government support, the Y offers:

  • Streets to Homes: Outreach workers swiftly secure housing, helping youth develop support plans, navigate resources, and set personal goals from a strengths-based approach.
  • Units For Youth: Youth aged 16–24 get secure apartments through our partnerships, gaining independence, community integration, and housing stability with dedicated support.
  • The Wagner Green YMCA: A 42-bed emergency shelter and drop-in centre where underhoused youth gain safety, adult allies, essential life skills, education and employment supports, and help preparing to live in independent, stable housing of their own. In a typical year, we help around 240 youth find shelter and make over 15,000 connections with young people accessing our programs and services.
  • YMCA Sprott House: A safe home for up to twenty-five 2SLGBTQIA+ youth, working together for housing stability and a healthy adulthood, supported by trained staff and a close-knit community.

Meet Emmanuel

Watch to see how Emmanuel thrived at YMCA Sprott House.

Play video
Emmanuel story

How You Can Help

Your gift breaks the cycle of homelessness by providing dedicated wrap-around supports for underhoused youth. Donate to support daily-living and life-skills programming, including food prep, education, employment readiness, and financial literacy. Empower young people facing homelessness to overcome obstacles and find stability.

YMCA Refugee 
Youth Legal Fund 

Empower Young Refugees to Find Safety in Canada

Your support is crucial for young people in the GTA who are legally in Canada, seeking asylum as refugee claimants. These resilient youth are at a crucial crossroads in their lives, facing uncertainty and challenges.

Why Donate

Before embarking on their asylum journey, these youth do not qualify for federal government-funded supports. Your contribution to the YMCA Refugee Youth Legal Fund can make an immediate and lasting impact by providing vital legal assistance to young people in YMCA programs and shelters.

Transforming Lives Together

Your donation offers asylum, safety, and a sense of belonging in Canada to young refugee claimants in the Greater Toronto Area – youth like Jed who, like many others, fled severe threats in his home country. With the support of donors to the YMCA Refugee Youth Legal Fund, Jed gained protected person status here in Canada.

Double Your Impact

A generous donor will match the first $25,000 we raise with an additional $25,000 to help quickly replenish the legal fund.

Join us with your support, and be a beacon of hope for young refugees in the GTA.

YMCA Black Achievers Mentorship Program

Why It Matters

Many Black youth face significant challenges such as racism, discrimination, gun violence, and poverty. They encounter barriers in obtaining postsecondary qualifications, and young Black men are almost twice as likely as their peers to be unemployed or not engaged in education or training.
Encouraging Potential Through Mentorship

The YMCA Black Achievers Mentorship Program is a beacon of hope for Black youth facing these challenges. They gain allies in achieving their academic and career dreams. In our program, youth receive guidance from Black professionals, visit workplaces and post-secondary campuses, develop vital life skills, and gain a deeper understanding of Black history and cultures. We support and celebrate their outstanding post-secondary acceptances, career choices, and community involvements. Our evaluations demonstrate that participants significantly improve their social and professional networks, employability, communication skills, and goal-setting.

How You Can Help

Now, more than ever, your support is essential. One-time gifts, multi-year pledges, scholarship contributions, and an increase in mentors are urgently needed. The program is entirely funded by donors. Your generosity can help us clear the waitlist of Black youth in the GTA eager to join the program. 

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Make A Life-Changing Impact Today

Beyond the unique programs outlined above, the YMCA proudly partners with philanthropic leaders to co-create initiatives that meet urgent needs in our communities. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss personalized opportunities that will make a meaningful impact in the areas you care about most.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out today to discuss your giving.

Your YMCA Contact:
Renee Beneteau, CFRE
Vice President, Philanthropy