Given that we live and work in one of the most vibrant cities in the world, ULI Toronto members are constantly considering ways to interact with important local organizations and bodies active in the real estate development and land use fields to make ULI and its mission known to them, and to explore how ULI may work with them on areas of common concern. The Pro Bono program was developed in 2012 where deserving non-profit organizations received free mentorship and further financial support for important projects in the GTA. Most recently in 2018 ULI Toronto worked with the United Way of Greater Toronto in order help deliver on their community hub initiative.
United Way of Greater Toronto (Community Hubs)
This past year ULI brought together industry professionals to assist the United Way of Greater Toronto in the development of a Community Hub.
The Bridletowne Neighbourhood Centre Hub is to be located in the Finch & Warden area within the Agincourt Community. Development of the facility is being lead by the Scarborough and Rouge Hospital and the YMCA of Greater Toronto. The facility will contain a new chronic kidney disease facility to be operated by the Scarborough and Rough Hospital, a full-sized YMCA, offering health and fitness programs, day camps and a licensed child care centre, and a space for United Way agencies that offer social services, health promotion and cultural programs.
ULI’s Outreach Committee has been assisting the United Way with its piece of the project. The team has advised on issues such as zoning, planning and creating shared spaces, and assisted with the retention by United Way of an Advocate Architect to focus exclusively on the community-based services space. ULI will continue to serve in an advisory capacity throughout development of the facility.
Through this process, the Outreach Committee also developed a framework that can be replicated to bring ULI’s collective knowledge and experience for future Community Hub initiatives.
The John Howard Society
The John Howard Society created a plan to develop a Reintegration HUB that would offer assistance to individuals who are released from the Toronto Detention Centre in South Etobicoke. ULI Members assisted the John Howard Society with respect to building procurement, planning, legal and design issues related to this new facility.
Elizabeth Fry Toronto
Elizabeth Fry is based in downtown Toronto and provides support to women who are, have been or are at risk of coming into conflict with the law. Elizabeth Fry Toronto wanted to develop a strategic plan regarding its long-term space needs, including addressing organizational growth, increasing accessibility, allowing for more integration with like-minded community groups and becoming more community focused. ULI Members worked with Elizabeth Fry Toronto to develop this plan, including identifying any financial, planning or legal issues associated with these initiatives and suggesting some innovative options.
Each of these organizations has shown a commitment and passion for these very significant projects, each of which will positively impact the local community. However, each of these organizations has identified a need for the type of expertise that is held by ULI Toronto and its dedicated Members. ULI Toronto has met this need with the ULI Pro Bono Project and looks forward to continuing to work with these organizations to achieve these better places for Toronto.