BMO Financial Group announced on Sept. 20 it would commit $10 million to United Way Greater Toronto to encourage economic growth in the Greater Toronto Area.

It has also launched an initiative to bring together business leaders “to work with community and come up with break-through approaches to reducing economic disparity in the region,” says the bank.

"This is the next step in strengthening GTA neighbourhoods and ensuring that everyone has access to opportunity – regardless of your postal code," said Daniele Zanotti, president and CEO, United Way Greater Toronto. "In the past decade, we've worked with communities to build Hubs, empowered residents to take action on local issues and promoted investment in neighbourhoods that are being left behind. But we can't do it alone. BMO's leadership with the private sector will ensure that we are creating inclusive local economic opportunities across Peel, Toronto and York.”

Private sector can play a catalytic role

"We have a long history of working closely with United Way Greater Toronto, most recently on their neighbourhood hub strategy, helping to make basic services available in neighbourhoods that needed more," said Darryl White, chief executive officer, BMO Financial Group. "With several major infrastructure projects on the books across Toronto, we must now move from addressing shortfalls to promoting economic opportunity. The insight driving this initiative is that the private sector can play a catalytic role to identify and enable the inclusive local economic growth that can come with these efforts."

BMO adds that in October, leaders from United Way, BMO and local businesses will begin meeting to propose ways “to ensure that the fruits of economic development are shared in all parts of the community, and not just its wealthiest neighbourhoods.”