Toronto-based organization WoodGreen Community Services is on a mission to ensure even the city’s most vulnerable residents have what they need when it comes to affordable housing, skills training, food security and so much more.

By Krystal Koo


Th e pandemic had a devastating impact on the lives of countless Torontonians whose needs remain unmet to this day. More than 300,000 residents say they have no one to turn to when they need help, according to the 2022 Toronto Social Capital Study.


To that end, there’s more to be done at the community level, which is why I’m helping to organize a gala to raise money for WoodGreen Community Services, one of the city ’s largest social-service agencies. Given the overwhelming disparity of wealth and equality in the city , I joined WoodGreen’s board of directors in 2018 to help champion the organization’s work, programs and human impact.


It is a great honour for me to create and host WoodGreen’s inaugural UNMET Gala, which was held this year on May 4. (Read more about the event here.) I have been working closely with them to ensure the success of this event, as WoodGreen’s work plays a critical role in promoting the health and vibrancy of our city . I firmly believe that all Torontonians deserve the opportunity to thrive, and I am committed to supporting WoodGreen’s mission through this gala. Held within the storied walls of the Royal Ontario Museum, it was truly unlike anything Toronto has ever seen, and we were able to shine a light on the transformative impact WoodGreen has had on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in our city .


Funds that were raised at the gala will ultimately support WoodGreen’s recently launched UNMET Needs campaign, which aims to raise $25 million to continue its work delivering support to the city ’s most vulnerable residents. Specifically, the campaign focuses on seven social support pillars: seniors’ affordable housing and community care; youth education, skills training and mental health and wellness; affordable housing for at-risk youth and marginal populations; childcare, housing, training and education for women and children fleeing abuse; training and employment for those who are unemployed or underemployed; newcomer refugee housing, skills training and other settlement services; and food and financial insecurity.


As a Toronto native and head of sales and marketing for the real estate company Dream, I’m always looking for ways to give back to my community. It’s especially meaningful when my volunteer work aligns with my professional work: housing Canadians. WoodGreen is the city ’s largest non-municipal affordable housing provider — and I’ve witnessed first-hand how life-changing its programs can be. The organization owns and manages 20 sites in the city where residents — from children to seniors from diverse backgrounds — can access a plethora of supportive services.


WoodGreen is a compassionate ally for so many. It serves 37,000 people each year through 75 programs and services, but the need continues to grow. As a result of the pandemic, community agencies like WoodGreen have been dealing with a dramatic increase in the demand for their services. Those in underserved neighbourhoods are disproportionately affected.


The amount of support the organization has received so far has been overwhelming. Th e Sprott Foundation recently donated $4 million to the campaign, the largest single gift in WoodGreen’s 86-year history. The funds will be used specifically to help deliver a new affordable seniors’ housing project.


Our work is just beginning, as the UNMET Needs campaign represents the largest fundraising effort the organization has ever launched. It has been an honour to celebrate and work with WoodGreen, which has improved the lives of so many and will continue to do so as its impact grows.


To learn more about WoodGreen, how to donate or to get involved in the UNMET Needs campaign, please visit