2022-2023 Teddy Bear Fund Report

Learn about your impact

Thank you!

Last year, your generous support of the Teddy Bear Fund made a remarkable difference. Together with all our Teddy Bear Fund donors, we invested $1.375 million to 18 programs delivered by the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto. Thanks to you, through these initiatives we had a profound impact on 2,421 children and youth and 1,049 families right here in our city.

The Teddy Bear Fund enables programming that improves the lives of young people in government care and transitioning out of government care, and helps prevent children from entering care by strengthening families affected by poverty, instability, domestic violence, mental health concerns, and other complex challenges. These innovative programs and initiatives provide support beyond the scope of the provincial government’s basic operational funding.

Your contributions play a crucial role in ensuring that the Teddy Bear Fund continues to create transformative, long-lasting impact for the children, youth and families we are dedicated to serving.

From everyone at Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for your generous investment in the Teddy Bear Fund. Your belief in the importance of giving every child every chance to thrive is deeply appreciated. Together, we can make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve. Thank you!

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Your Impact in 2022–2023

$1375000 granted

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Program Highlight: Caring Dads

A dad with sons

24 families supported, 44 children and youth supported

Fathers represent the vast majority of perpetrators in cases of domestic violence.

Yet most programs and interventions focus on the mothers or women who are the victims. Because of safety concerns, these men often end up isolated from their children.

In this system, the mother is solely responsible for the safety of her children; and men are not held responsible or accountable. As the situation continues, many fathers lose hope for a relationship with their children, which can manifest in frustrations and continued violence.

Caring Dads shifts the focus and accountability for children’s health and wellbeing to the father. The 17-week program delivered by Children’s Aid Society of Toronto works with fathers to help them understand and take responsibility for their actions and motivates them to change.

The program’s group sessions facilitate trust building among fathers, helping them understand the root causes and consequences of their behaviour, promote child-centred parenting, and educate fathers about the cyclical nature of abuse and neglect.

Caring Dads is reducing re-open rate of cases by half, and significantly improving father-child relationships. This vital initiative is one of the many programs funded by the Teddy Bear Fund and our generous donors.

James* recently completed his participation in the Caring Dads program at Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. Upon finishing the program, he told the facilitators that the experience was “amazing and inspiring,” and that it taught him a lot that he was not previously aware of in his parenting and partner relationship.

James shared that prior to participating in the program, his children were fearful of him. Now that he has learned about healthier approaches to parenting and relationship building, they are much more open to communicating with him and working together to solve issues when they arise. He is excited about having a more positive relationship with his children, and grateful to Caring Dads for supporting fathers in this way.

*Name changed for privacy

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Program Highlight: Freshmancare and Dare to Dream

StudentsWithout a family to support them, young people who grow up in government care face significant hurdles when it comes to accessing and completing post-secondary education.

65 students supported

To help address the challenges they face, the Teddy Bear Fund supports two key programs that work hand-in-hand to provide support and encouragement for young people entering a post-secondary institution for the first time: Freshmancare and Dare to Dream, both delivered by the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.

Freshmancare provides first year students with special care packages containing personal care necessities, as well as grocery gift cards throughout the year. Through Dare to Dream, students newly accepted to a post-secondary institution are celebrated at a special gathering with their social workers. This important initiative helps students feel recognized and proud of their accomplishments, and helps provides the motivation they need to pursue their goals.

The response to Freshmancare and Dare to Dream continues to be overwhelmingly positive. This year, many students commented on how meaningful and thoughtful the care packages are, as well the gift cards that come at a time when they’re needed most.

—Social worker administering the Freshmancare and Dare to Dream programs

I had the pleasure of delivering five Freshman care gift packages this year. Honestly it is such a great moment to see the smiles on the faces of our youth. They are so happy to be recognized, celebrated and to be acknowledged for their accomplishments.

They love getting the food, and felt that the gift boxes were individualized as the choices were perfect! Thank you for providing not only the gift boxes to the youth, but also as a worker being able to share in the excitement and celebration along with them!

—Social Worker administering the Freshmancare and Dare to Dream programs

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Program Highlight: Indigenous Spirit Fund

A young girlAs a result of systemic racism and intergenerational trauma, Indigenous youth are dramatically overrepresented in the child welfare system.

365 children, youth and families supported

In Canada today, over half of young people living in government care are Indigenous despite representing just eight per cent of Canada’s child population. To help address the unique needs of Indigenous children, youth and families living in Toronto, the Teddy Bear Fund supports the Indigenous Spirit Fund — a critical funding resource for programs and initiatives delivered by Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.

Last year, the Teddy Bear Fund directly supported the following Indigenous Spirit Fund priorities:

  • The Indigenous Spirit Awards, which recognize the exceptional work and contributions of Indigenous leaders and allies
  • On the Land Culture Camps, which aim to strengthen families and help them reconnect with Indigenous customs, culture, and traditions
  • Cultural Programs, which engage children and families in events and initiatives that celebrate, preserve, and teach about Indigenous culture

My daughter was astonished to see a real tipi, and being able to go inside, listen to stories, and play games. One night we accompanied a new friend/counsellor on an evening in one of the tipis, complete with a fire! As a camp, we built the first medicine wheel — one that will grow and grow with each set of campers over the years. The teachings were clear and concise, and building and learning about the medicine wheel with my child meant so much to both of us. It was a wonderful bonding moment that grew into many conversations at home with other family members.

—Parent who attended an On the Land Culture Camp with her child for the first time in 2022–2023 

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Youth Spotlight: Ian

Ian“I first entered care at 14 years old with my twin brother, Kyle. We were both getting in trouble at school, at home, and with the youth legal system. Our parents both struggled with bipolar disorder and poverty. After my father committed suicide and my foster parent moved away, I felt alone, scared, and could no longer work due to my state of mind. My child and youth worker at the time referred me to the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre (PARC), which is supported by the Teddy Bear Fund. It was there that I found counselling, housing support, funding for furniture, tools for my auto mechanic education, and even scholarships.

Today, I have an HR diploma from Sheridan College, own a business, and am working towards my sheet metal apprenticeship, while also going to school full-time. I have a great home life with my partner and our 10-year-old daughter.”

I truly don’t know where I would be now without the diligent support, genuine empathy, and love I found at PARC. The Teddy Bear Fund is truly saving and changing lives; thank you.

– Ian, former youth in care

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Donor Spotlight: Shael Kalef

ShaelIn 2022, we were thrilled to welcome Shael Kalef as the new Chair of the Teddy Bear Fund Committee. Shael, Managing Director, Global Markets at BMO Capital Markets, leads a dedicated group of volunteers committed to raising funds and support for the Teddy Bear Fund.

“Children and youth are our future, and we need to invest in them today to build a stronger, more resilient society for generations to come. I believe in making sustainable impact in the lives of young people experiencing obstacles to success.”

The Teddy Bear Fund is doing just that for our most vulnerable, and I’m excited for what’s next.

— Shael Kalef, Chair, Teddy Bear Fund Committee, Lead Donor and Campaign Cabinet member

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Celebrating Your Generosity!

A girl holding a teddy

Every single day, your contributions to the Teddy Bear Fund help change lives, strengthen families, and prevent more children from growing up in government care. We can’t thank you enough for breaking down barriers to well-being and opportunity, and providing hope for children, youth, and families in vulnerable situations across our city.

Thank you to our Teddy Bear Fund supporters!

This list represents commitments of $100,000 or more made within the first five years of the Teddy Bear Fund’s inception. 

  • Anonymous (2) 
  • Daniel & Kathryn Barclay 
  • Eric Bélanger & Marie Claude Prud’homme 
  • Lynn & Brent Belzberg 
  • Bradley Black  
  • Eric Blanchard & Olivia Holland 
  • Sheila Block 
  • Michael Bowick & Joanne Peters 
  • Bill Butt & Susan Quigley 
  • Judith & Marshall Cohen and Family 
  • Tracy Cooper & John Friedrichsen 
  • Maureen & Victor Dodig 
  • The K. Michael Edwards Family 
  • Lynn Factor & Sheldon Inwentash 
  • Richard (Dick) & Darleen Falconer 
  • Linda & Bob Goldberger 
  • In Memory of Muriel L. Gorrie 
  • Donald Guloien & Irene Boychuk 
  • Pruyn & Kelly Haskins 
  • Christina Kramer 
  • Fred & Donna Leslie 
  • Dougal & Barbara Macdonald 
  • Vineet & Trish Malhotra 
  • John & Gillian McArthur 
  • Leigh Merlo & Bill Bamber 
  • Rory & Julie Mitz 
  • The Four Oaks Foundation
  • John & Michelle Ovens 
  • The Pilosof Family and RP Investment Advisors 
  • Grant & Mona Rasmussen 
  • Cookie & Stephen Sandler 
  • Adam & Allison Sinclair 
  • In Memory of Pinkle Sturgeon 

This list represents commitments of $100,000 or more made from 2022 onwards. 

  • BMO Exchange Traded Funds 
  • The Gopaul Family 
  • Shael & Jennifer Kalef  
  • Ryan Marr  
  • Teddy Bear Adventure 
  • Shael Kalef, Chair 
  • Atif Ayub 
  • Brigette Delaney
  • Kevin Gopaul 
  • Caroline Madden  
  • Ryan Marr 

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Sources of funding in 2022–2023

Girl reading

Thank you!

The Teddy Bear Fund supports the immediate and urgent needs of children, youth and families in Toronto.

Learn more