Christmas came early for the United Way on December 11, with three Emergency Task Force officers rappelling down the inside of Toronto Police headquarters with a $500,000 cheque.
Chief Bill Blair presented the fundraising total to United Way Toronto President & Chief Executive Officer Susan McIsaac.
The money represented Service members’ contribution to this year’s campaign.
“Wow, half a million dollars, that’s unbelievable,” was McIsaac’s reaction. “You have just outdone yourself… You just create so much momentum on the campaign. It’s fun, it’s inspiring and it’s sometime a little bit wacky, but it never lacks enthusiasm. Thank you so much for your generosity of time, leadership and support.”
Blair commended Service members for giving their time to make sure that the campaign is successful annually.
“One of the things that really binds us together is our commitment, within the Toronto Police Service, to support our partners in public safety, in the quality of people’s lives and to help make this a great city,” he said “Cops get the United Way because we are out in the those same neighbourhoods and communities every day. We are in all of those places, where those more than 200 agencies and services that the United Way supports are delivering important services to people who need it… It’s through the incredible support of those United Way agencies that those neighbourhoods are thriving and are good places. It’s not great for everybody, but it’s getting better.”
The Chief praised TPS fundraising chair Staff Superintendent Rick Stubbings for his leadership.
“He has brought energy, enthusiasm and extraordinary commitment to make this campaign work every year,” Blair added. “We are very proud of him.”
The TPS fundraising focus is primarily based on payroll deductions and special events that include the stationary bike race, the CN Tower climb, book drives and craft sales, local barbecues and bake sales.
Stubbings acknowledged his team for their dedicated volunteerism that contributed to improving the lives of citizens in the city.
“This is a time of year when individuals, teams and organizations take stock of their pressures and accomplishments and of themselves and, upon reflection, they ask themselves whether their efforts to achieve their desired results made a difference somehow,” said Stubbings. “Ultimately, they want to know if they were successful in accomplishing what they set out to do… Our uniformed and civilian staff do wonderful and meaningful work in addition to their day-to-day assignments throughout the Service. They do this because they believe in the value of the United Way and how the results they achieve have positive and direct impacts in building stronger communities that we serve everyday.”
Stubbings singled out Chief Blair for the guidance he has provided over his tenure as police chief that ends next year.
The Service raised $5.7 million with Blair at the helm since April 2005.
Over the past few years, artist and former TPS member Tim Packer has donated a painting, which is raffled as part of the Service’s fundraising campaign.
“Tim has given his time and talent to paint this original picture,” said Court Services supervisor Melissa Gibson, an integral part of the Service’s fundraising team. “To watch him create from nothing this beautiful piece of work is simply magical.”
Toronto Police Association (TPA) president Mike McCormack and Inspector Stu Eley, the head of the senior officers’ organization, attended the event.
To kick off this year’s campaign, the senior officers donated $500 and the TPA contributed $5,000.
“I am never shocked or surprised by how we always measure up or seem to do the right thing,” said McCormack. “That’s what we are known for in the police community.”
Marie Moliner represented the Toronto Police Services Board at the cheque presentation ceremony.
“I used to be on the United Way board and this is a campaign that’s very close to my heart,” she said. “My family has used United Way services. You never know what’s going on in people’s lives and each of you has given so generously to make a difference for others.”