Forty Years of Inspired Leadership, and Community Engagement at ACSA

Dear Friends,

Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA) is celebrating forty great years being part of the Scarborough Agincourt community.  Today, ACSA is thriving because of its dedicated staff, volunteers, residents and board members, and our generous funders and donors.  Since its founding in 1974, the agency has stood for creating strong and thriving neighbourhoods, where children and youth have every opportunity to become leaders, a warm meal and a shower for those without shelter, and where newcomers can fulfill their dreams of a new life in Toronto.

Over the years, ACSA has provided programs and services, provided hope and shared its spaces with the community.  ACSA has grown and adapted to the changing needs of our community.  ACSA has welcomed thousands of new comers to the region, provided programs and services to families, children, youth, homeless and the most vulnerable in our community.  ACSA has developed innovative programs to support forced marriage projects, gang violence through multi systemic therapy, mental health related initiative, and tax clinics that have brought dollars back into the community.  And most recently, it is the anchor partner at the Dorset Park Hub in the Neighbourhood Hubs initiative in partnership with the United Way.

At the core, ACSA’s values have remained rooted in community with the goal of social justice for those we serve. These values of compassion and respect, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, responsiveness, and collaboration will take ACSA and its communities into the future.

Today, Toronto is faced with real challenges that require vision, and inspired leadership:

  • 50% of Torontonians indicate they are in precarious work situations
  • Almost 60% of Toronto’s neighbourhoods are expected to drift towards low or very low income status by 2025
  • Newcomers and their children will account for three-quarters of the city’s population within 20 years. At the same time, new immigrants are taking longer than ever to enter the economic mainstream
  • Youth unemployment has been on the rise for more than a decade, up 51% since 2001
  • Toronto is aging. The shrinking proportion of working age adults will place unprecedented strain on social services and health care;
  • The skills of job-seekers and the needs of local employers remain misaligned with heavy consequences for the city’s economy
  • Housing is increasingly unaffordable; wait lists for social housing are at an all-time high;
  • Traffic congestion is now worse than Los Angeles, with commuting times expected to skyrocket without significant long-term investment.

For many, the future of Toronto will depend on whether the city decides to accept the fiscal and social costs of growing polarization, or whether it finds the instruments and resources necessary to change course.

More than ever, we need to come together as funders, donors, members, residents, staff and board – the community to see through these challenge to build an even stronger and healthier community. The board and staff are committed to serve the needs of the Agincourt Community, Scarborough, and Toronto.  The generosity of our funders, donors and members allow ACSA to meet these goals on behalf of the community.  We seek your support and urge each and every one of you to join us on this journey towards a strong and prosperous community for all.

This year also brings to a close my time on the Board and as Chair.  I have had the privilege to be part of ACSA for the last six years.  I see opportunities on the horizon for ACSA and a strong ACSA community ready to take on the challenge of the next forty years.  It’s our job to stay ahead of the curve – to find new and even more effective ways to provide creative solutions to the challenges we face, steward the funds entrusted to us and to invest them wisely and hold ourselves accountable to each and every one of you.

With your support, the best is yet to come for ACSA.

Vinitha Gengatharan