Media Release Template

If you’d like to reach out to local journalists, you can use this news release template.

TORONTO, ON - (February 2024)

Subject: Community space campaign launch for Toronto’s nonprofits, grassroots groups and collectives

Dear [Name of the recipient],

Toronto is home to Canada’s largest and most diverse concentration of nonprofits, grassroots groups and collectives. They play a critical role in ensuring the physical, mental, and financial well being of Torontonians. But they are being forced out of their neighbourhoods or closing at an alarming rate due to commercial landlords raising rents. On February 12th we’re launching a campaign to raise awareness of this issue.

Why it matters

Toronto risks losing its “community glue.” When community space is lost, it is not only a loss for the non-profit organizations that occupy them, but also the people these organizations employ, the communities they serve, and the cultural landscape and identity of the neighbourhood.

Toronto's nonprofits are best positioned to support the City's most vulnerable residents. But not if they cannot afford to remain in the neighbourhoods where they are needed.

The City of Toronto has a number of programs to support community organizations to deliver direct programs to local neighbourhoods that meet specific community needs. Toronto’s Community Space Tenancy and Community Coordination Plan Clusters programs are examples. But they are no longer enough.

Much more development in Toronto takes place by private developers. Across the City, as developers propose property developments and commercial landlords raise rents, small community groups are pushed out, with few options on where to go. Community consultations are not rigorous or consistent, leaving little space for local communities to advocate and have a voice at the development table. Space for these groups must be prioritized in any development planning processes.

What we are doing about it

The City can play a more active role in ensuring that both affordable housing and community & nonprofit spaces are maintained, created, and accessible in all of Toronto’s neighbourhoods. 

Today we are launching the #SpatialJusticeTO campaign to ask that the City prioritize nonprofit spaces in emerging and new development.

We have 3 specific recommendations for the City to implement in their Corporate Real Estate Management, Create TO, and Build Toronto programs. Implementing these will require action by City Council as well as City Staff:

  1. Establish city decision-making processes and targets that expand the opportunities for Toronto nonprofit organizations to steward land development and redevelopment projects in ways that advance public benefits (including affordable/accessible housing and community space).
  2. Ensure all municipal real estate and (re)development practices intentionally seek to expand access to secure and affordable community-use spaces for nonprofit community organizations and grassroots groups. This includes better community consultation processes and higher standard for assessing community services needs (space, programming) in areas around any development.
  3. Ensure a process for community consultations/community space needs before selling, leasing, or redeveloping publicly-owned lands - creating an impact report on the expansion or loss of affordable nonprofit community space, and associated community demands.

We know that you love the City as much as we do. We believe this is a story you and your readers will be interested in learning more about and a campaign they would want to amplify and contribute to.

If this sounds like a story you're interested in covering, email or call me directly at…

Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you,

[Your name]

[Your title, if it applies to your pitch]

[Your contact information]

Who are we?

The Toronto Nonprofit Network aims to create spaces where nonprofits and communities can flourish. We seek to bring together diverse nonprofits from across disciplines to address systematic issues that affect our sector, and to co-create solutions. We bridge the gap between the sector and government, elevating nonprofit voices in decision making processes. Toronto’s nonprofit sector has long been confronted with unique challenges related to access, development, and retention of spaces for community use. Prior to the pandemic, TNN identified access to space as a “founding and forever” issue, with almost 400 nonprofit organizations, representing a wide range of sectors, having indicated an interest in working on space-related issues together.

#SpatialJusticeTO Media Spokespeople:

Jin Huh - SPT [email protected]

Victor Willis - PARC [email protected]

Maureen Fair - West NH [email protected]

Bill Sinclair - TNGCS [email protected]

Relevant backgrounders and research

TNN Spatial Justice

City of Toronto Relationship with Not-For-Profits

Toronto Nonprofit Network: Priorities Survey (2020)

Just and Equitable Recovery Table Priorities Document

Greater Toronto 2022 Non-Profit Community Space Survey Results

Back to the Spatial Justice home page