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From children’s art contests and major public art initiatives to PPE donations and special home purchase offers for frontline workers, the real estate industry has been finding ways to support communities across the GTA in the fight against COVID-19. The latest initiative is the #YSMRelay by Toronto-based Capital Developments in support of the Yonge Street Mission (YSM), which specializes in the city’s poverty-related issues.

Like many non-for-profit organizations around the world, YSM has faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently operating on a weekly deficit of over $30,000. As the largest food bank in Toronto’s Downtown East, YSM has seen a 205 percent increase in demand since the pandemic began, and many of the people using their services are first-timers.

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To help the YSM during this particularly difficult time, Capital Developments is challenging its peers and partners in the corporate community to help sustain operations for the next 11 weeks by joining the #YSMRelay and raising a minimum goal of $330,000. The developer kickstarted the #YSMRelay by donating $30,000 to cover the first week, and now they’re passing the baton onto other corporate partners and leaders asking them to do the same.

“We have all been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, but our vulnerable communities have been hit especially hard,” said Jordan Dermer, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Capital Developments. “When we learned about YSM’s shortfall, Capital Developments decided to launch #YSMRelay to fundraise and help support the Mission’s vital work during these unprecedented times. We know that as a city, we can pass the baton to our corporate peers and partners, shine a light on YSM’s essential work and raise the necessary funds to help them sustain operations.”

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The relay was started last week and in just 48 hours, it had already surpassed the 50 percent mark with companies like Woodbourne Capital Management, EllisDon, St. Thomas Developments and Baker Real Estate stepping up and ‘accepting the baton.’

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