2020 Impact Report

When everything stopped, your support kept us going. See how faith, hope and love transformed children’s lives in 2020.

Our Mission

We exist to increase resiliency and inspire BIG dreams for Canadian children living in low-income communities by providing inspirational experiences and nurturing personal relationships, one child at a time.

Our Big Dream

That one day, in the not so distant future, we will see the end of child poverty in Canada and every child would have equal opportunity to thrive, to dream big and to reach their full potential.

Our Values

We are a people of FAITH
We are a community of HOPE
We are servants of LOVE

Message from the Executive Director & Board Chair

Last year more than ever, our children needed the love and support of their community to get them through the isolation, disappointment and hardships of the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to your generous hearts, we were able to give them just that.

We decided early on that, rather than focus on the growing list of things we could no longer do, we wanted to search for silver linings and devote all our efforts to the things we could do to move our mission forward.

For all the challenges and uncertainty 2020 threw our way, your unwavering support allowed us to adapt and innovate new programs and initiatives to meet our kids’ physical, emotional, and psychological needs. 

We delivered thousands of meals to hungry children. We created faith-based, interactive online entertainment for our cooped-up kids. We brought the CityKidz experience, complete with food, prizes, dance and song right to families’ front doors. We connected with isolated, anxious youth and offered guidance, games, and laughter. We showed vulnerable children that they were loved.

We are so grateful to this community of hope for sticking with us through the turbulent year that was 2020. To our volunteers, who were up for anything and eager to help whenever and however they could: we are awed by your compassion and dedication. To our Miracle Sunday churches, who faithfully prayed and generously gave: we are inspired by the way you put your faith into action to uplift our community. To our donors, big and small, who answered our calls for support: we are humbled by your generosity. 

Thank you for all your love and support in 2020. Thank you for empowering resilience in our organization and the children we serve. 

Thank you for transforming lives.

Todd Bender

Rev. Todd Bender
Founder & Executive Director

Cathy Signature

Cathy O’Donnell
Chair of Board of Directors

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2020 Highlights

Kids receiving gifts

Toys were gifted to children in the Hamilton community at Christmas.

Kids with masks

Children were treated to pop-up programming right at their front doors.

Child laughing

Youth joined us for small pizza parties across the city.

Kids receiving packages

Children received a tasty Christmas lunch.

Child receiving birthday gift

Children received a birthday gift.


24 Youth received an Education Fund Scholarship.

Families receiving packages

CityKidz families received a special Christmas package.

Care kits

Families received personalized care kits with daily essentials and fun activities.


Youth participated in online mentorship sessions.

Weston Family Scholars

Since 2015, the Weston Family Scholarship has provided financial support to dozens of CityKidz alumni to help fund their college and university education. The scholarship gives students the flexibility to use the funding wherever it will most empower their educational pursuits. Recipients have used the scholarship to help offset the cost of everything from tuition and textbooks to tutors and transportation. 

In 2020, nine new ambitious teens took a big leap towards realizing their dreams by starting their post-secondary education at schools across Ontario.  

Idman Ali
Anderson College
Medical Lab Technology

Arielle Guerrier
Mohawk College
Advertising & Marketing Communications

Nathaniel Kampia
Mohawk College

Salamewit Kefte
McMaster University
Social Studies

Baby Clae
Mohawk College
Advertising & Marketing Communications

Ellene Molla
University of Waterloo
Recreation & Leisure Studies

Amy Che
Laurier University
Youth & Children Studies

Legeset Kefte
Mohawk College
Child & Youth Care

Chelsea Opperman
Lakehead University
Concurrent Education & French

Additionally, six new grade 11 and 12 students received one-time grants to honour their academic commitments and embolden them towards post-secondary education:

Aldo Fonseca

Athena Goodale

Chantel Cairns

Dajanah Witter

Emily Felaire

Randy MacNeill

Premier Supporter

Diamond Corporate Partners

Gold Corporate Partners

Bronze Corporate Partners

Foundations & Grants

Thank you so much to the generous foundations and grants who believe in the incredible potential of our amazing CityKidz children and youth.

ArcelorMittal Foundations

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities

Charity of Hope

Government of Canada’s Emergency Support Fund

Enterprise Holdings Foundation

GWD Foundation for Kids

Hamilton Community Foundation

Niagara Community Foundation

Weston Family Foundation

Financial Report

Everything we do at CityKidz is made possible by the financial support of our community. Donors, big and small, are the reason we are able to reach children with programs that inspire them towards their full potential and a poverty-free future.

We are honoured by your generosity and trust. We take seriously our responsibility to use your investments efficiently and in ways that make a demonstrable difference in the lives of the children we serve.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, in 2020 you gifted us with $2,182,570 to support our community through a difficult year. Additionally, CityKidz received a Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy of $465,682 between March and November to ensure the continued delivery of our programs throughout 2021.

Last year, $1,765,197 of our revenue went directly towards new projects and programs developed to help our children through the pandemic. The rest was used to cover the operating expenses – including building, fundraising, and administrative expenses – necessary to bring our programs to life.

For additional information, please read our 2020 Financial Statements.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering will continue to look a little different in 2021 as we put the health and safety of our community first, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fantastic ways for you to get involved and make a lasting difference in the lives of Hamilton children! To join our volunteer team, please contact volunteer@citykidz.ca for more information.

Meal and Care Kit Assembly
If you’ve got a couple hours to spare, we would greatly appreciate your help in assembling Care Kits and Family Meal Kits. These kits are packed with essential resources, fun activities, and nourishing food, as well as other daily necessities and uplifting surprises to support our families’ well-being.

Food Prep
No cooking skills required! We’re looking for friends to help us with food preparation and lunch assembly to make sure all our kids get something yummy and nourishing to eat every time we come to visit.

Bus Drivers
Even though we’re not driving kids to o ur theatres just yet, we still need bus drivers to help us deliver birthday and Christmas presents, supplies for neighbourhood events, and our volunteer teams to the neighbourhoods they serve.

Become a Monthly Donor

Becoming a Monthly Donor means joining a Community of Hope committed to seeing an end to child poverty in Hamilton. It is a personal commitment to the long-term, sustainable well-being of the most vulnerable children in our city. 

When we can depend on you, our kids can depend on us. 

Your monthly support provides children with weekly home visits, transportation (when it is safe to return to our theatres), and life-changing programs, as well as nurturing mentors and role models. It allows us to be there for children and youth, both in their moments of struggle and times of celebration, from before they start school through to young adulthood. 

Reliable monthly giving enables us to plan ahead. It allows us to nurture long-term, transformative relationships that build resilience and help children to thrive. It empowers us to go deeper in our relationships and programming to have a meaningful and enduring impact on the lives of our amazing children.

Volunteers Transform Lives

Whatever your time, whatever your talents, you can make a transformative difference in a child’s life.

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