Lily is the Executive Director of NeighbourLink North York, a longstanding charity focused on helping people in Willowdale. Under her leadership, NeighbourLink North York has become a thriving community development organization, launching a food bank that serves over 100 families every month, starting youth development programs, and establishing major community-wide events, the Willowdale Christmas Market and Willowdale Winterfest.
A Willowdale resident for over a dozen years, Lily is a passionate, visionary leader in the community. Four years ago, Lily co-founded We Love Willowdale (WLW), a movement created after the tragic van attack to help the community grieve and heal. Her journey as a community organizer began 9 years ago with the founding of North York Moms, a thriving community on Facebook of over 10K moms.
A candidate in 2018 who earned the endorsement of the Toronto Star and placed second to the incumbent among 18 candidates, Lily has tirelessly worked for Willowdale for many years including spearheading the Willowdale Covid Response Network to support the community through the pandemic.
“The past few years under COVID have been difficult for Willowdale with an increase in anxiety, isolation and divisiveness in the community,” said Lily Cheng, Ward 18 Councillor Nominee. “I’m looking forward to running for city councillor, listening to the needs and priorities of my neighbours in Willowdale while sharing my vision of a more connected and unified community. I look forward to bringing a fresh voice paired with strong advocacy for the diverse community in Ward 18 at City Hall.”
Lily has a track record of identifying problems in Willowdale and taking action. Her advocacy led to the establishment of a much needed walkable Yonge and Sheppard EarlyOn Child and Family Centre. She has also established programs and support for challenges often overlooked by the government including seniors accessing grocery shopping support during the pandemic and food insecurity experienced by families. During the pandemic, she addressed social isolation by expanding Willowdale Neighbours Connect, an active online community she started for the neighbourhood that has helped many feel a deeper sense of belonging in Willowdale.
Her greatest strength is inspiring connectivity and participation in Willowdale towards the greater good and building the infrastructure necessary to make things happen. She looks forward to the opportunity to apply these skills to serving the community as city councillor.