United Way to provide $1.3 million to local non-profits in first phase of funding

GUELPH – United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin is providing $1.3 million in funding to local non-profit agencies and organizations as part of its new Community Impact Strategy.

Announced on April 6, the United Way’s first round of funding aims to “better respond to the community’s needs as we recover from the pandemic, address inequities and make funding more accessible,” officials say.

“United Way is very proud to be able to continue to support both the current needs of our community and its growing and diversifying needs,” stated executive director Glenna Banda in a press release.

“The past couple of years has really shown us how crucial our social services are to the wellbeing of our entire community and ensuring programs and services are there to support when needed is a critical part of our recovery.

“But perhaps even more importantly, the pandemic showed us that there were tremendous gaps in our system that require us to take a different approach to how we look at and address the root causes of issues like poverty.

“Our new Community Impact Strategy gives us the ability to do both.”

Officials say the $1.3 million in first-phase funding will be directed to programs and services that help children and youth, with a focus on emotional wellbeing, inclusion, mental health and connection to community supports.

There is also an increased investment in programs in Wellington and Dufferin counties, including The Grove Youth Wellness Hubs in Wellington and the Lived Experience Advisory Network in Dufferin.

“We are very excited about the opportunities ahead to work with our partners and support our community and again extend our gratitude to all the donors who supported the 2021 fundraising campaign that make this support possible,” stated Banda.

Funding decisions are made by a group of volunteers and officials say “some difficult decisions were required” recently due to the pandemic, which has impacted the ability of countless organizations to raise finds.

“We are committed to focussing the dollars we do have on the most pressing and critical issues our community is facing right now, but we recognize that in doing so some of the services our community has come to love and rely on will be impacted,” Banda stated.

“We are hopeful for the future though and believe that our communities’ resilience and commitment to social good will get us to the ‘radial recovery’ we all want and need.”

Officials say the next phase of United Way funding will include the first round of Community Action Grants and support for housing, food insecurity and income security through the “Poverty to Possibility” focus area.

Applications are to open next month to equity and rights seeking groups through a new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion funding stream.

“Supporting all who live in Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin is central to our organization and these new funding opportunities provide us the opportunity to give everyone an opportunity to be supported and thrive in our community,” stated Colleen Murdoch, director of community engagement and impact.

“There’s lots of exciting work to come, which means great things for our community.”

For more information or to make a donation, which officials stress always “stay 100% local,” visit unitedwayguelph.com or call 519-821-0571.