On the street, I walked everywhere with a shopping cart and collected scrap. But it got to a point where I couldn’t walk around anymore pushing carts. A friend told me about a United Way drop-in centre. The staff helped me get sober and find an apartment and my life is much better now. Everyone deserves a chance to have a roof over their head.

– Mike, United Way program participant



Ignite awareness and understanding of the root causes of our community’s social challenges to inform social planning and collaboration through storytelling, data analysis, research, evaluation and outcome measurement.

SDG's first goal - no poverty

Global impact starts with local love. Recognizing the importance of laddering up to the world’s biggest to-do list, United Way worked with the London Poverty Research Centre at King’s University College to map the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This local framework gave United Way-led London for All volunteers a shared language to use across sectors and a standard for assessing collaborations, gaps, duplications, and needs in our community.

Volunteers gained a deeper understanding of the context and consequences of poverty regionally, nationally and globally, helping them explore and implement best practices for creating change.

United Way Elgin Middlesex joined the ranks of living wage employers this year, signalling that paying people at least enough to meet basic needs for shelter, food and recreation is a critical investment in our community. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… “Paying a living wage is integral to our core values,” says Kelly Ziegner, President & CEO, United Way Elgin Middlesex. “We believe in a community where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential and that starts with our staff.”

Living Wage certificate presentation

Inspire contributions of dollars, influence, time and knowledge to social change in our community by individuals, donors, corporate partners, community organizations.

Sometimes, inspiration comes on two wheels.

What started off as a door prize at the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce July Business After 5 event, soon turned into Share the Ride, a rolling community awareness initiative and city-wide fundraiser for United Way.

When a stunning new cruiser bike was wheeled out to winner Angela Devries, she promptly auctioned her prize off to the highest bidder, with proceeds to United Way. Robert Furneaux placed the top bid of $450, owning the bike for a brief moment, before putting it up for auction again.

The virtuous chain reaction didn’t stop there. In the span of a few weeks, the bike had almost 20 owners, and travelled across St. Thomas before finding a permanent home with a “little” in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Thomas program, a United Way partner agency.

Share the Ride bike in support of United Way Elgin Middlesex

Share the Ride caught the attention of many eager to see where the bike would go next as it travelled from owner-to-owner across St. Thomas and Elgin. The grassroots campaign got people talking about United Way and raised $8,500 along the way.

Suitcase Party Takes Flight

On a chilly night in February, over 150 guests said YES to adventure and attended United Way’s first ever Suitcase Party at the ultracool Jet Aircraft Museum. Attendees enjoyed a live band, food trucks, local beverages and a chance to get whisked away on an all-expenses paid weekend getaway to New York City. This new adventure raised over $10,000 and introduced United Way to a whole new crowd.

Suitcase Party winners

Scotiabank StairClimb Rocks Out!

head-banging, stairclimbing rockstars

wanna-be bands

steps to the top of the charts!

StairClimb, #UNIGNORABLE guitar on display

Influence systems and policies through advocacy and by strengthening relationships with governments, corporate partners, community organizations and community networks.

As United Way wraps up the final year as lead agency for London For All, the City of London’s roadmap to end poverty in a generation, we’re celebrating more than a few successes.

A powerful example happened late last year. Acting on a London for All recommendation to eliminate the need for predatory lending, City of London Social Services implemented direct deposit for Ontario Works clients. More than 6,000 cheques were direct deposited into clients’ bank accounts or, for those without one, disbursed as payment cards. As a result, over $102,000 in service fees was diverted from payday lending businesses.

It’s simple solutions like this that showcase United Way’s ability to get the right partners working together to influence systems and policies. Other London for All successes include $555,420 invested in mental health and addiction services, 891 new licensed child care spaces, 1,374,048 subsidized bus rides for low-income Londoners, 19 Living Wage employers, and 159,000 kg of fresh food rescued and distributed to local agencies through the London Food Coalition.

“The work accomplished through London For All belongs to our entire community,” says Roxanne Riddell, Project Coordinator and Community Impact Specialist at United Way. “Together we have created positive changes towards ending poverty.” In total, 60 community partners and over 100 volunteers, including 38 people with lived/living experience, worked together on implementing 112 strategies over three years.

London for All wraps up in June 2020 with a report back to the City and the community.

Invest resources, including dollars, time and knowledge, in programs, services and community convening to strengthen social service networks and increase community capacity.

United Way gives everyone a fair shot at their best life. More than just raising dollars, we tackle local issues linked to poverty and social exclusion through strategic leadership, advocacy and investments at partner agencies proven to get results.

Last year, United Way:

  • Invested in 92 funded programs at 54 partner agencies.
  • Mobilized community wide collection drives that distributed over $350,000 in urgently needed supplies to local agencies. This included 813 pairs of winter boots for school-aged kids, 3,808 backpacks so that every kid can have a Best First Day, and 30,000+ menstrual hygiene products for women living in poverty.
  • Led collective impact projects like London for All, a roadmap to end poverty in a generation

Christy Bacik, 2019 United Way Campaign Chair and Chief ChangeMaker & Managing Director, Freedom 55 Financial, a division of Canada LifeI want to make sure help is there when our neighbours, friends and colleagues need it. Our community is counting on each and every one of us. Christy Bacik, 2019 United Way Campaign Chair and Chief ChangeMaker & Managing Director, Freedom 55 Financial, a division of Canada Life

Nadine and Chase, program participants


people accessed affordable housing, financial literacy training or emergency shelter, helping them meet urgent basic needs and work toward longterm solutions

Zoe and Cecil, program participant and donor

Day of Caring 2019

Local DoGooders hit the streets on June 6 armed with elbow grease and lots of local love for United Way’s Annual Day of Caring presented by Libro Credit Union

584 volunteers from 33
participating workplaces donated
2,884 hours to complete 34
agency projects for a total of
$72,100 in agency upgrades

Two young women


kids from low-income families spent a funfilled week at summer camp, learning new skills and making new friends





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Elgin office
103-10 Mondamin Street,
St. Thomas ON N5P 2V1
Ph: 519 631 3171

Middlesex office
409 King Street,
London ON N6B 1S5
Ph: 519 438 1721

Dakota Halfpenny2019-20 Impact Report