United for Impact

Thank you to our incredible volunteers

The volunteers we have the pleasure of working with every day are the backbone of our organization. From our Board of Directors and Campaign Cabinet to Workplace Champions and Allocations Committee, the generosity and commitment of our volunteers is inspiring. They are leaders, advocates, donors and cheerleaders. They are the heartbeat of our organization.  

The work we do in our community each and every day is made possible because our volunteers give their time, expertise and passion, making sure that those most vulnerable have a fair shot at a good life.

A unifying force, this amazing group of individuals work tirelessly to help their neighbours and enable United Way Elgin Middlesex to invest funds and drive impact across our community.  

To the hundreds of volunteers we worked with last year, thank you!

You need empathy

Joan’s morning routine is as familiar as it is rewarding: eat breakfast, drink a cup of tea (black, no sugar) and then head out to meet friends at My Sisters’ Place or the London Coffee House. 

“Most times, it’s fun, enjoyable, comradeship. It’s invigorating,” she says, then throws her head back in a laugh. “When I’m with the girls – oh, we laugh ourselves silly.” 

Her description is different from how you might imagine My Sisters’ Place and the Coffee House, where women and men who experience homelessness or are at risk of homelessness can find support, basic needs and friendship. 

That’s when things fall apart. 

Not so long ago, Joan would have thought differently about the drop-in sites too, if she’d even thought about them at all. That was when she had a job she loved, an apartment and good health. 

Then things came apart. She fell and broke her hip, spent 2-1/2 months in hospital, lost her job and lost her apartment. Joan lived in her car for three months before connecting with local agencies, transitional housing and, more recently, the seniors’ apartment where she lives. It has been a long haul. 

That fall totally changed my life. Before, I might see people down on their luck and think, ‘get a job,’ but now I understand. You need empathy and respect for every single person because everyone has a different story.” 

Joan, participant and volunteer at My Sisters’ Place and London Coffee House

Joan, participant and volunteer at My Sisters’ Place and London Coffee House

Addressing issues connected to poverty.

Poverty is not just a statistic; it’s a complex issue that affects so many in our community. Imagine the daily struggles of our neighbors in Elgin Middlesex: the anxiety of not knowing if there will be enough food to feed their families, the constant worry of maintaining a stable home or the uphill battle of finding equitable opportunities that can truly transform their lives. 

In tackling poverty, we understand that there’s no quick fix. It’s a journey that demands a deliberate and compassionate strategy, balancing immediate relief with sustainable, long-term solutions, and it can’t be done alone. 

At United Way Elgin Middlesex, we have witnessed both the hardships and the resilience of our community. Through collaboration and innovation, significant strides have been made. We’ve seen the power of united efforts in bringing about meaningful change. Yet, we recognize that the path ahead is long, and the work is far from finished. 

Our commitment to alleviating poverty is steadfast. We are deeply invested in creating a brighter future for all, ensuring that every step we take brings us closer to a community where everyone has what they need. We are: 


Stewarding donations locally to 39 agencies and 44 programs and services, enabling our friends and neighbours to access needed supports 


Using our voice to keep poverty and equity-related issues front and centre at all levels of government


Bringing together representatives from government, non-profits, private sector and labour to develop long-term and sustainable strategies to address poverty

From poverty to possibility 

Collage of images: Kid at the market, participant at The INN in St. Thomas and volunteers getting food ready at London Coffee House

Poverty is the connecting thread to so many of the challenges experienced by children through to seniors in our community. Our commitment to addressing the interconnected issues that come with poverty is unwavering. We invest in programs designed to meet urgent needs and promote independence and long-term financial stability. 

Things such as providing transportation across rural communities, helping community members find a place to sleep, increasing access to healthy and culturally appropriate food or helping people feel safe in their own home, United Way Elgin Middlesex remains committed to supporting those most vulnerable access what they need, when they need it.

Advocacy is a key component of the work we do to affect long-term change with respect to poverty. Last year, United Way proudly launched the Make it Livable advocacy campaign, designed to persuade the Ontario government to double social assistance rates across our community.

Make it Livable, United in ActionMore than 100 people learned from experts and the voices of lived experience at a town hall and 1400+ individuals and organizations took action by endorsing our recommendations or writing their local MPP. In the end, we were pleased to see in the provincial budget that the Ontario Disability Support Program will be indexed to inflation going forward, but we know that this measure does not go far enough in addressing the dire circumstances too many face and this measure doesn’t apply to those accessing Ontario Works. So, our work here continues through increased advocacy and plans to expand our Make it Livable Campaign. Stay tuned!

Our Impact

maintain their housing with support through housing stability programs.

meals and snacks were provided.

clients received support through rural transportation programs in the county.

Box icon32,736
food boxes / food hampers were provided.

Bed icon365
shelter nights were provided.

All That Kids Can Be

Collage of images: group of young boys gardening with Type Diabeat-It a program in London, a kid at camp and kids at school

Imagine a community where every child has the foundation to thrive, where their potential is nurtured from the very beginning and they have access to the supports they need to live their best life, right from the start. Providing our kids and youth with a strong start in life means a brighter future for all. Moreover, ensuring new parents and parent-figures have access to supports to help them lift and guide the next generation, equipping them with the skills they need to raise the next generation.  

When we invest in kids and their support system from the start, we decrease the likelihood of them facing more challenges and hardships later on. Early intervention and continuous support can pave the way for smoother paths and more resilient futures. That’s why we continue to invest in education, recreation and social programs for children and youth, while also funding support and parenting programs for their parents and caregivers.  

Through programming designed for youth ages 7 – 18 living with learning disabilities and ADHD, the Learning Disabilities Association of London Region knows well how important it is to take an inclusive approach to service delivery that will enable children and youth to reach their full potential, regardless of any complexities they navigate through on daily basis.  

Through programming, advocacy and counselling, the Learning Disabilities Association of London Region believes in creating inclusive communities for all across Elgin Middlesex and so do we! 

The program gave him someone to talk to and receive support from. A very positive experience for my son that made him more enthusiastic about school. He put in place new techniques that made school life more manageable for him.
– Parent of student attending Learning Disabilities Association of London Region

Our Impact

children and youth received
help to ensure they can
reach their full potential.

children and youth
increased their literacy
and numeracy skills.

children and youth who
have increased their
physical activity.

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children and youth
from low-income families
increased their access
to healthy food.

A strong community with
resilient and healthy people

Collage of images: two young women walking, older women participant at London’s Chinese Canadian National Council and teens in a counselling session

At United Way, our unwavering dedication to promoting the health and well-being of every individual and family in our community drives our mission forward. Our targeted investments provide essential support for those facing mental health challenges, requiring crisis intervention, or experiencing social exclusion due to gender, sexual orientation, economic status, religion, or ethnicity to name a few. Addressing these critical issues is fundamental to building a healthier, more inclusive society. Our commitment includes tackling gender-based violence and fostering robust neighborhood and community development. By offering individual and family counseling, as well as support for those experiencing intimate partner violence, we strive to create a safer, more supportive environment for all.

In addition, United Way has been purposeful in increasing our investments and support for Indigenous peoples, with a steadfast focus on reconciliation and justice. We understand the importance of uplifting Indigenous communities and ensuring our efforts contribute to healing and empowerment.

Our comprehensive approach has been developed so that every individual, regardless of their background or circumstances, has access to the resources needed to thrive. By prioritizing health, well-being, and inclusivity, United Way is committed to shaping a future where everyone in our community can lead a fulfilling and prosperous life.

211 OntarioOften times, many people need support but may not know where to start. 211 is a vital service that connects people to information in more than 150 languages, 365 days a year and is free, confidential and can be accessed by phone, chat, text and web.

For people who are struggling with mental health and substance abuse or needs to find safe housing or shelter, 211 is at the ready to point people in the right direction to programs and services that can help. This incredible service is co-funded by United Way Centraide Canada including United Way Elgin Middlesex.

An older client called 211 and expressed feelings of depression and hopelessness. They disclosed that they were living with bipolar disorder and struggling with thoughts of suicide. After a safety assessment, the 211 Navigator offered to connect them with the Distress Centre.” (Source 211ontario.ca)

Our Impact

individuals were provided with safety features such as locks for doors.

professional interpretation sessions were provided to reduce language barriers for newcomers.

individuals feel more informed and involved in their neighbourhood.

Knowledge Icon14,763
individuals have an increased knowledge of community-based supports.

Cope Icon 3,983
individuals have an increased ability to cope.

Building a Fabric of Support for our Community

Collage of images: United Way alumni SEs, Life Time Achievement ChangeMakers Award winner, Jeff Macoun and group of 2023 Campaign Cabinet volunteers at Harvest Lunch

Our work is more than just providing resources; it’s about restoring dignity and hope. We help people feel truly at home, whether it’s through improving living conditions or fostering a sense of belonging. Our mission is to support those most vulnerable, ensuring they have what they need to not just survive, but to thrive.

Through every initiative and every partnership, we remain dedicated to weaving a stronger, more resilient fabric of support for our community. Together, we are creating a tapestry of hope and opportunity, where every thread strengthens the whole.

 Investing for Impactred - 100% Local. Always.

At United Way Elgin Middlesex we are committed to reducing and preventing poverty and serving equity-deserving populations through investments in local agencies, regional-based initiatives, Indigenous collaborations and strategic projects.

At the centre of all of our investments is our dedication to giving everyone a fair shot at a good life through three specific areas of focus: poverty, kids and community.

Serving our community, 2024-26 community investmentsThis pie chart is reflective of the investments we made in our three impact areas, totalling $4.2 million. But there is so much more that we do.

Because of you

These investments could not be made possible without the generosity of our incredible donors. Whether you have made a gift through payroll, bought tickets to a special event at your workplace, participated in community investments or called our office, we cannot thank you enough for your gifts.

Because of you, people in our community have accessed assistance to build job skills and financial stability. Children and youth have increased their literacy skills and built social networks. People struggling with mental health have gained skills to help them navigate through difficult days, and people needing a place to stay have found shelter.

Because of you, our community is united in helping give everyone a fair shot at a good life. Thank you!

2023-24 Impact Report cover image

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Dakota Halfpenny2023-24 Impact Report