Announcing Community Fund Program Grant Recipients

“The pandemic highlighted deep inequities in our community and the growing chasm between thriving and barely scraping by. Today’s investments focus on the most urgent needs people in our region are facing now.”

Kelly Ziegner, President & CEO, United Way Elgin Middlesex

New United Way grant recipients focus on poverty, equity

United Way announced funding today for 53 programs at 40 social service agencies, for a total investment of $4.65M in local communities. Grants prioritize poverty reduction and prevention and increase funding for programs that serve equity-seeking populations most affected by poverty and other social challenges in our region. 

Grants are the result of a more inclusive and competitive process open to all registered charities meeting the funding criteria. Launched in fall 2021, United Way’s new Community Fund model is integral to the organization’s ongoing work to reduce poverty and help dismantle systems of racism and oppression in our region.  

“The pandemic highlighted deep inequities in our community and the growing chasm between thriving and barely scraping by,” says Kelly Ziegner, President and CEO United Way Elgin Middlesex. “Today’s investments focus on the most urgent needs people in our region are facing now.” 

Highlights include more funding for:  

Indigenous-led programs — $426,602, or 9.1% of total funding (a 7% year-over-year increase), for three programs at Indigenous-led and -serving organizations N’Amerind Friendship Centre (1) and Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (2), including funding for the Ashamaawaso (she/he feeds a child) Food Security Program located at Nshwaasnangong Indigenous Family Centre. This investment is important as our organization begins more intentional work toward reconciliation. 

Intimate partner violence programs — $455,000, or 9.8% of total funding (a 2.1% year-over-year increase), for six programs at Anova, Changing Ways (2), London Abused Women’s Centre, St Thomas Elgin Second Stage Housing, Women’s Rural Resource Centre serving individuals and families experiencing intimate partner violence, an issue intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding includes programs specifically for women, children and men.

Housing stability programs — $316,410, or 6.7% of total funding (a 1.8% year-over-year increase) for housing stability programs at London Cares, Unity Project and YWCA Elgin-St. Thomas ($66,410). These programs provide one-to-one supports that are critical for helping people experiencing complex challenges stay housed. 

Education programs for children and youth — $270,000, or 5.8% of total funding (a 1.7% year-over-year increase) for education programs for children and youth, especially those facing barriers to success in education. Grants include BGC London’s Education & Leadership program and services for children and youth at the Learning Disabilities Association of London & Area.

Basic needs and emergency support — $805,000, or 17.3% of total funding (a 3.2 % year-over-year increase), for nine programs across the region that provide a ‘warm door’ to basic needs and other emergency support for people with low income or living in poverty. These programs are often the first point of contact for individuals and families in need of supplies, information and referral to other community services. Grant recipients include: CMHA Thames Valley, Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre, Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre, The Inn (St. Thomas), LUSO Community Services, Northwest London Resource Centre, South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre, Youth Opportunities Unlimited – Next Wave Youth Centre (Strathroy), Youth Opportunities Unlimited – Youth Action Centre.

A dedicated team of volunteers from across our region gave over 600 hours to the challenging process of reviewing grant applications and making funding recommendations.  

“We are grateful for the deep expertise and commitment of our allocations volunteers who reviewed 121 applications requesting almost $14 million in funding,” explained Ziegner. “It is clear that the need in our community is immense given funding requests outpaced grant dollars available by a ratio of 3:1.”   

Today’s announcement marks the first installment of United Way’s 2022-23 Community Fund grants in the new Program Stream which provides a two-year funding commitment to agencies for grants up to $300,000 annually. Funding flows April 1, 2022. A second stream of one-time, smaller Project grants of up to $15,000 will be announced in the spring.  

In addition to providing funding to support evidence-based poverty reduction and prevention programs and services serving equity-seeking populations in Elgin and Middlesex, United Way continues to be a leader in convening partners, providing expertise, and developing public policy recommendations to create long-term lasting change in our community.

“Addressing complex social issues requires complex strategies that bring everyone to the table to improve lives locally,” concluded Ziegner.

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