Community Fund Grants

United Way Elgin Middlesex is the largest non-government funder of social services in the region we serve. Last year, more than $4.6 million dollars was granted through our Community Fund to support a network of programs and services that address pressing social issues in Elgin and Middlesex.

We have recently revised our Community Fund model to prioritize poverty reduction and prevention programs as well as to increase funding opportunities to organizations and programs that serve equity-seeking populations who are disproportionately affected by social challenges in our region. As part of our ongoing work to dismantle systems of racism and oppression in our region, the revised funding model is intended to be more inclusive and will be opened up to all registered charities meeting the criteria. This means that going forward, it will be an open, competitive process for funding from the UWEM Community Fund. The UWEM Community Fund serves City of London, Middlesex County, City of St Thomas and Elgin County.

Please continue to visit this page for updates regarding information sessions, application details, and deadlines.

Project funding stream

The application deadline has passed and applications are no longer being received.

Program funding stream

The application deadline has passed and applications are no longer being received.

Application support

Attend an information meeting to learn more about our funding opportunities.
Check back for upcoming meeting dates.

Book a coaching call to discuss your application.
Email Nadia Li, nli@unitedwayem.ca during open calls for applications.

Community Fund funding streams

As part of our Community Fund investment strategy, United Way Elgin Middlesex
will make two funding streams available through a competitive process:

Program funding (applications closed)

Program funding will support evidence-based poverty reduction and prevention programs and services serving equity-seeking populations in Elgin and Middlesex.

Grants in the program funding stream will be provided for a period of two years. Grants will be up to $300,000 annually per program. There is no minimum grant amount although it is recommended that agencies apply for grants of $15,000 or more. Funding agreements will start April 1, 2022 and end March 31, 2024. Agencies may apply for one to three programs in this funding stream; separate applications must be submitted to UWEM for each proposed program.

Program funding stream guidelines

Project funding (applications closed)

Project funding will provide one-time grants of $5,000 to $15,000 for poverty reduction and/or prevention projects. Project activities may include but are not limited to: pilot programs, program testing, program start-up costs, research and organizational capacity building. Funding agreements will start after April 1, 2022 and end on or before April 1, 2023. Agencies may apply for one project in this funding stream. Funding will be provided one-time only and is not renewable. 

Project funding stream guidelines

Eligible organizations

At present, UWEM is limited by the Income Tax Act to only fund registered charities and qualified donees as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency. We support amendments proposed via Bill S-222, “The Effective and Accountable Charities Act” which will enable us to create more equitable access to funding for grassroots organizations in the future.

Organizations must be providing service in Elgin Middlesex and preference will be given to organizations located in Elgin Middlesex.

Funding criteria

Funding applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Program aligns to UWEM’s Community Impact Strategy
  • Program reduces or prevents poverty in our community
  • Program prioritizes service to one or more equity-seeking populations
  • Program operates using the principle of ‘nothing for us without us’
  • Program is led by an organization that is sustainable, stable and strong
  • Program addresses an urgent need facing our community

The UWEM Community Fund serves City of London, Middlesex County, City of St Thomas and Elgin County.

Alignment to UWEM Community Impact Strategy

UWEM focuses on three impact areas through a poverty and equity lens:

  • From poverty to possibility – Meeting basic human needs and supporting people in moving out of poverty
  • All that kids can be – Helping children and youth reach their full potential
  • A strong community with resilient & healthy people – Supporting personal well-being and strengthening communities

More information about our impact areas can be found in our Community Impact Agenda

In addition to meeting poverty reduction and/or prevention requirements, the program must align with one impact area in the UWEM Community Impact Strategy. A program may have several objectives and may fit under more than one of the impact areas.
Agencies must select one impact area by considering the following:

  • Choose the area that most clearly aligns with the primary focus of the program
  • Choose the area for which the agency has the best ability to measure and report on. Successful applicants will be required to report outputs and outcomes for the impact area selected.

Poverty prevention and reduction

For all funding, UWEM emphasizes poverty as a way to focus our work and impact in the community.

UWEM defines the state of poverty as one in which income is too low to provide for an adequate standard of living. Poverty is about more than income and is also about exclusion from resources, opportunities, and connections. For UWEM, poverty is not always about an income-test or an income cut-off line.

For the purpose of this application process, poverty reduction and/or prevention programs must:

  • Serve people who are living in poverty and/or;
  • Serve people at risk of living in poverty and/or;
  • Lessen the effects of poverty and/or;
  • Prevent poverty and/or;
  • Reduce the incidence of poverty in our community and/or;
  • Address the root causes of poverty.

Equity-seeking populations

Poverty and other social challenges impact everyone, but some groups and communities are disproportionately impacted because of deeply embedded social and structural inequities. The ongoing legacy of systemic discrimination and racism continue to influence our current system of laws, our institutions, and our culture. As a result, many people in the community are denied opportunities to reach their full potential. These populations are considered to be equity-seeking.

For the purpose of this application process, UWEM has prioritized the following equity-seeking populations (in no specific order):

  • People with low income or living in poverty including children and youth
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Racialized communities
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Immigrants and refugees
  • People who live in rural or remote communities
  • Women and girls
  • People experiencing intimate partner or gender-based violence
  • People living with mental illness and/or addiction
  • Persons with disabilities
  • People who identify as 2SLGBTQ+ or non-binary

Principle of ‘nothing for us without us’

This principle recognizes that individuals with lived experience (and/or current program participants) know what is best for themselves and their community, and that their participation is integral to the success of the program. Therefore, when the principle is used, the agency allows the needs and aspirations of the people being served to guide their work by providing meaningful opportunities for participation in program planning, leadership, evaluation, promotion, etc.

Dakota HalfpennyCommunity Fund Grants