Friday, September 25, 2020 – The national network of local United Way Centraides, in partnership with United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC), have disbursed more than $101M through the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF). The ECSF was created in response to the sudden and critical need for community services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund has equipped 3,592 programs to meet the immediate and pressing needs of vulnerable people caused or exacerbated by COVID-19. As of Sept. 25, UWC has distributed all of the available funds.

UWCC is one of three intermediary organizations* administering a portion of the ECSF, a $350M investment announced by the Government of Canada on April 21, 2020. The ECSF was designed to help charities and non-profit adapt frontline services supporting vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic in all regions of Canada.

UWCC launched its portion of the ECSF granting program on May 19, through an open application process administered by our national network of 77 local United Way and Centraide members, reaching more than 5,000 communities from coast to coast to coast. Equipped with an intimate knowledge of local issues and strong connections to local community service networks, United Way Centraides were able to make rapid, informed decisions and disburse the majority of the funds throughout the summer months to provide emergency relief to those who need it most.

Every year, United Ways and Centraides make sustained investments in more than 3,000 community service organizations across the country. For the ECSF, United Ways and Centraides gave special consideration to new community partners outside their traditional funded agencies to ensure that support was broad and considered the needs of all vulnerable groups affected by the pandemic. Of the 3,592 programs funded across the country, 1,867 (52%) are new community partners to our network.

Through the ECSF, United Way Centraide has distributed funds to help bridge the service gap in communities like Thompson, Manitoba where a $45,000 grant has been put to work at a youth-services agency to provide food security, and mental health supports. In all regions and territories of Canada, in communities large and small, rural and remote, grants have been made to ensure vulnerable people have the supports they need, like in Corner Brook, Newfoundland where funding has provided a boost for food security and social isolation programs, and in Hamilton, Ontario where multiple grants were made to strengthen the gamut of community supports.

Check out this interactive map to see the full scope of local community investments to date:
The vulnerable populations served most by the programs that received funding include people living with low income or in poverty; children and youth aged 0-18; seniors and elders not in care; people living with mental illness; and young people aged 19-29 who require support for daily living or who are living in unstable situations.

Programs supported by population group

Programs supported by population group

The most frequently funded service categories include food security, social inclusion and learning and mental health and wellness, along with other needs such as health and hygiene, transportation, and housing support.

UWCC is pleased to work in partnership with Employment and Social Development Canada to deliver this vital funding to vulnerable Canadians. The cost to administer this program by the United Way Centraide network, including implementation and reporting, has been covered by 9.23% of the fund.



The Emergency Community Support Fund is funded by the Government of Canada.

*The Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada are also disbursing funds from the ECSF through separate granting streams.