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Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions and answers

Our funding model is focused on immediate community need and local solutions to address those needs. There is an open call for applications every three months to fund the most relevant programs and organizations. We are continually learning and adapting in order to improve equity and inclusion in our processes and decisions. 

Applications are reviewed locally by our volunteer Community Investment team.

Once they receive funding, agencies report back to UWWRC bi-annually to ensure they are accountable and making positive change in the lives of those accessing service. This information is displayed on our website,

During the pandemic, United Way launched the emergency COVID-19 Community Response Fund, calling on any local registered charity or qualified donee to submit proposals for programs meeting immediate needs and offering rapid response to issues arising from COVID-19. As a trusted partner of the federal government, we also administered federal funds in keeping with criteria defined in consultation with the Government of Canada.

United Way is a community expert. We listen and learn from our community and take the time to understand what the key issues are facing Waterloo Region residents. Through this work, and through the scope of national United Way priority areas, the areas of basic needs, mental health, and social isolation have been identified as issues United Way WRC can and will make a positive impact in. By investing in a network of agencies in these 3 key areas, United Way creates a safety net of supports to help those that need it most. Additionally, we support key non-profit sector supports to help your donation go even further and be used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Since the pandemic hit in March 2020, United Way has been working with partners to respond to rising need in our community—particularly among the most vulnerable.

    1. We’ve delivered emergency funding to a network of agencies, enabling them to deliver services in new ways and meet the most urgent needs during these extraordinary times.
    2. We’re working in lockstep with government and agencies in Waterloo Region, tying our efforts to regional and municipal emergency response plans at local community coordination tables focused on priorities like food access, homelessness, seniors, youth, economic support and other vulnerable populations and emerging issues.
    3. Through our COVID Response Fund, along with other funders, we’ve approved over $800,000 in rapid response emergency funding to support 43 agencies across Waterloo Region.
    4. We continue to fundraise for our COVID Community Response Fund and invest those donations in critical community supports as they arise, including emergency housing and crisis mental health supports.
    5. As a trusted partner of the federal government, we administered $1,876,185 in federal emergency funds. 13 agencies and 3,593 people were helped with the $109,181 provided by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. The Emergency Community Support Fund, provided by Economic and Social Development Canada, supported 71 agencies, and impacted 56,257 people through our local allotment of $1,767,014.

In 2021 fundraising costs were 12% and administrative fees were 10%.

United Way’s financial strength and efficiency is due to extraordinary generosity from our donors, as well as grants, special events, sponsorship and pro- bono/discounted goods and services from partners—including advertising space, legal and financial services and office supplies. We are also in the very fortunate position of having dozens of volunteers who support our fundraising efforts annually. Together, these measures help us keep this number low.