Home » What We Do » COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Response

This is an unprecedented time in our community. But as a community, we have risen to unexpected and urgent challenges before. United Way has always played a role in convening and mobilizing people around the most pressing needs in our community and this time is no different.

During the pandemic, we have been working collaboratively with the Government of Canada, national and local non-profits, and funders to be the support that individuals and non-profits need.

COVID-19 Initiatives & Supports

Launched on Monday, March 16, 2020, the COVID-19 Community Response Fund supports the work of frontline organizations that are collectively striving to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are safe and healthy.

We know this pandemic disproportionately impacts certain populations and our goal is to raise funds for programs and services that will directly benefit these individuals.

By giving to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, you can provide support for frontline organizations, particularly those that aren’t always visible in our community but continue to provide critical support for the most vulnerable members in Waterloo Region.

Thanks to your generosity, in 2020, we were able to provide funding to $289,000 organizations through our COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

The Government of Canada’s $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) aims to help charities and non-profit organizations adapt and increase frontline services for vulnerable populations during COVID-19.

United Way Waterloo Region Communities is pleased to support this vital investment by the Government of Canada in critical services for vulnerable people in our community.

Together, the Canadian Red CrossCommunity Foundations of Canada and United Way Centraide Canada are collaborating with the Government of Canada to flow ECSF support to those who need it most right now.

Thanks to the Emergency Community Support Fund, we've been able to provide additional funding to $1,767,014 organizations here in Waterloo Region.

Number of programs or agencies supported: 71
Number of people served: 56,257

  • 413,585 meals served
  • 462 people sheltered
  • 210 individuals improved their literacy skills
  • 4957 youth learned how to build coping strategies for anxiety and mental health challenges

The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) provides grants and contributions for projects that help improve the well-being of seniors and foster their social inclusion. To provide more support for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada announced flexibility for organizations to use funding received through the NHSP community-based stream to provide immediate and essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19.


Funded by the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program, United Way Waterloo Region Communities is proud to have helped distribute $109,181 to our community in 2020 through this program.


Number of programs or agencies supported: 13 

Number of people served: 3,593  

  • 23,634 interventions provided = The number of times a vulnerable senior in our community was helped during the pandemic by services like having a meal delivered, receiving a care package, attending a wellness class, accessing mediation support, being checked on, and accessing mental health and other general health supports. 


United Way Waterloo Region Communities is proud to locally fund 211. 211 is a free and confidential helpline that ensures access to information about community and social programs in Waterloo Region is only a phone call away. Calls are answered 24/7 by a live operator trained to provide up-to-date and accurate information about services right here in your community. Simply call 2-1-1 or visit www.211ontario.ca.


Financial Relief Navigator

United Way Centride Canada is proud to support the Financial Relief Navigator (FRN), an English and French online tool providing a one-stop portal to help vulnerable Canadians access critical emergency benefits and financial relief from governments, financial institutions, telecoms and internet providers.

We are continuing to accept donations to our COVID-19 Community Response Fund. We are deeply grateful for any support you can give as it is truly making a difference in our community.