$1.26M Invested by United Way in Local Agencies to Help Vulnerable People Impacted by the Pandemic


July 29, 2020


$1.26M Invested by United Way in Local Agencies to Help Vulnerable People Impacted by the Pandemic

United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island (UWCNVI) has granted $1,260,000 through the Government of Canada and United Way Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) to help the most vulnerable people in our communities.

UWCNVI is pleased to announce 64 local organizations from the Malahat to Port Hardy have been funded to support charities adapting their frontline services to help vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, UWCNVI received more than 100 applications for community programs and services that support vulnerable community members. To date, 64 organizations, 72 programs have been approved including:

Alberni Valley Community School Society (SD70)

Anglican United Fellowship of Port McNeill

AVI Health & Community Services (Campbell River)

AVI Health & Community Services (Comox Valley)

BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley

Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island

Bread of Life Centre

Campbell River and District Association for Community Living

Campbell River and North Island Transition Society

Campbell River Head Injury Support Society

Campbell River Volunteer Society

Canadian Paraplegic Association (B.C.)

Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society

Clayoquot Biosphere Trust Society

Clements Centre Society

Comox Bay Care Society

Comox Valley Community Adult Literacy and Learning Society (Calls)

Comox Valley Family Services Association

Comox Valley Head Injury Society

Comox Valley Senior Support Society

Comox Valley Transition Society

Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness

Cowichan Family Caregivers Support Society

Cowichan Valley Youth Services Society

Denman Island Community Education Society

Eureka Support Society

Glacier View Lodge Society

Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North Society

Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society

Haven Society: Promoting the Safety of Women, Children, Youth and Families

Hornby Island Educational Society

Island Crisis Care Society

Ita Wegman Association of BC - Curative Education and Social Therapy

Ladysmith Family and Friends Society

Laichwiltach Family Life Society

Lush Valley Food Action Society

Mental Health Recovery Partners Society - Central Vancouver Island

Mount Waddington Family Literacy Society

Nanaimo Brain Injury Society

Nanaimo Community Hospice Society

Nanaimo Community Kitchens Society

Nanaimo District Senior Citizens Housing Development Society

Nanaimo Foodshare Society

Nanaimo Region John Howard Society

Nanaimo Youth Services Association

Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation

North Island Employment Foundations Society

Oceanside Building Learning Together Society

Oceanside Hospice Society

Pacific Rim Hospice Society

Port Alberni Association for Children with Development Disabilities

Port Alberni Association for Community Living

Society for Equity, Inclusion, And Advocacy: Central Vancouver Island

Surge Narrows Community Association

The North Island Survivors' Healing Society

The Salvation Army Ocean Crest Corps

Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Society

Upper Island Women of Native Ancestry

Volunteer Cowichan

Wachiay Friendship Centre Society

Wisteria Community Association

Young Entrepreneurs of Canada Association

Knowing that needs are higher in our communities than the first round of ECS Funds could address, United Way staff and volunteers kept working on the ground across the region. This community development work helped make the case for our area to receive an additional $359,811 in federal ECSF funding to address urgent needs in the region, bringing the total to $1.26M for our region. This additional $359,811 will be granted later this summer through a direct request for proposal.

“COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations in our region and across Canada. We are grateful for the support from the federal government to help our local communities recover and persist through this pandemic,” said Signy Madden, Executive Director, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island. “We received over 100 applications from local agencies in need of support to keep our neighbours safe and well. This shows how much our community cares and how much more investment is needed.”

On May 19, UWCNVI launched a call for applications for the Emergency Community Support Fund. The ECSF is funded by the Government of Canada and is being administered in collaboration with United Way Centraide Canada, Community Foundations of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross to support those who need it most.

UWCNVI would like to thank the UWCNVI Impact Councils for their time and local expertise in making these decisions. Together we are able to make the biggest impact possible. With this funding, youth will have increased access to school counselling, isolated seniors will be connected to outreach in rural island communities, and Indigenous youth will be supported by Elders in the community for cultural activities and support.

“At United Way, we support communities from Port Hardy to the Malahat; the demographics and geographical needs across our region are incredibly diverse,” said Julie Rushton Miller, Director of Community Grants. “As a local funder focusing on local solutions, we focus on collective, community-based solutions. Because of our ongoing community development efforts, we are able to work cohesively with the community and local organizations to determine existing needs and forecast what may be needed should another serge of COVID-19 impact our region.”

From funding for food security, homelessness initiatives, COVID-19 environmental adaptations to school counselling and youth supports – the range of impact in our communities for vulnerable populations is vast.

This pandemic response funding is one aspect of helping vulnerable people across the region cope with the impacts of COVID-19. Everyday needs are becoming apparent throughout the region. Caring citizens and those with the ability to give are welcome to contribute to the Local Love in a Global Crisis campaign, which helps local people with basic needs. Learn more and donate at


Funded by the Government of Canada





Additional support in your communities through United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island:

•      United Way’s Better at Home program in partnership with UWCNVI, United Way Lower Mainland, bc211 and the B.C. Government through the Ministry of Health launched the Safe Seniors, Strong Communities program to help isolated seniors stay connected and cared for during COVID-19.

•      UWCNVI launched a fundraising appeal to rally support for the underserved populations during the COVID-19 crisis, Local Love in a Global Crisis Fund.  The website provides information and resources and invites people to donate to support those most in need through the fund. The first round of funded programs will soon be announced.

•      UWCNVI has received additional federal Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy funding in Nanaimo through the Indigenous and Designated streams and through the Indigenous funding stream for Duncan specifically for programs to address the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. These funds will be invested in community services by United Way through the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition and the Tze Tza Watul Community Advisory Board (CAB) in Duncan over the coming months.

•      After a robust application process, UWCNVI has been awarded the Community Entity role for the Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy designated funds in Cowichan for the next four years. UWCNVI will invest in further solutions to end homelessness through funding local community agencies as approved by the Cowichan Tze Tza Watul Community Advisory Board (CAB).


About United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island

Over the past 60 plus years, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island has become a catalyst for social change – conducting research, convening coalitions, and influencing public policy to make a difference in local communities. In 2019-2020 UWCNVI funded 89 programs and helping 51,846 people from the Malahat to Port Hardy.


Media Contact

Nicole Benson, Director of Communications
United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island
C 250.619.0151