United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island (UWCNVI) will invest federal dollars in the local community to strengthen the capacity of community service organizations during COVID-19.

UWCNVI has received federal funding through the Government of Canada and United Way Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) to provide financial support to charities adapting their frontline services to support vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ECSF was announced by the Government of Canada and is administered in collaboration with United Way Centraide Canada, Community Foundations of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.

United Way is proud to fund $360,000 into local social service agencies in the Nanaimo Regional District area to adapt and be able to help local community members. A total of $904,527 will be distributed through grants across all of UWCNVI’s region, from the Malahat to Port Hardy.

“Organizations doing critical work with vulnerable people in central and northern Vancouver Island communities are well positioned to understand where the greatest needs are in the midst of this public health crisis,” said Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly. “This funding will assist them to adapt to new service delivery protocols and meet increased service needs. These are very challenging times for front line agencies, I want to personally acknowledge them, and thank them for their efforts.”

Charitable organizations who are working to provide immediate essential services to those impacted by COVID-19 within the Central & Northern Vancouver Island region are invited to apply. The application process and further details can be found at uwcnvi.ca. Applications open May 19, 2020, and close at 12:00 pm noon on June 15, 2020. Late submissions will not be accepted to ensure the funding gets distributed in a timely manner.

“Our communities continue to face challenges during this difficult time. More than ever, people at risk and those most vulnerable to the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19 are turning to local charities for help to cope and recover,” said Signy Madden, Executive Director, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island. “It is great to work in partnership with the federal government to target where these funds can be directed quickly to help the most people in need.”

Other UWCNVI regions will also receive funding. A maximum grant allocation per successful applicant differs by region. The funding was divided utilizing Statistics Canada’s population data for Regional Districts.

Funding Maximum Grant Allocation

Nanaimo Regional District $360,000 $50,000

Cowichan Valley Regional District $189,000 $20,000

Comox Valley Regional District $153,000 $20,000

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District $76,527 $10,000

Regional District of Mount Waddington $27,000 $5,000

Strathcona Regional District $99,000 $10,000

Total $904,527

The Prime Minister of Canada announced the ECSF on April 21, 2020. The $350M fund will support vulnerable populations through grants administered by United Way Canada and the network of local United Ways, the Canadian Red Cross, and the Community Foundations of Canada.

Additional funding in our communities through United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island:

· Funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, United Way created the COVID-19 Seniors Response Fund to help local charitable agencies that provide immediate essential services for those over the age of 55. UWCNVI received $120,000 to invest in grants for services to address the most pressing needs of seniors in our communities. Applications are now closed funded programs will soon be announced.

· 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 uwcnvi.ca/covid-19 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).

Nicole Benson

Director of Communications, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island