2020-21

YEAR IN REVIEW

United Way East Ontario
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A message from the President and CEO

It was a common refrain in the early days of the pandemic: “We’re all in this together.” But we soon realized the pandemic would strain the social fabric of our communities along fault lines that have been unresolved for generations.
Tens of thousands of local people have relied on us to be alive, healthy and safe over the past year. Many have reached out to a distress line or a food bank for the first time in their lives, and this heightened need will not go away with the first shots of vaccine. In the thick of widespread job losses, working from home while juggling virtual learning and caregiving, loss of loved ones, and countless other challenges, we asked our communities to support United Way’s work. The response was humbling.
Today, I am grateful that thousands of people, in organizations, businesses, frontline agencies, government bodies, and more, believe in the power of United Way to solve the most pressing local issues. It will take courage, commitment, and innovation to continue tackling systemic challenges beyond the pandemicbut we are in good company. Thank you for being an integral part of this past year with us. I invite you to stick by our side as we forge ahead into yet another year of uncertainty. With gratitude,
The signature of Michael Allen.

Michael Allen
President and CEO
United Way East Ontario

This is a condensed version of the letter that appears in our annual report. Read the full letter.

Together, we are breaking down barriers, improving lives and creating opportunities for people in Prescott-Russell, Ottawa, Lanark and Renfrew Counties.

365 days per year—in normal times, and through crises—United Way mobilizes the power of caring communities to address the most complex social issues. But, we don’t do it alone.

The challenges we tackle demand collaborationBy bringing people from different organizations together to solve problems, we can have an even bigger impact and make our communities measurably better. 

This online preview of our annual report is just a snapshot of the impact we’ve made together over the past year and how we are tackling the tough problems across our three focus areas:

Every child and youth deserves the chance to have a great life, no matter where they grow up.

We believe that everyone deserves a place to call home, a job, and a sense of belonging to their community.

 

We ensure that all members of our community get the help they need, when they need it.

Our investments across the region

In 2019-20, we invested in:

0

collaborations and initiatives

0

programs

0

community agencies

As a result of these investments:

0

unique individuals were supported 

0

people volunteered with our agency partners

0

total volunteer hours

How much we invested in community work in 2019-20: 

Ottawa: $5,716,871.92

All That Kids Can Be: $2,355,222 

From Poverty to Possibility: $731,428 

Healthy People, Strong Communities: $2,630,221.92 

Lanark County: $218,920 
Renfrew County: $223,416 
Prescott-Russell: $150,261 

This excludes funds raised and invested through our COVID-19 Response. Please see the COVID-19 Response Impact Report for details on the impact of that work. 

All That Kids Can Be

By putting more kids on track to succeed, we can help all youth in our communities reach their full potential.  

I like that everyone leaves their judgement at the door, and you can just come and be yourself.

Anika, grade 11

The Issue

For some local kids, growing up isn’t easy. Challenges can begin before a child even steps into school for the first time. All the issues facing children and youth were amplified when the pandemic began.

0 %

of school-aged children saw at least one of the following progressively worsen during COVID-19: depression, anxiety, irritability, attention span, hyperactivity and obsessions/compulsions.

0

children and youth in Ontario have to wait up to two and a half years for mental health treatment.

0 %

of front-line providers serving homeless youth in Canada reported youth had experienced a significant increase in feelings of isolation and loneliness.

The Impact of Our Investments

All That Kids Can Be—Investments across our region:

0

collaborations and initiatives

0

programs

0

community agencies

As a result of these investments:

0

unique individuals were supported

0

people volunteered with our agency partners

0

total volunteer hours

Our response, at a glance

Partnering for success:

With our support, the Ottawa Child and Youth Initiative developed the ‘Make a Plan for Safe Return’ project, which provides best practices, training, and resources so that local organizations can feel comfortable providing vibrant and safe programming for kids and their families.

Stepping up for youth:

A screenshot taken during the interview.

From the onset of COVID-19, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa and of Lanark County successfully pivoted to virtual mentorship. The relationships built during these virtual mentoring sessions supports the mental health and wellbeing of our region’s vulnerable youth, particularly during times of isolation and stress.

Our Goals for the Future

In 2021 and beyond, we will work with our partners to:

Want to learn more about our impact? Dive into the full All That Kids Can Be section of the report.

Mario is 12 years old and every other week, he looks forward to meal nights at his local youth centre.

From Poverty to Possibility

By helping people achieve financial independence and stability, we can move them from poverty to possibility.

Hot Shoe Productions gave me the chance to have a hands-on opportunity to work on my video shooting and video editing skills.

Omer, youth videographer

The Issue

COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted the financial wellbeing of Indigenous peoples, youth, newcomers, Black and racialized communities, vulnerable women, and people with disabilities.

0 %

of racialized populations are unemployed in Canada, compared to 7.3% of nonracialized people. 

0 %

of Canada’s job losses from February-April 2020 were jobs held by women—many of which were working part-time in low-paid service and care work. 

0 %

of working age adults with disabilities are employed, compared to 80% of those without disabilities.

0 %

of Ontario youth aged 15-24 are unemployed as of February 2021, up 9.8% from February 2020. 

The Impact of Our Investments

From Poverty to Possibility—Investments across our region:

0

collaborations and initiatives

0

programs

0

community agencies

As a result of these investments:

0

unique individuals were supported

0

people volunteered with our agency partners

0

total volunteer hours

Our response, at a glance

Equity in employment:

A photo of someone busy cooking in a commercial kitchen at a restaurant.

The Employment Accessibility Research Network (EARN) transitioned vital in-person events like learning seminars and career fairs to online platforms so that employers, service providers, and people with disabilities could still meet their employment and hiring goals. A November 2020 event, ‘Ask the Employer!’, allowed jobseekers with disabilities to participate in one-on-one virtual practice interviews with a series of employers.  

A photo of someone in an office taking an important virtual business call.

Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO) delivered two key programs, Cross-Cultural Competency Training and Fostering a Workplace Culture of Belonging, to hundreds of employers to support them in creating workplace environments that are diverse, inclusive, and foster a sense belonging. 

Our Goals for the Future

In 2021 and beyond, we will work with our partners to:

Want to learn more about our impact? Dive into the full From Poverty to Possibility section of the report.
Chantel found support with the Arches program to overcome her addiction challenges and start fresh as an Educational Assistant at local daycares.

Healthy People, Strong Communities

By improving equity, connections and wellbeing for vulnerable groups, our communities can be great for everyone.

David went to three programs a week before the pandemic. It’s lovely to have the staff that have been involved with him, still involved with him virtually.

Barbara, caregiver

The Issue

In every community, there are people who face barriers to services or resources, and those who are socially excluded based on their identity, gender, race, age, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, ability, or economic status.

1 in 3

caregivers in Canada are distressedwhich can include feelings of anger or depression, or the inability to continue with caring activities.  

0 %

of Ottawa’s Black community who tried to access mental health services felt prejudice or negative attitudes from their service providers.

0 x

Canadians in severely food-insecure households are seven times more likely to report moderate or severe anxiety symptoms than those in food-secure households. 

The Impact of Our Investments

Healthy People, Strong Communities—Investments across our region:

0

collaborations and initiatives

0

programs

0

community agencies

As a result of these investments:

0

unique individuals were supported

0

people volunteered with our agency partners

0

total volunteer hours

Our response, at a glance

Equity in communities:

A photo of a woman wearing a hijab outside in the park.

In response to a rise in hate crimes and hate speech in Ottawa, United Way launched the United for All coalition in 2019 in partnership with dozens of local organizations. In 2020-2021, the coalition introduced an action plan to align the group’s work against a set of proven strategies to strengthen our communities. In February 2021, more than 100 partners attended a coalition meeting to clarify the role of policing in addressing hate in our communities.

Collaborating for connection, safety and wellbeing:

The Champlain Dementia Network, the Champlain Community Support Network, and United Way formed a partnership to develop the Eastern Ontario Caregiver Strategy. Released in October 2020 and informed by local caregivers, the strategy is designed to provide us and the local social services sector with a common set of objectives, empowering us to better support those in need. 

Our Goals for the Future

In 2021 and beyond, we will work with our partners to:

Want to learn more about our impact? Dive into the full Healthy People, Strong Communities section of the report.

Local Love in a Global Crisis

To everyone who offered a helping hand during times of great uncertainty, and to those who continue to invest so our communities are supported over the long-term: thank you. Your support empowers us to lift up the people hit hardest by the pandemic and lay the groundwork for a stronger future.

As we continue to address the social challenges of the pandemic, we’ve reported back on how we’ve made a measurable, local difference. New, innovative services have emerged, and core programs have adapted as a result of incredible teamwork at the United Way-led COVID-19 Community Response Table—a fixture in the region that has grown to more than 100 participants.

Our COVID-19 Response Impact Report highlights United Ways accomplishments in the first year of the pandemic, thanks to our donors and partners.  

A kid holding up a painted rainbow in the window.
What's New?
Meet GenNext East Ontario:
New name, big impact
United Way is always evolving and adapting to the needs of our communities. In 2019, our regions came together under a new name: United Way East Ontario. We knew that GenNext Ottawa was soon to follow on this journey and in February of 2021, we became GenNext East Ontario.

GenNext’s scope isn’t the only thing that’s changed—it’s now better aligned to United Way’s goals: tackling the issues of Youth Homelessness, Mental Health, Diversity and Inclusion, and Equitable Employment.
Making energy relief more equitable and accessible
In early March 2020, United Way launched a community outreach pilot program with the AffordAbility Fund Trust (AFT). The theory was that if we provide holistic outreach and support for people who struggle to pay their hydro bills, they’d be better off long-term.

To bring these benefits to as many people as possible who experience energy poverty, we partnered with other United Ways, local utility companies and frontline agencies across Ontario.

Despite having to pivot entirely to virtual outreach, the AFT and Home Assistance Program (HAP) managed to help more than 200 households across Ottawa, Simcoe-Muskoka, and Bruce Grey access energy-saving retrofits.
Women United X Accenture
This year, Accenture joined Women United as a title program sponsor, demonstrating their commitment to making a difference for women in our region.

During United Way’s International Women's Day event on March 8, 2021—A Conversation with Dr. Vera Etches—Accenture’s Claudia Thompson, a long-time Women United member, officially announced the new partnership between Accenture and Women United.

“It is important to build a culture that values inclusion in the workplace and it’s equally important that we extend that culture beyond our workplace to the communities in which we live.”

Claudia Thompson
Managing director of risk management and quality lead at Accenture Canada
Community Builder Awards: COVID-19 Heroes
In June 2020, United Way East Ontario partnered with Apt613 to honour volunteers who stepped up to respond to the pandemic with a Community Builder Award (CBA). Apt613 helped us identify five “COVID Heroes” and reimagine our Community Builder program for the pandemic context. After a successful celebration, we went on to honour 28 local volunteers with virtual Community Builder Award presentations between then and March 2021.
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100% Local Impact

At United Way, we’re committed to 100% local impact. That means every dollar we invest stays in the community where it was raised—where it is needed most and will have the greatest impact. Our annual report, which includes our financial statements, is our way of showing you, our donors and supporters, that we’ve kept that promise.  

A Year Unlike Any Other

Our 2020-21: A Year in Review annual report is a look back on a year unlike any other: a year that compelled us to step up and ensure stability for our partner agencies; a year where we lived into our goal of being an impact-first United Way; a year that required our focus on equity and justice to address the root causes of the pandemic’s disproportionate effects. 

Last Updated: June 2021

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