Healthy People, Strong Communities

Ensuring our communities are great for everyone by improving equity, connections and overall well-being.

The issue

United Way understands that residents have a strong connection to where they live—their city, their town, their neighbourhoods, their street—these are the communities that drive change, protect and support, and shape lives and livelihoods. But, we also understand the barriers to success.


in Ontario will be touched by a mental health issue.


of Canadian adult women reported at least one sexual assault since the age of 16.1.


In Ottawa, opioid overdose emergency department visits approximately doubled in 2017.


in Ottawa live alone. In some neighbourhoods it’s as high as 53%, making them more vulnerable to social isolation.


The percentage of long-term caregivers in Ontario who report being distressed or unable to continue providing care has recently doubled to 33.3%.

1 in 10

households in many Ottawa neighbourhoods have a combined income under $20,000.

Our response

Working in the communities of Prescott-Russell, Ottawa, Lanark County and Renfrew County, United Way East Ontario is committed to building healthy and vibrant communities for people of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances.

We do this by increasing equity, social cohesion and leadership, by reducing isolation, and by ensuring those in crisis have access to the supports they need to succeed. Part of how United Way does this is through initiatives that bring key community stakeholders together to pursue a collective mission. These include:

A community-wide initiative led by United Way and supported by the Government of Ontario that brings together employers, service providers and other partners with the goal of increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities and promoting inclusive and accessible workplaces.
A United Way-funded initiative that helps residents build skills and confidence to work on making positive changes together. Over the past four years, more than 400 resident leaders and front-line staff have been paired and trained to get neighbours talking and working together on issues where they live. The kinds of skills that the initiative helps develop include engaging other residents, building positive relationships among neighbours, running effective meetings, learning about advocacy and more. Creating the Change We Want sessions are led by neighbourhood leaders and community developers in Ottawa’s priority neighbourhoods.
United Way’s Successful Aging Strategic Council is a partnership between donors, seniors, service providers, organization representatives, business leaders, government, educators and other funders convened to provide leadership, direction and support to United Way in relation to seniors and aging through the development of resources, partnerships, alliances, projects and initiatives within and across sectors.

The outcomes

United Way also partners with local, front-line agencies to deliver vital programs and services that help improve lives, break down barriers, and create opportunities for our region’s most vulnerable people. These include day programs for seniors, 24/7 crisis lines, mental health and addiction supports, and resident-led, community-building initiatives. As part of our commitment to measuring our impact, we track and report how these investments make a difference.

Outcome: Adults in crisis have access to immediate supports

78% of individuals felt supported and had their stress levels reduced

46,862 individuals received crisis supports

Outcome: Seniors have improved wellbeing and are less isolated

62% of seniors reported decreased isolation

1,904 seniors reported decreased isolation

Outcome: Neighbourhoods work together to achieve positive change

7,555 residents came together to engage on issues of shared importance

Outcome: Adults have access to mental health and addiction supports

84% of clients experienced a reduction in stress and anxiety

808 clients experienced a reduction in stress and anxiety

Outcome: Refugees of the Syrian crisis have access to settlement supports (United for Refugees)

1,000+ Refugees received settlement supports

Results (In 2017-18)

A note on numbers:  In 2017, the four United Ways of Prescott-Russell, Ottawa, Lanark and Renfrew Counties decided to join forces. Today, we operate as one entity: United Way East Ontario. As we evolve and increasingly see and seize opportunities to work cross-regionally, more data will become available to report on the local needs and investment outcomes in all of the communities we serve. For this reason, for now, many of the facts and stats on this page are Ottawa-specific as it represents our largest investment footprint.

  1. I want to…

    help people in crisis.

    Donate now

  2. I want to…

    support newcomers.

    Donate now

  3. I want to...

    celebrate diversity.

    Donate now

  4. I want to…

    fuel inclusion.

    Donate now

  5. I want to…

    end hate and violence.

    Donate now

  6. I want to…

    make sure every kid graduates.

    Donate now

  7. I want to…

    end youth homelessness.

    Donate now

  8. I want to…

    show my local love.

    Donate now

  9. I want to…

    help seniors thrive.

    Donate now

Help the most vulnerable as we respond to COVID-19.