Learn how our Community Response Fund is fighting the impacts of COVID-19.
By the numbers:
Focusing on the needs of our community
For decades, United Way Centraide North East Ontario has been a part of the social fabric that connects our community.
We work to understand and respond to our community’s most critical needs and target your investments where they will show the greatest results.
How We Do It
We look at the big picture, bring passionate people together, invest for maximum impact and speak up for what’s right.
We research and work with others to understand community needs and plan for the future.
We partner with donors, social service agencies, labour, government, small businesses, corporations, educational institutions and volunteers to have even greater reach within our communities. We also engage in unique opportunities like WOLVES United - United FIVE, Imagine Playground Revitalization Project and 211.
We are committed to raising necessary funds that support local, targeted programs that are addressing needs in our community.
Our investments are targeted to get results.
Our Focus Areas
Poverty to Possibility
For many people in our community, poverty is a daily and difficult struggle. It forces people to make impossible decisions like paying rent or putting food on the table. The complexity of poverty has many contributing factors. Its social and economic issues impact entire communities and everyone who lives in them.Learn More
Building Strong Communities
A community is only as strong as its most vulnerable citizens. On far too many occasions, residents find difficulty in accessing essential services they need to succeed. These barriers are often amplified for seniors, people living with disabilities and newcomers, leading to challenges like social exclusion and mental illness.Learn More
Helping Kids Be All That Kids Can Be
Children and youth are one of our community’s greatest assets. The reality is, far too many young people are struggling. Poverty, food insecurity, mental illness, safe places and spaces, and a lack of early years supports can have life-long effects including their ability to finish high school. United Way sees the potential in our youngest citizens and that youth engagement and targeted community supports are instrumental in life-long success.Learn More
Stories of Change
“I used to be into drugs. I’d sleep where I could. I’d push a shopping cart around and pick up scrap metal. I’d walk miles and miles every day. It got to a point where I was getting older, couldn’t walk around, couldn’t push carts. I was freezing in the winter. The cold gets into your bones - you don’t sleep. And I didn’t want any more, I wanted to change. I found the Meeting Place, and I found people just like me. Bit by bit, I started to change. You have to have places like this, because homelessness is not going away.”
“20 years later, and I have a little place to call my own. This is heaven up here. Now, as a volunteer, you can’t describe some of the help that people need. You know, if you could just go there and bring a smile on the faces of a few people every day, life gets better.”
“I had the opportunity to get involved with the United Way, trying to address homelessness and developing and spreading that local love. If it’s one person’s life who’s transformed as a result of the hard-earned dollars that individuals have donated, that’s worth it to me.
“Shortly after my daughter started her Ph.D. in psychology in 2001, I noticed that she had become anxious all the time, and was getting worse. I remember one incident in particular when she called me, paralyzed with panic, and I had to go pick her up. She was hospitalized, and after months of tests, we got the diagnosis: bipolar disorder.
I was shocked and in disbelief. I had no idea what to do. When my daughter was in a manic state, she wouldn’t sleep. She walked around constantly and lost weight. As a health care professional—I’m a retired speech-language pathologist—I knew I needed to ask for help right away. But when it comes to your own child, you feel completely powerless.
At first, I looked for help mainly for my daughter. After I found support for her, I had the time to look for support for myself. I gained a better understanding of what people with a mental illness are feeling. That helped me put myself in my daughter’s shoes.
I also learned how to let go. This doesn’t mean you are giving up, but rather that you accept the situation. I learned how to tell my daughter that I was exhausted and that I couldn’t always be strong. She then started paying attention to me, just like I paid attention to her. Our relationship has always been good, but this helped us communicate and work together even more.
Today, my daughter is doing much better. Bipolar disorder will always be part of our lives, but now we know how to live with it.”
Meet Nadine & Chase
When I learned that my daughter, Nadine, was reading at a pre-K level in grade 2, it felt like a punch to the gut. I’m a single mother of four kids and had just entered university. I was so busy; I didn’t realize she was floating under the radar. Once I knew, though, my focus became enhancing all my kids’ learning abilities.
At first, I thought a literacy camp would just give Nadine extra practice, but right away, she showed so much improvement. She came home every day with stories about reading books with the volunteers, and I thought, ‘I want my daughter to have this much excitement reading with her mom.’ Within the first week, I was getting pamphlets on how to make reading fun and engaging for parents, too. I was glad to get them—they’ll help me in the future with my two younger children.
My son Chase wasn’t as under the radar as Nadine was, but he was reading at a lower level. So, when they were both invited to the camp the following summer, I knew it was the best choice. The camp gave him so much confidence. Chase deals with ADHD, but the volunteers didn’t discourage him for learning at a slower pace—they were patient with him.
Now that I’m a literacy teacher myself, I understand that reading is confidence. That’s why I push for these programs. Chase and Nadine are now seven and 10; they’re both reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and they talk about what’s going to happen next. When I was first told Nadine was three grades behind in her reading level, I would never have guessed that she and Chase would be reading chapter books together two years later.”