As we welcome 2023, and reflect on the challenges our community is facing, everyone at United Way Niagara is grateful for the generosity of our funded agencies, partners, donors and volunteers. Together, we continue to connect over 120,000 people across Niagara every year to the supports they need, close to home.
Here are 8 Impact Highlights for 2022, in no particular order:
Responding to increased need for food
We were able to quickly respond to increasing demand for food across Niagara thanks to the generosity of long-time donors and local philanthropists, Greg and Diane Slaight. The Slaights’ one-million-dollar donation created the United Way Niagara Food Support Grant, providing emergency funding to organizations that address food insecurity and helping meet increased demand. The first round of funding supported 42 local organizations with a total of $425,000. Read the full story here.
Growing local produce with Niagara College
In 2022, we announced an expanded partnership with Niagara College (NC), aiming to increase food security in Niagara. The United Way Niagara Garden Hub, situated at NC’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, is an expansive community garden that is supporting food programs locally and providing educational opportunities for residents. The garden produced well over 1,000 pounds of fresh healthy produce in its first year. Learn more here.
Back to school made easier
Backpacks filled with school supplies made their way across Niagara to local students in time for their first day of the school year. Families living on low incomes may find it difficult to purchase the required supplies for their children. Backpacks for Kids helps to relieve that financial burden for families. Thanks to many donors and volunteers, 2,100 backpacks were prepared and distributed to help students start the school year off on the right foot. Learn More.
Living Wage finds a home at United Way
After nearly seven years in Niagara, the Living Wage Program has found a home at United Way. Funded by the Niagara Prosperity Initiative through the Niagara Region, the program aims to address poverty through corporate social responsibility. Providing a living wage is an important policy lever that can help lift Niagara residents out of poverty and provide them with basic economic security and opportunities for social inclusion. Currently, there are more than 89 Certified Living Wage Employers in Niagara. Learn more.
Supporting seniors across Niagara
Through the Seniors’ Health & Wellbeing Fund, we are able to grant funds to low-income seniors to assist with devices that enable independence and personal wellbeing. The grants help with things like; eye glasses, walkers, safety and mobility equipment, hearing aids and medication. Last year, over $30,000 was granted to support 79 seniors and help them live happier, healthier and more independent lives.
Supporting Indigenous students through the Phyllis Webstad Scholarship
The scholarship was initiated by Indigenous Education at Niagara College as a tribute to Phyllis Webstad’s momentous visit and her important work through the Orange Shirt movement. While an initial fundraising goal was set for $20,000 to launch the scholarship, total funds raised exceeded expectations at more than $41,000, including contributions from United Way Niagara. Read the full story.
Working with our partners to make your gifts go even further
With thanks to our partners, Wormald Masse Keen Lopinski LLP and Norris Walker, many new donors and leadership donors had their gifts matched for greater impact. The WMKL New Donor Match and Norris Walker Leadership Challenge in memory of Marilyn I. Walker leveraged significant funds to support the annual campaign.
Helping those in need with essential items, in memory of Anita Robertson
Every year the Anita Project helps prepare thousands of hygiene kits and welcome home kits for vulnerable people in Niagara, giving them the essentials they need, like cooking items, cleaning products, plates and more. This allows people to transition more easily into permanent housing and start a new life participating in the community and experiencing equity.
Learn more about United Way Niagara or follow us on social media!
Frances Hallworth, CEO, United Way Niagara