Applications open to support communities during pandemic

1005 – United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island (UWCNVI) will invest another round of Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) federal dollars in our local communities to help keep vulnerable people safe during COVID-19.

The $350 million ECSF was first announced by the Government of Canada on April 21, 2020.  Through the initial disbursement of funds, UWCNVI funded 80 agencies through ECSF round one. This $1.26M was invested in our local communities to support front-line service agencies adapt their processes and programs to continue to support vulnerable individuals and families through the pandemic.

Now, the Government of Canada is releasing the balance of the $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) in a second round of funding. This second round of support is being administered across the country in collaboration with United Way Centraide Canada, Community Foundations of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.“Charities and non-profit organizations are at the heart of our communities, helping the most vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis. The Government of Canada is pleased to support these organizations through the Emergency Community Support Fund so that they can continue their invaluable work.” -The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

UWCNVI is proud to grant a further $380,600 to support local communities and service agencies who continue to serve our most vulnerable neighbours. United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island opened applications today to support organizations as they continue their vital work and expand their programming where needed.

The applications now open in this important second round of ECSF granting is divided in two streams:

1. initiatives to support those at-risk or experiencing homelessness in Mt. Waddington, Comox Valley, Campbell River and Port Alberni areas;

2. agencies throughout UWCNVI’s geographic area that have seen an increase in demand for their services. Funds may be used for immediate needs and priorities related to the impact of COVID-19. This includes, but is not limited to, services such as:

  • Supporting individuals in accessing income supports and financial coaching
  • Mental health & wellness supports, including crisis counselling and peer support
  • Personal safety supports, including for those living in or escaping situations of violence

“As a result of our research and working in our communities, we know that mental health and the ability to cope during this pandemic is a huge concern. Meanwhile the numbers of people facing homelessness continues to increase as people lose their jobs and their savings dry up,” said Signy Madden, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver, Executive Director.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, our local community-based charities and non-profit organizations have been working tirelessly to provide emergency support of all kinds—in particular, to individuals and communities experiencing continued or heightened vulnerability,” Madden added. “Demand for their services have increased dramatically. We are proud to work in partnership with the federal government and help organizations carry out their vital work in the coming months to ensure no one is left behind.” 

Agencies are invited to apply if your organization has a charitable number and is providing supports and services to meet immediate community needs related to the COVID-19 in the two streams. This funding is intended to support frontline community service organizations providing services to support vulnerable Canadians, including low-income seniors, women, children and youth, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, refugees, Indigenous peoples, members of racialized communities, and more.


The application process and further details can be found at Applications are now being accepted and close at 12:00 pm noon on November 2, 2020. Late submissions will not be accepted to ensure the funding gets distributed in a timely manner.

Since March, UWCNVI has granted 126 local organizations thanks to generous donors and federal support including ECSF. This pandemic response funding has been crucial to helping our communities during this crisis but it is not guaranteed to last. Everyday needs are becoming apparent throughout the region. Caring citizens and those with the ability to give are welcome to contribute to United Way’s fall campaign, which helps local people. Learn more and donate at

United Way's annual campaign launches amid pandemic

United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island’s (UWCNVI) annual Campaign has started and workplaces and individuals are already showing their local love.

UWCNVI is proud to once again partner with Island Health as one of the first workplaces to launch its annual campaign. Island Health is one of more than 300 workplace organizations that supports UWCNVI through fundraising and individual one-time or monthly payroll donations.

“Island Health is pleased to celebrate 30 years of supporting United Way’s annual Workplace Giving Campaign,” said James Hanson, Vice President of Clinical Operations for Central and North Island at Island Health. “Our staff share a commitment to supporting the health of people in their communities and donating to the United Way is an extension of the care we are honoured to provide each day.”

UWCNVI’s annual fall Campaign is underway despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on workplaces and in society as a whole. 

“This year our communities are facing challenges we have never seen before. Through our ongoing community development work we know that our local partner agencies need more help than ever because of the constantly shifting pandemic and the increased need of their services,” says Signy Madden, Executive Director, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island. “Thanks to the generous support of our donors we can keep helping our local communities, as together we navigate this unprecedented time.”

Madden added that almost all workplaces look very different this year with many employees working from home and increased health precautions in the offices. 

“This makes our traditional campaign challenging but we are working hard to find the best, innovative ways for our partner organizations to continue to host their internal campaigns. We are beyond grateful to have the support of so many individuals and organizations. As we continue to move together through this crisis, we know we will be resilient because of our local love.”

Last year, through the generosity of local donors, United Way funded 65 agencies, 89 programs and assisted over 51,000 people from the Malahat to Port Hardy. In the central island region, over 10,200 people accessed 40 high-impact programs through 31 agencies.  Vulnerable individuals were able to get help when they need it because of local donations and support of UWCNVI. You can find United Way’s 2019-2020 Community Impact Report on their website.

Individuals and workplaces interested in hosting a United Way campaign and show their local love for their community can visit or email To learn more about how your donations impact your local region visit

Everyday needs are becoming apparent throughout the region. Caring citizens and those with the ability to give are welcome to contribute to the Local Love in a Global Crisis campaign, which helps local people with basic needs. Learn more and donate at