United Way in Guelph, Ont. establishes new funding stream to help marginalized groups

A total of 15 groups will share in $275,000 in funding. United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin is one of a few social service providers to offer this type of funding stream.
The United Way in Guelph. Matt Carty / Global Guelph

The United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin has launched a new funding stream specifically for groups that are deemed as marginalized.

The new Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion fund prioritizes those who are farthest from opportunity in an effort to create a strong and thriving community.

In all, 15 groups will share in $275,000 in funding:

  • Community of Hearts Lifelong Learning Centre – support for the Boxes of Hearts program, which provides job-readiness training for developmentally disabled individuals
  • Seed, Soil and Spirit School – an Indigenous, Black and racialized women-run organization providing education programs in plant medicine, nutrition and land stewardship
  • Dufferin Child and Family Services – in partnership with the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association, funding to support a racialized trauma-based mental health support program for Black youth
  • Canadian Arab Women Association – funding to support Arab women with safe food handling training and the resources to build culinary and entrepreneurship skills to empower and create a sense of belonging
  • Compass Community Services – funding to support the 2SLGBTQ+ Talk & Text support line
  • Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) – programs to build resilience in children, youth, adults and elders by increasing access to language, culture and traditional foods, and integrating cultural supports that promote health, traditional healing and mental wellness
  • Anishnabeg Outreach Employment & Training Inc. – Centre of Healing in Guelph, which will provide a space for First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities to connect, belong and regain a sense of identity while working to heal from the ongoing processes of colonization
  • Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington – multi-language support for individuals and families suffering with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre – medical translation services for residents in Guelph-Wellington
  • Career Education Council – “Let Me See Me” – a program that will let youth see themselves in career paths they may have previously felt apprehensive about due to a lack of visible diversity
  • Guelph Black Heritage Society – support for the #ChangeStartsNow initiative
  • Immigrant Services Guelph Wellington – a peer-led learning and tutoring program
  • March of Dimes – financial assistance with mobility devices
  • Guelph Wellington Women In Crisis – Sexual Assault Centre
  • Dufferin Child & Family Services – GLOW (2SLGBTQ+ program for youth)

“We’ve got really great organizations … that are operating programs to support the various communities that we are helping,” said Glenna Banda, executive director of United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin.

Read more: Local United Way announces 13 charities receiving Community Action Grants in Guelph area

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion fund is a one-of-a-kind funding stream and the Guelph chapter is one of only a few social service providers in Canada to offer it.

“We’ve recognized that we can’t take a cookie-cutter approach,” Banda said. “We really need to take an individualized approach so that we can focus on those who were marginalized in the past.”

“It was clear that without dedicated funding United Way wouldn’t have the opportunity to support the great work of some of our community’s smaller, grassroots organizations or organizations led by marginalized communities,” said Director of Community Engagement and Impact Colleen Murdoch.

In a news release, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin says it worked with local EDI consultant Iona Sky to create a process for the stream that was inclusive and reflective of the purpose.

That included conversations with local partners and helped to lay the groundwork for determining what the application process would look like, who the funds should support, and what the most pressing issues marginalized groups in our local community were facing.


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