About United Way

Committed, caring, informed, relevant, and local.

Our Mission

United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin strives to meet existing and emerging social needs in order to improve lives and build community.

Our Values

In pursuing our mission, we are committed to the following guiding values:

Social Justice
We believe that everyone deserves equal rights and opportunities and work to dismantle systems of oppression that marginalize individuals and communities. 

We put community first. We focus on collaboration and ensure our work is guided by local voices, needs and assets. 

We bring humanity to our work by actively listening and respecting all voices. We respond to others with understanding, patience and kindness. 

We are bold, open-minded and innovative leaders in making lasting positive change. 


We build trust by being transparent, accountable and live our values even when it’s uncomfortable or difficult. 

We continue to learn, listen and respond quickly to our community’s changing needs and shift approaches when needed. 

Our History

  • 1940

    The local United Way began in 1940 as the Guelph Community Chest for War & Welfare Services. It was established to conduct a single, annual campaign for voluntary sector agencies that were conducting individual campaigns.

  • 1945-1970

    From 1945 to 1970, the organization was known by many names, including: Red Feather, United Community Funds, Community Chest, and the Guelph United Way.

  • 1971

    By 1971, the organization had adopted the name of the Guelph and District Community Services Council. At this time, an important shift took place – the organization established a Social Planning program to identify and respond to community needs, as well as to develop a rational basis for distributing funds.

    One of the first activities of the social planning program was the identification of agencies that provided services in the community. This exercise resulted in the creation of Guelph Information – an information and referral service that helped residents access community services.

  • 1976-1982

    Between 1976 and 1982, it was recognized that the public did not easily understand or identify with the “Community Service Council”. Therefore, the name was changed to United Way Social Planning Council, to clearly identify the organization’s core programs.

    During this period, the campaign experienced tremendous growth, more than doubling its results in 10 years. This was attributed to having participated in one of United Way of Canada’s first On-site Campaign Analyses — a thorough assessment of data and campaign practices.

  • 1995

    In the following years, the organization made significant gains in its campaign, the number of funded programs increased significantly, and a volunteer leadership development program was established. After the loss of government funding in 1995, the organization re-examined its activities and decided to outsource Guelph Information and the Volunteer Leadership Development service (which became the Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington). This shift reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to three core programs: social planning, campaign, and fund distribution.

  • 2012

    In 2012, United Way funded local social service programs in Guelph and Wellington County. Additionally, United Way serviced Orangeville and Dufferin County. United Way board of directors changed the working name of the organization to better reflect all of the areas served to United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin.

  • 2015

    United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2015. In the past 20 years, nearly $59 million has been raised through the annual campaign to support the local community.

  • 2020

    United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin responds to the COVID-19 pandemic with the Community Response Fund in partnership with the Guelph Community Foundation and locally distributed the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Response Fund, which saw more than $1 million in emergency funding invested in our local community.

  • Today

    Today, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin continues to unite people and resources to improve lives, build community, and create lasting positive change.

Our Community Investment

United Way staff work closely with local community groups to achieve meaningful, long-term improvements to quality of life in the communities of Guelph, Wellington, and Dufferin Counties. Community Impact is about addressing not just the symptoms of problems but also the root causes.

United Way invests in local programs that help thousands of people in our community on their journey to a better quality of life. Click here to see the list of programs we support.

United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin is a charitable organization (Registered Charitable no. 10745 7053 RR0001).

Strategic Plan

United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin plays a pivotal role helping kids be all they can be, moving people from poverty to possibility, and creating strong communities. Making real and lasting change requires the contributions, expertise, and commitment of everyone in our community – including donors, residents, businesses, agencies, volunteers, government, and more.

We know that the social issues facing our community are challenging and that the ways people connect to make a difference in their community are changing. United Way is adapting to meet these needs. We have actively engaged a wide range of people and perspectives to shape our way forward.

We have been listening to donors, agencies, volunteers, and leaders, while also examining the latest research on philanthropy and community impact. We’ve learned that we can leverage our history to strengthen our future.

United Way’s role has always been to build community connections and resources in order to improve lives. With your support, we are elevating our role as a catalyst for change in Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin.