Focus Areas

Developing a shared vision for community impact.

United Way believes strong communities and thriving neighbourhoods exist when individuals and families are connected and supported in order to achieve their full potential. For more than 75 years, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin has invested in many local agencies and their programs in order to constantly meet the emerging needs of the community. In order to receive funding, programs must align themselves with our focus areas, which include All That Kids Can Be, Strong Communities and From Poverty to Possibility.


We believe that the essential building blocks for strong communities and thriving neighbourhoods are:

All That Kids Can Be

Outcome: Children and youth believe in themselves and get involved.

As stated by the Wellington Dufferin Guelph report card on the Well-being of Children, children and youth in our area are at a higher risk of having low self-esteem and mental health issues relative to the average rate across Ontario. Children need to live and grow in a supportive, inclusive and nurturing environment. By investing in young people, we help them grow up to be all that they can be, ensuring everyone’s future is stronger.

Our funded agencies have supported youth this year by:

  • Providing 1400+ children the opportunity to participate in mentoring programs with screened, adult volunteers for sale and supportive mentoring relationships – Big Brothers Big Sisters Guelph, Wellington & Dufferin
  • Exposing 300 students to events/activities about mental health awareness – Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Providing 1811 students with Anti-Bullying Presentations – John Howard Society

From Poverty to Possibility

Outcome: Individuals and families have a network of basic needs supports.

Many of our communities’ most vulnerable are families and children who simply cannot make ends meet. Through our programs, we strive to ensure basic needs including food, shelter, clothing and income supports are available to those who need them. We believe poverty is a complex set of stubborn, intertwined social issues that can be solved by building people’s economic independence and by advocating for the removal of systemic and discriminatory obstacles to economic security.

This year, our funded agencies worked to alleviate poverty in our community by:

  • Serving 35,738 pounds of food to at risk adults and youth – East Wellington Community Services
  • Helping disengaged youth receive 102 high school credits – Wyndham House
  • Providing 589 hours of individualized assessments to develop strategies to help manage debt – Family Counselling and Support Services
  • Supporting 207 individuals to find housing or remain housed – Welcome In Drop-In Centre

Strong Communities

Outcomes: (1) Individuals and families feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in their community, (2) Seniors have the social supports they need to be connected to their community and individuals and (3) Families have positive mental health and are better equipped to handle life’s challenges.

We invest in programs that make our community vibrant and safe, while creating opportunities for individuals, families and neighbourhoods. We focus on improving access to social and health related support services, as well as supporting community integration and engagement.

This year, our funded programs helped make our community stronger by:

  • Providing visits to 766 seniors, 436 working age adults and 120 children/youth to assist them in learning how to live with vision loss and avoid accidents – Canadian National Institute for the Blind
  • Making 11,000 visits to Seniors in Long Term Care with the Dog Therapy program – St John’s Ambulance Guelph
  • Providing 32 public education sessions to 581 participants, who either have dementia or to their care partners and families, in order to better understand the disease and cope with stress – Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington
  • Providing 200 women, who had experienced sexual violence, with 2,483 hours of direct individual counseling sessions – Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis