United Way Partners with Guelph Community Foundation to support the COVID-19 Community Response Fund



United Way Partners with Guelph Community Foundation to support the COVID-19 Community Response Fund

Organizations working together to support the most vulnerable

Tuesday March 31, 2020, Guelph —United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin and the Guelph Community Foundation have partnered together to support the growth of the COVID-19 Community Response Fund.  Through this collaborative effort, both organizations will work to assist agencies doing critically important work to support our communities’ most vulnerable during the crisis.

Working together will ensure there is one place for community members, philanthropists, community leaders and corporations to support the community’s COVID-19 response. A joint committee with staff and volunteers from both organizations will evaluate applications to ensure a rapid process in order to respond to emerging and emergency community needs.

“As the crisis continues, the needs of the community continue to evolve.  Since launching the Community Response Fund last week, we have already seen an increase in need for basic needs.  United Way is pleased to be partnering with the Guelph Community Foundation to combine our efforts, build on our strengths and ultimately, support the community in the best way we know how – by bringing people together,” said Jeff DeRuyter, 2020 United Way Campaign Chair and former Chief, Guelph Police Services.  “We look forward to working collaboratively with the Community Foundation to ensure those who need our support, have it.”

“Even while physically isolated, we can pull together and help. Together, we are calling on Guelph’s organizations, businesses and citizens to join with us and support those in greatest need in our community,” said Chris Williard, executive director of the Guelph Community Foundation. “Isolation is a greater burden on some and home isn’t always a safe place to be. Help us support the teams and volunteers laying everything they have on the line to keep us safe, well cared for and healthy.”

Through three phases, Respond–Rebuild-Recover, the Community Response Fund will support the following areas:

  • Help for seniors – ensure that while vulnerable people are isolated, they are also supported
  • Basic needs – ensure people have access to life’s essentials, such as food
  • Housing – ensure those who are experiencing homelessness have adequate shelter and support to self-isolate
  • Capacity for community services – ensure that community partners can continue to do their vital local work
  • Mental health support – enable crisis lines and system navigation services
  • Support for volunteers – helping those who work to support others

The COVID- 19 pandemic is exacerbating challenges that families across our communities deal with daily. City and County health and social service organizations are experiencing a sharp increase in demand for services to meet basic needs.

“As the situation evolves, so too will the needs in the community. While people care for their families and those closest to them, we urge you to think of those who may need extra support to prepare, or those who need support while in self-isolation.  And while there is a great deal of urgency now, our role will become even more critical as we recover, rebuild and help people get back to ‘normal’ once the pandemic is under control,” said DeRuyter.

“The Government of Canada sees Not-For-Profits as key community partners in helping the vulnerable in our communities, especially as we work to respond to COVID-19. We are working hard to make it easier for Canadians to support grassroots organizations so that communities can come together during these challenging times. The Guelph COVID-19 Community Response Fund is exactly the kind of solution we need. We all have a role to play, so that together we can support each other – whether it’s asking for help or offering help.” – Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph

“We know that communities need the right support to be able to come together and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m working to advocate for the best support from the province, but we will also need to rally support for local organizations. Local service organizations are essential to organizing communities and supporting those in need and front-line workers. Let’s mobilize support for local organizations who are providing essential services for people in need” – Mike Schreiner, Member of Provincial Parliament for Guelph

“The City is facing one of its greatest challenges and I know that we’re up to the task of responding to the need in our community. Supporting each other is what we do here in Guelph – making sure we all have what we need and that we support the front-line workers who are keeping our city going from health care, to retail, to transportation and so much more. I know I’ll be supporting this fund to make the most of the matching donations. I hope those who can, will support it as well. “-Cam Guthrie, Mayor of the City of Guelph

“Throughout our history, United Way has always been there in times of need.  This time will be no different.  We will continue to work directly with community partners and leaders to identify local needs and emerging issues to ensure we are providing support where it is needed most.  And as always, funds raised will stay right here in our local community.”, said Colleen Murdoch, Director, Communications & Community Impact.  “It is our role to aid in the ongoing support of our community, and to ensure that vulnerable populations are not left behind.”

United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin has worked in our community for over 80 years to monitor and meet the pressing social needs of our community.  Directed by a volunteer board, managed by committed staff and supported by thousands of donors, United Way works with partners in all sectors to improve lives and build community.                                                                           unitedwayguelph.com/Covid-19




Note that interviews for this initiative will be coordinated via Zoom, Skype or telephone to adhere to social distancing guidelines from public health authorities.

For more information, please contact:

Colleen Murdoch,

Director, Communications & Community Impact, United Way        

Email: colleen@unitedwayguelph.com


Jessica Barrie,

Operations & Community Engagement, Guelph Community Foundation


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