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New federal fund aimed at community groups like United Way


Non-profit organizations seeking essential services assistance to help vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic will receive a boost of $350 million from the federal government.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the funding on Tuesday stating in a news release that the additional funding will be to help those "who are most vulnerable to the health, social and economic impacts of Covid-19."

Money will be provided through the federal government's Emergency Community Support Fund, which will give money to national organizations like United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and the Community Foundations of Canada.

The prime minister's news release states that the national organizations are best fit to quickly get funds to those vulnerable groups needing it most. The money is to go toward such items as home deliveries of groceries and medications, providing transportation services like driving seniors or people with disabilities, or help lines that provide information and support, helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits.

The release said the fund could also go toward projects that providing training, supplies and other items for volunteers responding to the pandemic and involving virtual contact through phone, texts, teleconferences or the Internet.

Meghan Kennedy, chair of the Covid-19 committee with the United Way NWT, said this week that the announcement was a welcome one.

"It was a little bit unexpected but it was very well received," she said. "The need is definitely there. Donations are certainly down across the country for all of the organizations involved however the asks and the needs have increased."

She added that it is uncertain how funds will be distributed among the three organizations or how much the NWT will see.

"We have received sort of an indication that the process will be similar to the vulnerable seniors New Horizons that we launched last week," she said.

"This one is more of a broad spectrum in terms of us looking to support the urgent needs of vulnerable Canadians."

'Together we are strong' 

The prime minister's announcement came on the same day that the Yellowknife Community Foundation and the United Way NWT announced a joint effort to raise money for essential non-profit programming.

According to a joint news release issued Tuesday, the Yellowknife Community Foundation pledges to "match every dollar donated to the United Way NWT between now and May 15 to the maximum of $50,000."

Donations can be made through the website.

Robin Greig, president of the Yellowknife Community Foundation said that rather than the two organizations competing to raise money for vulnerable people, it made sense to work together, hence the title of the effort.

"We just felt that given the numerous needs that are out there that the two groups together could accomplish a lot more than on our own," he said. "We felt the joint relationship with the United Way will help us achieve some of goals sooner and help alleviate the pressures in the community."

Greig said the joint announcement adds to other efforts the foundation is trying to make to help people through the pandemic. Last week the foundation announced that it was doubling its scholarship offerings for 2020 help students suffering job difficulties as the result of Covid-19.