75 Years Logo

Please Giver

    Anne Smith,  President & CEO     Fay Orr , Chair, 2016 Board of Directors


Anne Smith, President & CEO  Fay Orr, Chair, 2016 Board of Directors

A Message from the Chair of the Board and the President & CEO

United Way of the Alberta Capital Region celebrated a significant milestone: 75 years of harnessing community resources to change social conditions and improve the lives of people who are struggling.

It turned out to be one of the most challenging years in that time, bringing with it many lessons – in vulnerability, need, resourcefulness, and ultimately, resilience.

We faced the most serious economic downturn in 30 years, a devastating natural disaster to the north, and an influx of newcomers forced to move by global upheaval – all factors which increased the pressure on the local social service sector.

Our United Way's mission to create pathways out of poverty came into sharper focus than ever before, as more community members faced uncertainty brought on by job loss, displacement from their homes, challenges to pay for necessities such as food and child care along with all the other bills that don't stop just because difficult times are upon us.

The past year truly tested our ability to help each other through adversity. And our community answered that call with the spirit of self-reliance and a can-do attitude that has been there from the beginning. As we work towards our vision of a poverty-free community, 2016 showed us once more that our true colours shine through when we work together.


Focused on Impact

Focused on Impact

No other organization delivers a broader range of solutions. See what programs an average donation supports.

invested in the community impact fund.
Where does it go?
Early Childhood Development
The first three years in a child’s life are critical for development and set the stage for future learning and growth. Specifically for children and their caregivers in the first three years.
Success in School
Children and youth who live in poverty are more likely to struggle in school and have poor attendance. In-school supports greatly improves a child’s ability to learn and increases their motivation to attend.
Out of School Programming
When children are not engaged in positive after-school programming and recreational activities they are more likely to engage in risky behaviours. A significant amount of time, approximately 90% in a given year, is spent out of school.
School Readiness
The early years are a time of significant learning and development where the foundation for strong early literacy skills can support an individuals learning outcomes throughout the school years and entire life.
Financial Literacy & Training
By helping improve money management skills and providing convenient access to financial support programs, families are able to get on track and plan for a better future.
Employment Skills & Training
People living in low-income are the most vulnerable to employment loss, unemployment and underemployment. They face multiple barriers to finding and retaining employment.
Healthy & Affordable Food
Low-income households often have to choose between paying rent, paying bills or buying food. Lack of adequate food can have negative effects on the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of an individual.
Quality & Secure Housing
Attaining and maintaining quality, safe and affordable housing is a challenge for many people living in poverty. Shelter is by far the biggest expense for people living with low-income, with some people spending 30% or more of their income on housing costs.
Domestic Violence Supports
Leaving an abusive environment can have significant impacts on an individual physically, emotionally, spiritually and economically. People who are experiencing abuse or domestic violence need to be able to access supports immediately.
High Risk Youth Programming
Youth who lack positive mentors and life skills are more likely to engage in criminal activity, gang involvement and are at higher risk of dropping out of school.
Mental Health Supports
Without adequate mental health supports and protocols for early detection in place, people affected by mental illness are at a higher risk of falling into poverty.
Information & Referral
Socially excluded individuals and families are often denied the opportunities available to others. There are many different programs and services available to support those who are most vulnerable, yet many are unaware of these resources.
Capacity Building
Capacity Building, enhances the nonprofit sector by working together to understand the issues, identify priorities and seek better solutions to ensure clients receive effective and efficient programs and services from the nonprofits they count on.

Calculate your impact with the online Impact Calculator. 

The Impact Calculator provides supporters with an online tool that easily illustrates the impact of their donations by simply entering in a fundraising goal and dollars raised.


Community Initiatives




coats donated through Coats for Kids and Families.


kid kits produced for children of families in need.


school kits given to students through Tools for School.


people experienced Make the Month online.


care kits provided through Homeless Connect.


Elaine's Story – Independent Woman

The abuse was physical and emotional, and he controlled all the finances. After many years, Elaine finally made the difficult decision to leave her abusive husband. She left with nothing…not a penny. 

Elaine applied for welfare and accessed Edmonton’s Food Bank. Hoping to begin healing, she found a drop-in group with other women who escaped abusive relationships. It was here that she learned about Empower U, a financial literacy program supported by United Way.

Her life began to change. In addition to learning how to manage and grow her finances, she took classes on employment preparation and personal growth, and counsellors helped her find work.

Today, Elaine is a licensed financial professional, coaching and mentoring others to reach their financial goals and dreams. And, she’s an active volunteer helping women and children fleeing domestic violence.

Thanks to United Way donors, Elaine is an independent woman, freely giving back to the community who helped her when she was at her lowest.

2016 Snapshot

$400+ million has been raised in our 75 year history, changing the lives of hundreds of thousands.


Message from the 2016 Campaign Co-Chairs

Knowing the tough year that was upon us, our campaign call to action in 2016 was "Please Give'r", an invitation to everyone in our community to find the inner strength to overcome the challenges we faced.

Many members of our community rallied to that call, including an anonymous donor and Edmonton Community Foundation, who provided matching grants to encourage local donors to dig deep and step forward with new or lifted giving.

Thanks to the generosity of so many individuals, organizations, grantors and corporations within our region, more money was raised in 2016 than ever before. Those dollars were offered to assist neighbours we may know or those we'll never meet. They are struggling, but with support can overcome their difficulties, reach their potential, and contribute to our community once again.

It was an honour and a pleasure to lead this effort. What a way to celebrate our United Way's 75th anniversary. Together, we proved that while "the need is great – you're greater!"

    Sarah Chan & Tom Redl   • 2016 Campaign Co-Chairs,   United Way


Sarah Chan & Tom Redl • 2016 Campaign Co-Chairs, United Way


$26.3 million

Raised in 2016

$14.95 million

From Individual Donors

$6.5 million

From Corporate Donors


From Matching Grants

$4.1 million

From Provincial, Municipal & Organization Grants


$750,000 Matched Donation Program

In honour of United Way’s 75th Anniversary, we had a matched donation program totalling $750,000.  This was made possible through generous grants provided by Edmonton Community Foundation and an anonymous donor. The program allowed us to match major donor and corporate gifts, as well as new workplace campaigns, generating an even greater impact for our community.


Watch the 2016 Campaign Video

Our Progress

Setting the Pace


Every step you take to support United Way moves another family further along their pathway out of poverty. 

Scorecard Progress

In 2014, United Way released an Impact Scorecard outlining five strategies and specific targets we can work toward achieving together over a three-year timeframe, helping nearly 22,000 people in our community. Based on our targeted investments and impact projections, we're pleased to share progress at the two-year mark. 


GOAL 1:  The Early Years
By connecting parents with supports to care for their infants and toddlers, we can nearly double the number of children we help get the right start in life.

Progress: 2,000 in 2016

GOAL 2: Success in School
With mentors, school lunches, and support for parents we can ensure 2,000 more children succeed in school.

Progress: 575 in 2016

GOAL 3: Managing Finances
We can help 10,000 people navigate and access their benefits and provide 1,200 women with financial literacy training.

Progress: 9,360 in 2016


GOAL 4: Employment
Job skills training would result in 1,000 more people employed in positions that provide a living wage.

Progress: 40 in 2016

GOAL 5: Mental Health
We can ensure that over 5,500 additional community members get the right support for better mental health.

Progress: 4,500 in 2016


Thanks to your support, by the end of 2016 we will have helped 16,475 people in these five targeted areas. Download our Impact Scorecard for a more in-depth look at specific investments.


Donors & Volunteers

Donors & Volunteers

Corporate Recognition


2016 Leaders of the Way

I believe that communities thrive when there is an interdependent culture and we’re all looking out for one another. I give back because I am able to and hope to ensure others in similar positions to do the same so that we can work together to help alleviate poverty.

Any of those agencies, if you walk in and see the work that they’re doing, you’d want to give them all of your money because you see that they do such amazing work. It’s mind-boggling the work that people do and the passion that they have.

I’m most proud of a solid, three-decades and counting marriage, and two healthy, happy children. Our sons have chosen somewhat unconventional careers, proving they are both smarter and more courageous than their father.

I believe it is part of our responsibility to give back in any way I can to make the community stronger. Additionally, a lot of the people that are dealing with poverty in our community are suffering from some type of mental health issue. Through family, I have seen the impacts of mental health issues and thus trying to make a positive impact in the lives of people with mental health issues is close to home.

I’ve been very lucky in my life — you know, good career and good kids and it feels like not everyone is as lucky as I am. It just feels like the right thing to do.

I would call myself a weekend warrior runner. I’ve run 7 marathons and over 50 half marathons in 8 years. I tend to do more “run-cations” as an excuse to travel to somewhere else and just casually run the marathon to enjoy the sights.

Because we're all in this together! I want to live in a community where we share a collective responsibility to help each other live the best lives we can. When someone struggles with health issues, access to education, or overwhelming poverty it effects all of us. This is one small way that I can contribute to building a better community for all of us to enjoy together.

I believe in the transformative power of education and mentorship; I believe in service and kindness; I believe in hard work. I love to laugh. I believe in the goodness of people and that we all have the capacity to grow, change, and become our best selves.


View the 2016 Honour Roll


Awards of Excellence

The Award of Excellence is a recognition award presented to organizations in the Alberta Capital Region that raised more than $1,000,000 in 2016. The following organizations were recognized at this year’s Red Tie Gala on February 23, 2016:





Strong Supporters

Edmonton Civic Employees Charitable Assistance Fund marked a significant milestone as they celebrated their 75th anniversary in 2016. Over the past 57 years its more than 11,000 members, representing nine local unions and associations, has cumulatively contributed more than $13.5 million to our United Way.

Engaging Our Community

Engaging our Community


Video Gallery


Making the Month

United Way launched a social media campaign, with support from local media personalities, community leaders and connected supporters. Over two weeks in October, thousands of people were invited to try the Make the Month online poverty simulation.  More than 11,000 attempts were made and significant online conversation took place about the struggles people face.


Make Your Mark on Poverty

Led by Campaign Co-Chair, Sarah Chan, students from Alberta Capital Region schools were invited to submit a project proposal to raise awareness or take action on poverty. Nineteen elementary, junior high and high schools participated. Projects ranged from sharing used clothing with the homeless, to sharing multicultural dinners, to creating a colouring book to raise funds for literacy programs. Each project had students learning and thinking about poverty in a new way, engaging the next generation of leaders in our work.


Communities United

Communities United received a three-year funding commitment in 2016. It focuses on five core neighbourhoods in northeast Edmonton – Bannerman, Clareview, Fraser, Hairsine and Kirkness. The concept is to harness and build on existing community assets and resources within each neighbourhood in order to help individuals and families out of poverty. This program is an active partnership with local community leagues and Abundant Communities Edmonton.


All in for Youth

This first-of-its-kind local initiative focuses on getting children and youth successfully through their education years and on to high school graduation. The program began operating in five Edmonton schools in 2016 and attracted a major funding boost from EPCOR. All in for Youth is a "wraparound" program of supports including reading skills, nutrition, mentoring, counselling, parent education, and high quality teaching.


2016 Event Highlights


Volunteer Hours in 2016


Campaign Kickoff Attendees


Community Speakers


Red Tie Gala Attendees


Poverty Simulations


Days of Caring Participants


What People are Saying

A few selected tweets we especially appreciated from the past year:

Thank You!

Thank you for changing lives.


View our audited financial statements.

Let's make 2017 great, visit myunitedway.ca to get started!