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Community Services Sector Strategy (CSS) Program Funding Stream


Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. Can I get assistance with the application process?  
    Yes, United Way staff is available to answer questions about the application. Please call 416-359-2087 or email cssprogramfunding@uwgt.org

    United Way is hosting several information sessions that will provide an overview of the CSS Program Funding Stream with a focus on the application and guidelines for completion. Please click here to register.

    We also welcome you to look at the Community Agency Resources section under ‘Agencies & Partners’ to find capacity building resources on program design and evaluation.
  2. What is the difference between "Program Framework" , "Program Areas"  and "Programs"?
    • Program Framework: The overall document that includes descriptions of the 10 Program (Focus) Areas, as well as an explanation of what we mean by a focus on poverty.
    • Program Areas: These are the 10 focus areas under which agencies will submit their programs. You will choose the area that most clearly aligns with the primary focus of your program and that will allow you to report in future years on the results of your program in relation to the objectives you identify in the application. 
    • Programs: United Way’s working definition of a program is a group of “clear, related, complementary activities that are intended to achieve a desired outcome among the target groups”. The scale of a program can vary – it may deliver a specific service, or a broader collection of related services.
  3. We do not have charitable status, but are an incorporated non-profit – are we eligible for funding?
    The Program Funding Stream is open to all community service organizations with charitable status, as well as those that are incorporated non-profits trusteed by a charity. Both the trustee organization and the applicant must meet eligibility guidelines. The trustee organization will ultimately be accountable for program reporting, program outcomes and use of funds.
  4. What type of programs will be supported through this funding stream?
    United Way-funded programs will provide community services or address systems change. Refer to the Program Framework for a full description of the 10 program areas under the Community Services Sector Strategy.
  5. Are there any types of organizations that are not eligible for the Program Funding? 
    Please refer to the Eligibility section of the Program Funding Stream Application Guidelines for a list of ineligible organizations.

    Please note that agencies listed as ineligible may partner in the delivery of a community service program or project, where a community service agency is the funding applicant.
  6. Can we request funding for a program that does not target people living in poverty?
    The focus on poverty means that United Way is interested in funding services and initiatives that mitigate the effects of poverty, help people move out of poverty, and/or address the underlying causes of poverty. United Way supports programs that serve diverse communities so we understand that programs may serve a mix of people from different income levels but successful requests will be designed and delivered with a focus on providing access and opportunities for people living in poverty and successful applicants will be able to demonstrate that the majority of people using a program experience poverty or are at immediate risk of falling into poverty. 
  7. How does United Way define poverty?
    Our focus on poverty isn’t about using a specific definition. It’s also not about saying agencies should only serve poor people, or asking for means-testing. What we’re trying to do is have greater clarity of focus. That means targeting people living in poverty, and those at immediate risk of falling into poverty, as well as addressing conditions that lead to poverty in the first place. Agencies will be expected to present evidence and descriptive information to identify how they know they are reaching people living in poverty.
  8. Our agency was just selected for funding under the Anchor Funding Stream. Can we also apply for the Program Funding Stream?
    No. Organizations funded under United Way’s CSS Anchor Funding Stream are not eligible for Program Funding. However, Anchor-funded organizations may serve as a trustee for another non-profit applicant.
  9. Can we apply for funding for a program we deliver outside of Toronto and York Region?
    No. Programs and initiatives selected for funding must provide services in Toronto and/or York Region. Services that take place outside the City of Toronto or York Region are not eligible for United Way Toronto & York Region funding. Social and systems change initiatives may address broader areas, but must identify how they will address issues relevant to the City of Toronto and/or York Region.
  10. The head office of our agency is located outside of Toronto or York Region. Can we apply for funding under this funding stream?
    No. Organizations located outside of the City of Toronto or York Region are not eligible for funding.
  11. Can a collaborative or a group of agencies apply for Program Funding?
    Organizations may submit a joint or group application. A lead organization must be chosen on behalf of the group and this organization must complete the application. The lead applicant must consider the group application as one of its 3 eligible programs.
  12. How much can we apply for?
    You can apply for 1 – 3 programs.

    Opportunities for new applicants: Successful new applications should anticipate receiving grants in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 per program with larger amounts available only in exceptional cases. Agencies can allocate up to 20% of approved funding for administration costs.  

    Opportunities for currently funded agencies: Allocations to successful agencies requesting funding are not likely to exceed amounts currently funded. Expansion or new requests will only be considered in exceptional cases. Allocations will allow an administrative cost allowance of up to 20% of the program funding.
  13. What can the Program Funding Stream funds be used for?
    United Way funds may be used for staffing, operating, rent, or program costs. Up to 20% of the approved funding may be used for administration costs. 
  14. What costs can be included in the Administrative allowance of 20% per program?
    Up to 20% of each approved program budget can be allocated to administrative costs, including the following:
    • Infrastructure (including building costs)
    • Management or staff salaries
    • Other costs associated with operations, including: promotion and publicity, consulting costs, dues, insurance, equipment and office expenses

      These funds could be used to support the administration of the agency as it relates to the successful delivery of the program approved for funding.
  15. Is it expected that we will apply the full 20% to administration costs for programs or can we use the full amount for direct program expenses?
    You are not required to apply the full 20% to program administration costs.
  16. Does United Way require support letters from other funders/agencies?
    No, this is not required; however, if you are submitting a joint or group application, all participating agencies will be required to approve the application.
  17. Can we apply for funding through both the CSS Youth program stream and Youth Success Strategy (YSS)?
    Yes, if you have different programs that are eligible under both, you can apply for a program that fits under the CSS ‘Youth Development’ program area and for a YSS Program Grant. If you are applying for related programs under the two streams, please speak to a United Way staff member at 416-359-2087.