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Community PROGRAM Grants

Photo of volunteers at the Delta Family Resource Centre

We are currently inviting applications for our Community PROGRAM Grants. We are looking for impactful programs and initiatives in 13 different but connected issue areas that will provide supports in Peel Region, the City of Toronto and/or York Region that reach and serve people who live in poverty or address the underlying causes of poverty through a systems approach.

Plan your application:

Prior to beginning your application, we strongly encourage you to:

  1. Review our priorities and approach
  2. Register for a grant information session
  3. Determine your requested funding amount
  4. Choose and carefully review your program or initiative issue area 
  5. Review the application questions, including the Organizational Health Application and the Community PROGRAM Grant Application
  6. Review the assessment criteria

Important Dates

Application Deadline: October 15, 2021 by 5pm
Notification of Decisions: February 2022
Commencement of Funding Contracts: April 1, 2022

Individual organizations or groups of organizations are eligible to apply for funding. If you are applying as a group, a lead organization must be chosen on behalf of the group of agencies and this organization must complete the application and meet the eligibility requirements.


ATTENTION: If you are currently funded by United Way, please read the exceptions/qualifications below:

  • Organizations funded under our Community ANCHOR Grants are not eligible for Community PROGRAM Grants. An ANCHOR-funded agency may, however, serve as a trustee of an incorporated non-profit organization applying for funding under the Community PROGRAM Grants.
  • Organizations currently receiving the following funding from United Way must re-apply for Community PROGRAM Grants to sustain funding for programs with demonstrated effectiveness or expanded or new programs that meet the criteria:
    • Community PROGRAM Grants
    • Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy Grants
    • Youth Success Strategy Grants
    • Toronto Enterprise Fund


To be eligible your organization must:

  • Be an incorporated non-profit organization and registered as a charity by the Canada Revenue Agency OR
  • Be an incorporated non-profit organization, trusteed by a registered charity or part of a shared platform that is a registered charity. New applicants that are incorporated non-profits but not currently registered as a charity, may contact United Way for referral to experienced trustees. Some of these trustees are led by, focused on and serving equity-deserving groups. Trustees should collaboratively complete the application with the applicant, and if successful, ensure that all aspects of funding agreements are fulfilled.
  • Be prepared to agree to United Way’s Partnership Expectations
  • Have financial statements for at least one year that have been audited by a licensed public accountant, or be trusteed by a registered charity that has financial statements for at least one year that have been audited by a licensed public accountant
  • For charities with annual revenue of less than $100,000 a review engagement for at least one fiscal year that has been conducted by a licensed public accountant would be acceptable
  • Have provided services/programming for at least one year (12 months)
  • Provide services in one or more of the following geographic areas: Peel Region, Toronto, York Region
  • Provide services to people living in, or at risk of, poverty
  • Provide social or community services as your primary mandate

We will not fund:

  • For-profit organizations
  • Full day childcare
  • Government or government agencies, boards and/or commissions
  • Grantmaking Foundations
  • Hospitals and long-term-care facilities
  • Individuals
  • Organizations that could be deemed discriminatory, as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code
  • Organizations whose purpose is solely related to political activity, as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Organizations without a clear demarcation between religious and community service functions as evidenced in the organization’s by-laws, articles of association or letters patent
  • Organizations without a head office or program service location located in Peel Region, Toronto or York Region
  • Professional Associations
  • Residential facilities that are licensed and regulated under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act and funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services or the Ministry of Community and Social Services
  • Residential facilities that are funded or managed by Corrections Canada
  • Residential facilities under the Homes for Special Care Act
  • Retirement homes regulated by the Retirement Homes Act, 2010
  • Services mandated by the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2018
  • Universities, colleges and school boards
  • Unions

Grants may be used for staff salary, operations, or program costs. Funds may not be used for:

  • Addition of basic shelter beds or transitional housing beds
  • Costs (e.g., loans, grants or scholarships) that are related to direct financial assistance in the form of payments to individuals or families
  • Partisan political activity defined as the direct or indirect promotion of a political candidate or party
  • Rent supplements
  • Services covered by OHIP
  • Services provided by medical professionals or regulated health professionals other than social workers or social service workers
  • Support of operating deficits
  • Large capital construction costs, unless part of a specific project deemed eligible by United Way (Note: small capital costs related to program activities such as purchasing program equipment, or a vehicle are eligible)
  • Purchase of real property (real estate, land, buildings)
  • Operational costs associated with United Way-funded Community Hubs
  • Religious activities, except for Indigenous cultural and/or spiritual activities

Funding Term:

3 years (2022 – 2025)


Funding Range:

You can apply for up to 3 programs, $50,000 - $150,000 per program, per year.
$75,000 is the median funding amount per program.
Some exceptions will be made for programs that will reach populations or geographies that are under-represented in the United Way funding portfolio.

All applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of United Way staff, volunteers and sector experts. The committees will include volunteers with lived experience, representative of the diversity of our region. A separate review committee will be struck for each of the 13 issue areas.


The review committees will select proposals most strongly aligned to the funding guidelines and may request further information.


All applicants will be notified of decisions in February 2022. Funding contracts will commence on April 1, 2022.


Assessment Criteria



  • Alignment with the overarching purpose of our funding including demonstrated focus on poverty
  • Virtual and/or in-person access for people living in neighbourhoods and/or geographies with high concentrations of poverty and/or limited community service infrastructure
  • Ability of program or initiative to address populations living in poverty who face systemic barriers to equal access, opportunities and resources due to disadvantage and discrimination. Examples include Indigenous peoples, Black peoples, racialized peoples, women, the 2SLGBTQ community and people with disabilities

Compelling case of need or opportunity and good program design

  • Clear description of the specific need, service gap or opportunity to be addressed by the program or initiative that addresses the challenge presented in the issue area descriptions
  • Evidence of good practice informing the design of the program or initiative (e.g., evaluation data)
  • Involvement of people with lived experience in program design, delivery and evaluation; program models used from within the GTA or from other jurisdictions
  • Clear objectives, activities and impact and their relationship to one another
  • Demonstrated connection to a broader service system
  • Specific description of ways in which the program will address systemic barriers for equity-deserving and/or Indigenous populations such as culturally relevant programming, accommodations, and outreach

ATTENTION: If you are applying for a new initiative or program, we strongly encourage you to:

  • demonstrate collaboration in your program design or new ways for agencies and partners to work together as part of a local or population-based plan and system solution through collaborative or linked applications;

  • identify and scale up good practice (interventions that have been proven to be effective).


  • Outcomes and impacts presented address the problem, need or challenge identified by the application and align with our challenge, aim, approach and impact as described in your chosen issue area
  • The level of impact (e.g., number of unique individuals served, program activities and outcomes) in relation to the funding request
  • A plan to monitor and evaluate impacts as well as conduct evaluation for learning

Use of funds

  • Budget is logical and accurate and demonstrates contributions from other sources of funds or sufficient guaranteed funds to effectively implement the program
  • Budget presents specific need for and use of United Way funding

Agency capacity to deliver the program/initiative

  • Organizational experience with and/or knowledge of the population to be served
  • Demonstrated basic organizational health: good governance; financial management and oversight; compliance with human resource policies and practices; and risk management (organization health questions must be completed by the applicant and its trustee, if applicable, and can be accessed here; these must be submitted along with the program application(s) by 5 pm on October 15)
  • Demonstrated ability to steward United Way funding, including a record of timely and accurate reporting to funders
  • Indicated support from the partners for collaborative or linked applications
  • Confirmation of policies in place to guide reconciliation and equity and demonstrated community representation at the Board, senior management and staff levels
  • The trustee can meet all organizational health requirements and has confirmed willingness to play this role (where applicable)

You must choose one issue area for each program submitted. We understand that a program may have several objectives and may fit under more than one of the 13 issue areas. Choose the issue that most clearly aligns with the primary focus of your program. You will be required to report on the results of the program in relation to the objectives identified in the issue area description, as well as the primary objectives identified by you for the program.


1. Aging in Community
2. Community Building
3. Early Learning and Parenting
4. Food Security
5. Gender-Based, Intimate Partner and Family Violence
6. Housing and Homelessness
7. Inclusive Employment
8. Living Independently
9. Mental Health and Addictions
10. Middle Years
11. Settlement
12. Youth Development
13. Social & Systems Change

Deadline: October 15, 2021 by 5:00 pm.


It should take approximately 6 hours to complete the full application. You can save your application at any point and return to it.


Download a PDF of the application questions for reference: Organizational Health Application and Community PROGRAM Grant Application. Contact us at cssprogramfunding@uwgt.org if you'd like to receive the questions in an alternative format.


The full application is accessible through a web-based platform that is compliant with Accessibility for Ontarians Disability Act.


If you face any barriers in accessing the platform or require a different format for the application, please contact cssprogramfunding@uwgt.org or 416-359-2087.


Information sessions
We offered 4 information sessions for interested applicants and those sessions have now been completed. Here are the slides that were presented at the sessions.

A recording of the information session can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve compiled a list of questions and answers we are frequently asked. Review the FAQs to be sure your questions haven’t already been answered.

Contact Us
Still have questions? Call us at 416-359-2087 or send us an email at cssprogramfunding@uwgt.org and our team will reply to questions within two business days.


Note: Phone support can be conducted via a platform with live captioning and can be scheduled during the day and early evening.