A Year in Review – United Way

As we welcome 2023, I am reflecting on the many challenges our community faces. An ongoing pandemic, skyrocketing inflation, a worsening housing crisis. But through it all, you have been there, partnering with United Way to meet these challenges head on. Together, we continue to connect over 120,000 people across Niagara every year to the supports they need, close to home. Food programs, mental health and housing supports — all available thanks to the efforts and generosity of our funded agencies, partners, donors and volunteers, working together in a united way.

We should all take a moment to celebrate these victories big and small. There is still much work to be done to bring a future without poverty into focus, but I know that with you by our side, we will get there. From everyone here at United Way Niagara, thank you for all that you have done to strengthen this place we call home. Wishing you and your family the very best in this new year. I hope you’ll enjoy this brief recap of some of the incredible moments you helped make possible in 2022.


Frances Hallworth, CEO, United Way Niagara

In no particular order, 8 Impact Highlights from 2022

Responding to increased need for food

We were able to quickly respond to increasing demand for food across Niagara thanks to the generosity of long-time donors and local philanthropists, Greg and Diane Slaight. The Slaight’s one-million-dollar donation created the United Way Niagara Food Support Grant, providing emergency funding to organizations that address food insecurity and helping meet increased demand. The first round of funding supported 42 local organizations with a total of $425,000. Read the full story about the Niagara Food Support Grant here.

Image of table full of food in boxes, you can see volunteers arranging cauliflower and red peppers.

Growing local produce with Niagara College

In 2022, we announced an expanded partnership with Niagara College (NC), aiming to increase food security in Niagara. The United Way Niagara Garden Hub, situated at NC’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, is an expansive community garden that is supporting food programs locally and providing educational opportunities for residents. The garden produced well over 1,000 pounds of fresh healthy produce in its first year. Learn more about the Niagara College Garden Hub.

Back to school made easier

Backpacks filled with school supplies made their way across Niagara to local students in time for their first day of the school year. Families living on low incomes may find it difficult to purchase the required supplies for their children. Backpacks for Kids helps to relieve that financial burden for families. Thanks to many donors and volunteers, 2,100 backpacks were prepared and distributed to help students start the school year off on the right foot. Learn More about Backpacks for Kids.

Living Wage finds a home at United Way

After nearly seven years in Niagara, the Living Wage Program has found a home at United Way. Funded by the Niagara Prosperity Initiative through the Niagara Region, the program aims to address poverty through corporate social responsibility. Providing a living wage is an important policy lever that can help lift Niagara residents out of poverty and provide them with basic economic security and opportunities for social inclusion. Currently, there are more than 89 Certified Living Wage Employers in Niagara. Learn more about Living Wage Niagara.

Supporting seniors across Niagara

Through the Seniors’ Health & Wellbeing Fund, we are able to grant funds to low-income seniors to assist with devices that enable independence and personal wellbeing. The grants help with things like; eye glasses, walkers, safety and mobility equipment, hearing aids and medication. Last year, over $30,000 was granted to support 79 seniors and help them live happier, healthier and more independent lives.