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United Way to fund those helping most vulnerable

The federal government has provided United Way with $1.583 million for local community organizations

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

As the pandemic is winding down, the recovery effort is set to begin, and United Way Durham and the federal government are teaming up.

The United Way of Durham Region is accepting funding applications for the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF), which will provide support for charities and other qualified organizations.

Overall, United Way Durham is prepared to invest approximately $1.583 million into local community organizations who have provided direct services to populations impacted by COVID-19.

According to Robert Howard, United Way Durham’s vice-president and chief possibility officer, the funds come directly from the federal government, and will go to organizations which support the most vulnerable.

“I think it’s going to be very similar to the way that we looked at the Senior’s New Horizon’s funding,” he says. “I think we’re going to get some wonderful applications from all over the place, or from different types of agencies.”

The Senior’s New Horizons funding went to organizations which helped seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He believes some applications will come from large and smaller agencies.

Howard thinks the government saw the ability the United Way has to respond to these organizations, no matter the size.

“We obviously have our natural connections to our agencies and our programs, but the call for applications is to all charities across the region,” he explains.

He adds there is no “pre-judgement” about where the funds will be going. The recipients will be chosen by the quality of the applications.

Howard points out with the Senior’s New Horizons funding announced recently, the organization gave funding to nine groups, and four or five of them were not “United Way organizations.”

“The key to success in the 21st century is in how agile you are, your ability to respond with boots on the ground, and thoroughness,” says Howard.

In his opinion the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious matter, and there’s nobody in Canada who isn’t going to be impacted by it in one way or another.

“Generally speaking, this is having an impact on everybody’s lives. So you can’t stand around and sit on money,” he says.