Investment Reports - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Investment Reports

244,745 people who were struggling received supports through a United Way funded program in 2021

Basic Needs and Personal Wellbeing

United Way funded programs help people to get back on track by providing critical services such as basic needs, mental health supports, and referral services so they will not fall into a life of poverty.

  • 1 in 5 households in Alberta are food insecure.
  • As of August 2022, 2,730 people are experiencing homelessness in Edmonton. 19% of these people are youths.
  • Every hour, a woman in Alberta experiences some form of violence from an intimate partner.
  • 50% of Canadians will have or have had a mental illness by age 40.
  • 1 in 4 surveyed Albertans experiencing addiction or a mental health problem reported unmet needs for information.


United Way supports 33 programs, partnerships, initiatives, and collaboratives to help vulnerable community members with basic needs and personal well-being. In 2021:

  • 66,461 participants accessed healthy meals or food hampers.
  • 591 people received help to obtain or maintain housing.
  • 20,466 community members attended mental health education sessions.
  • 20,466 individuals facing mental health challenges received timely counselling.
  • 2,896 people who experienced domestic or sexual violence received caring supports.
  • 90,786 people were connected to needed services by skilled staff.
  • 131,552 meals and 66,864 food hampers were distributed.
  • 17,526 individual and group mental health counselling sessions took place.

Every funded program reports the impact that programs have on clients. Here are some examples:

  • Decreased levels of stress, anxiety, and improved overall mental well being.
  • Improved sense of belonging in the community. Young adults felt included, and families felt safer.
    In 2021, 82% of participants surveyed demonstrated characteristics that are likely to help them address their identified issues. This includes resiliency, optimism, positive self-esteem, sense of meaning/purpose and belonging, and a healthy sense of identity.
  • Increased knowledge of available community resources and comfort with accessing those supports.
    In 2021, 84% of surveyed participants reported referrals provided were relevant to meet their needs.

Helping Children Succeed

United Way funding is helping kids from the start, with caregiver education programs, early learning and development, support through the school years and all the way to high school completion to prepare them for a life beyond poverty.

  • In the Alberta Capital Region, over 50,500 children and youth (age 0-17) live in poverty.
  • 33% of the children in Kindergarten in Edmonton are experiencing great difficulty in one or more areas of
  • development, with the most significant gaps being in communication skills and general knowledge.
  • As of 2020, it is estimated that 540,000 to 1,060,000 Canadian children (0-15 years old) have low literacy skills.
  • 22% of Alberta students don’t graduate high school within 3 years.
  • The estimated annual cost to society per high school dropout is $15,850 in earning loss, use of social assistance, health care, crime, and tax revenue loss.
Students stand and sit together in a school stairwell


United Way supports 28 programs, partnerships, initiatives, and collaboratives to help children succeed through their school years and work toward reaching their full potential. In 2021:

  • 4,053 individuals received early learning and parenting supports.
  • 26,612 students participated in healthy development programs.
  • 3,470 children participated in nurturing after-school programs.
  • 806 at-risk youth were supported to stay in school.
  • 5,407 caregiver/child activity kits were distributed to support positive child development.
  • Over 2,846 sessions to support children and their caregivers through workshops and one-on-one support took place.
  • Over 938,874 meals were distributed in schools.
  • 507 mental health counselling sessions for 2SLGBTQ+ youth and their families took place.

Every funded program reports the impact that programs have on clients. Key impacts are:

  • Increased confidence, self esteem, and improved problem-solving and coping skills in children and youth.
  • Children and youth demonstrate improved language, motor, and social skills
    In 2021, 93% of participants surveyed demonstrated developmentally appropriate skills in one or more of the following areas: personal/social skills, communication skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem solving skills, coping skills, literacy, numeracy.
  • Improved concentration and mental preparedness for school with improved academic outcomes.
    In 2021, 89% of participants surveyed demonstrated/reported behaviours or feelings that are consistent with some of the following eight developmental assets: support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations, constructive use of time, commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies, positive identity.

Empowering People

United Way funded programs are empowering people to create new beginnings with supports such as employment and financial literacy training to help them rise above a life of poverty.

  • While the Alberta minimum wage is $15/hr, a living wage in Edmonton is $18.10/hr.
  • 79% of those earning $16/hr or less in the Alberta Capital Region are over the age of 20.
  • In Canada, racialized women make 59 cents for every dollar non-racialized men make.
  • 1 in 6 Canadians say their monthly spending exceeds their income.
  • 1 in 4 Canadians say they borrow to buy food or pay for daily expenses.

United Way supports 19 programs, partnerships, initiatives, and collaboratives to help individuals and families build job skills and financial stability. In 2021:

  • 5,700 people received help filing their income taxes and/or accessing benefits.
  • 1,025 vulnerable community members received financial literacy training.
  • 1,404 individuals got help obtaining and retaining employment.
  • 214 financial coaching or counselling sessions took place.
  • 316 financial education & literacy sessions or workshops were held.

Every funded program reports the impact that programs have on clients. Here are some examples:

  • Improved employability skills and improved employment opportunities.
    In 2021, 94% of participants surveyed increased their wages or found employment.
  • Gain of financial knowledge and increasing access to financial resources, tools, and services.
    In 2021, 99% of participants surveyed demonstrated skills in money management or financial literacy (budgeting, asset building, financial literacy, government benefits and subsidies, savings, decreasing debt)
  • Increased confidence and stability in their lives because of skills learned or supports accessed.
    In 2021, 86% of participants surveyed demonstrated an increased capacity to solve day-to-day problems and challenges.

Strengthening the Sector

United Way works with partners to create a strong foundation for the social services sector in our region by supporting services to work effectively and efficiently, provide vital backbone support, and to create solutions together. This enhances the sector’s ability to Create Pathways Out of Poverty.

United Way supports 27 programs, partnerships, initiatives, and collaboratives in:

Research, to gain a stronger understanding of the issues and the activities that might create greater impact.

Evaluation, so that we can assess whether we are making a difference.

Collaboration, recognizing that we must work together in various ways, and to varying degrees, to truly create impact.

In 2021:

  • 20,597 agency staff and volunteers were supported to effectively evaluate programs, collaborate on efforts, and research community needs and evidence-based solutions.
  • 261 partners were engaged in collaborative efforts.

Every funded program reports the impact that programs have on clients. Here are some examples:

  • Social service organizations are better able carry out their work
    In 2021, 93% of surveyed organizations reported that training and resources had strengthened their organizational capacity.
  • Social service organizations are better able to meet community needs
    In 2021, 89% of surveyed collaborative participants reported that they are better able to meet community needs due to working together.