Investment Reports - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Investment Reports

257,000 people who were struggling received supports through a United Way funded program in 2022.

Basic Needs

We live in one of the most prosperous communities in North America, and still, thousands of families and individuals are unable to meet their basic needs. United Way’s approach brings together social agencies, schools, organizations, and governments to make a meaningful difference in the community through local programs and services that empower people to improve their lives.

  • In Alberta, food insecurity impacts over 1 in 5 households and over 1 in 4 children. 
  • In Edmonton, 1 in 4 renting households pay more rent than they can afford or live in crowded or unsafe conditions. 
  • As of July 2023, 3,170 people are experiencing houselessness in Edmonton, more than double than in 2019.  
Man wearing gloves home delivering food box, volunteer holding grocery box for donation, supporting local business concept

Impact in 2022

United Way and its local frontline partners provide individuals and families in the Edmonton area with access to healthy, affordable food and emergency relief, as well as assistance in successfully finding and maintaining housing.

Highlights of this work in 2022 include:

  • 75,588 participants accessed healthy meals or food hampers. 
  • 1,093 people received help to obtain or maintain housing. 
  • 8 individuals and families received emergency funds to help meet their basic needs. 
  • 201,618 meals and 429,627 food hampers were distributed. 

Every funded program reports the impact that programs have on participants. 

Here are some examples from 2022: 

  • 97% of participants surveyed reported accessing housing that was safe, adequate, affordable, permanent — in either independent or supported living arrangements, as appropriate to their needs (e.g., their physical, mental or social health; economic situation). 
  • 99% of participants surveyed reported accessing nutritious food (e.g, fruits, vegetables, multiple food groups). 

Children and Youth

The early years set the foundation for all future learning and development. For children who grow up in poverty, getting the right opportunities to build those skills is often out of reach. 

People with higher levels of education are more likely to have better jobs, live in safer homes, and report better physical and mental health. 

  • 33% of the children in Kindergarten in Edmonton are experiencing great difficulty in one or more areas of development. 
  • As of 2020, it is estimated that 540,000 to 1,060,000 Canadian children under 16 have low literacy skills. 
  • 18% of students in the Edmonton region don’t graduate high school within 3 years. 
  • Improving the high school completion rate in Canada by one per cent would save $7.7 billion annually in social assistance, costs of crime, lost earnings, tax revenues, employment insurance and other public expenditures.
Students stand and sit together in a school stairwell

Impact in 2022

United Way and its frontline partners are 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.

Highlights of this work in 2022 include: 

  • 5,430 individuals received early learning and parenting supports. 
  • 29,674 students participated in healthy development programs. 
  • 4,777 children participated in nurturing after-school programs. 
  • 643 at-risk youth were supported to stay in school. 
  • 4,390 caregiver/child activity kits were distributed to support positive child development. 
  • Over 23,271 sessions to support children and their caregivers through workshops and one-on-one support took place. 
  • 1,080,208 meals were distributed in schools. 

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. Young children are supported to achieve developmental milestones.
    • In 2022, 88%% 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 2022, 84% 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. 

Life Empowerment Skills and Education

People living in low income are the most vulnerable to unemployment and job loss. The high cost of childcare, lack of transportation, and flexible work hours all limit employment options. Many people work two or more low paying jobs and still can’t make ends meet. Some of the same challenges that limit their employment options also impact their ability to find resources to improve their situation. 

  • While the Alberta minimum wage is $15/hr, a living wage in Edmonton is $21.40/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 4 Canadians say their monthly spending exceeds their income. 
  • 1 in 3 Canadians say they borrow to buy food or pay for daily expenses. 

These barriers combined with the complexity of navigating government supports can create a ripple effect on low-income households. As a result, many miss the benefits of accessing mainstream banking products, government benefits, tax credits, and subsidies. 

Mom reading a book with baby boy at home. Early age children education, development. Mother and child spending time together. Candid lifestyle.

Impact in 2022

United Way and its local frontline partners are helping people living in or close to poverty prepare for life’s challenges through employment training and services and financial literacy support.  

Highlights of their work in 2022 include: 

  • 6,482 people received help filing their income taxes and/or accessing benefits. 
  • 1,799 vulnerable community members received financial literacy training. 
  • 2,387 individuals got help obtaining and retaining employment. 
  • 435 financial literacy sessions or workshops were held.
  • 970 employment trainings or workshops were held, and 514 resume or interview supports were provided. 

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

  • Improved employability skills and improved employment opportunities.
    In 2022, 61% of participants surveyed increased their wages or found employment. 89% of participants surveyed reported being involved in activities that support or assist with education or employment readiness.  
  • Gain of financial knowledge and increasing access to financial resources, tools, and services.
    In 2022, 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 2022, 95% of participants of Empower U felt more hopeful for the future after completing the course. 

Mental Health

Every year, one in five Canadians experiences a mental health problem or illness. 

  • 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. 
  • Every hour, a woman in Alberta experiences some form of violence from an intimate partner. 

For those facing these challenges, the lack of access and support mean a higher risk of falling into poverty. Without help, these problems can take a toll, affecting all areas of their lives including relationships, managing daily stress and the ability to work. 

Impact in 2022

Navigating social services and community resource systems can be difficult and overwhelming, especially for someone who is already experiencing the stressors of poverty. It can be challenging to know what help is available, and how to access it. Information and referral services connect people to the resources that will best meet their needs.  

United Way and its strategic partners provide mental health supports and help those seeking support access the services that are best for them.  

Highlights of their work in 2022 include: 

  • 19,445 individuals facing mental health challenges received timely counselling. 
  • 3,371 people who experienced domestic or sexual violence received caring supports. 
  • 18,873 community members attended mental health education sessions. 
  • 87,430 people were connected to needed services by skilled staff. 
  • 23,352 individual and 1,015 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. 
  • In 2022, 83% of participants surveyed demonstrated an increased capacity to solve day-to-day problems and challenges. 
  • Increased knowledge of available community resources and comfort with accessing those supports.
    In 2022, 88% of surveyed participants reported referrals provided were relevant to meet their needs. 

Community and Social Sector Development

We work collaboratively across the social services sector, identifying pressing community needs, and convening partnerships across the region to implement solutions with greatest impact. 

Local charities and non-profits are feeling increased pressure and requests for help as the need in our community also grows. United Way provides critical funding and backbone administrative support, so local agencies can focus on delivering much-needed programs and services. 

In 2022: 

  • 22,726 agency staff and volunteers were supported to effectively evaluate programs, collaborate on efforts, and research community needs and evidence-based solutions. 
  • 325 partners were engaged in collaborative efforts and 58 partners were engaged in research to understand community need and improve practices. 
Business people shaking hands outdoors. Man and woman aving handshaking showing mutual cooperation between their companies, firms or enterprises.

Impact in 2022

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 2022, 95% of surveyed organizations reported that training and resources had strengthened their organizational capacity. 
  • Social service organizations are better able to meet community needs
    In 2022, 92% of surveyed collaborative participants reported that they are better able to meet community needs due to working together. 

Who We Served in 2022

Data paints a picture of who was served by United Way funded programming in 2022. Programs count the number of participants accessing a program and aim to count each participant only once during the period covered regardless of the number of program-related services that the participant receives. In some programs, tracking this number is challenging, particularly in drop-in, information and referral services, and public education programs. Despite these limitations, the number of participants reported represents the significant reach and impact of our and our partners’ work.

Participant Age Range 
Ages 0 to 5                                                12,049 
Ages 6 to 12                                                24,999 
Ages 13 to 17                                                13,234 
Ages 18 to 24                                                12,761 
Ages 25 to 64                                                63,674 
Ages 65+                                                10,623 
Age Unknown                                                119,660  
Participant Home Community 
City of Edmonton  201,057 
Strathcona County  10,789 
Fort Saskatchewan  1,749 
Leduc & Leduc County  3,975 
St. Albert & Sturgeon County  5,084 
Spruce Grove, Stony Plain & Parkland County  6,525 
Out of Province  476 
Other  2,808 
Unknown  24,537 


Programs report the following information only if they choose to ask participants to self-identify this information. Not all programs choose to report this information. 


Indigenous Participants 
Ages 0 to 5             667  
Ages 6 to 12             816  
Ages 13 to 17             906  
Ages 18-24         1,183  
Ages 25 to 64         6,582  
Ages 65+             608  
Age Unknown         2,019  
Non-Indigenous Participants of Colour 
Ages 0 to 5             110  
Ages 6 to 12             609  
Ages 13 to 17             219  
Ages 18-24             354  
Ages 25 to 64         1,193  
Ages 65+             338  
Age Unknown             194  
Newcomer Participants   
Ages 0 to 5  108 
Ages 6 to 12  632 
Ages 13 to 17  544 
Ages 18-24  115 
Ages 25 to 64  949 
Ages 65+  281 
Age Unknown  427 
Participant Gender   
Boy/Man/Male       28,743  
Girl/Woman/Female       38,638  
Gender Diverse or a Gender Not Listed            798  
Prefer Not to Say            732