Local Love Impacting Local Lives.

By helping one person, we can create ripples of positive impact throughout our communities. In a year like no other, this has never been more true, or more important.

COVID-19 reinforced the fundamental need for the work of United Way of Central Alberta. We helped our partners pivot in the face of the pandemic, set the stage for fundraising initiatives, strengthened existing partnerships, and built new ones. We learned a lot, and our work in 2020 will inform our priorities for years to come. Together, we are building a future where no one is left behind.

Now more than ever, we need to stand united.


We invest donor dollars in programs that impact our community. We partner with other organizations to address the underlying issues that impact residents. And we promote the needs and interests of our more vulnerable citizens. 


United Way Central Alberta is committed to building stronger relationships with Indigenous, Metis and Inuit Peoples in this region to ensure that we contribute to meaningful lasting change. We know we have work to do as individuals and as an organization. In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge that the communities we serve are located in the Indigenous traditional territories represented by Treaties 6 and 7 and an historic Metis gathering site. We offer respect to this land, its 21 First Nations, and all Indigenous, Metis and Inuit Peoples.


our mission

To improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action. 








A resilient and caring community where everyone thrives.

The biggest story of 2020 wasn’t COVID-19. The real headline was how the community came together to respond to the challenges the pandemic brought to Central Alberta.

This is what response looks like


Organizations supported




PPE distributed 


Volunteer hours


Donors from 170 different organizations


Collaborative initiatives


programs and services at 100 agencies*

Helped 39,129 individuals build better lives**

*Agencies which received funding through multi-year agreements under regular United Way investments and the COVID-19 investments could be counted under both funding streams.

** This number represents an estimated number of people supported through regular and COVID-19 investments, and is not indicative of the number of people supported in an average year. Due to emerging needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way secured and distributed funding to organizations that are not usually funded through our regular investments. This ensured Central Albertans had their basic needs met during a difficult time.

This work is supported by our generous donors who rely on us to invest their resources wisely, efficiently, and effectively.


Invested into community progams that help kids be all they can be. 


Invested into moving people from poverty to possibility.


Invested into building stronger and healthier communities

$1.5 million

Invested in COVID-19  response **

$ 0
total invested into Red Deer and the surrounding Central Alberta communities

Priority Services Need Priority Investments

COVID-19 is an enormous challenge, but it hasn’t stopped us from investing in the vital programs that ensure our community can continue to offer necessary services.


kids were provided with services


people were provided services that helped them move out of poverty


people were provided services to better their well being.


students were provided with free menstrual hygiene products


people were provided with basic need items 


PPE was distributed to thousands of people to help protect them from COVID-19

A Message From Our CEO

If there was one word to describe United Way Central Alberta’s 2020, it would be ‘collaboration’. It was challenging for us just as it was challenging for everyone, but ‘collaboration’ helped us conquer challenges and ultimately achieve our goal. We wanted to make sure Central Alberta agencies had what they needed to continue offering their services as best they could through the pandemic. And, with collaboration, we did.

We responded to the immediate needs from COVID by working with our partner agencies to provide flexibility in the use of their core funding. In addition, we worked collaboratively with the Red Deer & District Community Foundation to launch a Community Response Fund.

Soon after, we collaborated with the Government of Canada to administer seniors funding through the New Horizons for Senior’s Fund, and two rounds of Emergency Community Support Funding.  In total, we provided $1.4 million in emergency response funding to over 120 agencies throughout Central Alberta.  Thank you to all of our donors, and the Governments of Alberta and Canada.

But, the Community didn’t stop there. With help from some corporate supporters we were able to distribute over $100,000 in PPE for agencies. Thank you to Canadian Tire, Bianca Amors Liquidation Supercentre, and Troubled Monk for providing this vital equipment.

In a challenging year for many we called on our supporters to help our community recover and they met the challenge with great campaigns happening all over. Our three largest contributors in NOVA Chemicals, MEGlobal and INEOS all had record setting campaigns  that led to us performing slightly better in 2020 than in 2019. Thank you to all of our supporters.

Through our COVID response and normal funding a huge number of individuals who needed support got it and we are so grateful to our donors, volunteers and agencies for all they did for our community this year.

While the year that passed was a challenging one and there is still uncertainty for our sector we know that our community will continue to step up and support those who need it most. We will continue to be there for our partner agencies in any way we can.

Thank you to our donors, volunteers and partner agencies for all you do to support our community and a huge thank you to the United Way Central Alberta staff who worked so hard in a very busy year to make sure we made as much of an impact as possible.



When basic needs become immediate needs

What were the most needed basics?




United Way trusted and supported the agencies’ needs to be more flexible with their already-approved funding so they could continue to offer vital services to people who depended on them the most.

Taking food programs from indoors to outdoors

In response to the COVID-19 shutdown, we supported agencies in adapting their vital service programs. This included the launch of a hot meal lunch program at Big Brothers Big Sisters Lacombe and the frozen meals program for Seniors through the Golden Circle. We partnered with agencies to provide hot meals and food hampers to anyone who needed it.

Hot Lunch Porch Program

The Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Lacombe didn’t let COVID -19 stop them from serving those in need. Upon receiving $8,000 from our COVID-19 Relief Fund and knowing that rural families had no access to urban food banks, they collaborated with local restaurants to create a hot lunch program for families with immediate food security issues.


hot lunches served to youth in Lacombe, Blackfalds, Bentley, and Clive

The Frozen Meal Program

When the pandemic hit, many people including seniors did not feel comfortable going to the grocery store.  Seniors found it more challenging than ever to obtain food. The frozen meal program of Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre supports seniors not only in the city, but also Red Deer County, Lacombe and other outlying communites in our region. Through collaboration with United Way and other local agencies they were able to get a variety of healthy meals to seniors in need.


frozen meals made for local seniors during the pandemic


seniors received meals

Tech support

Once the pandemic hit and schools and agencies started to close their doors, an immediate need for technology became crucial to continuing supports and learning. To help we partnered with ATB Financial to deliver Chromebooks to those in need.

devices distributed to help Central Albertans access mental health supports, apply for benefits, continue schooling and connect with family

Periods don't stop for pandemics.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made affording menstrual products more difficult. Job losses mean that more people than ever are struggling to purchase the menstrual products they need. United Way’s Period Promise offered a solution.

The Period Promise Pilot Project

The Period Promise Pilot Project by United Way and the Soroptimist International Central Alberta is a local response to a global issue. We can reduce the isolation created by period poverty in our own neighbourhoods. 

The project is funded by a $20,250 gender-equality grant from the Red Deer District Community Foundation and all additional costs funded by United Way Central AlbertaProduct sponsorships have also been granted by HOSPECO’s Period Partner and Procter & Gamble, makers of Always and Tampax.  

The Fund for Gender Equality is supported by a collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada and the Equality Fund, with support from the Government of Canada.  


menstrual hygiene products were donated to 4 Red Deer schools


barrier-free product dispensers were outfitted in FOUR Red Deer Public Schools


students were given access to free menstrual hygiene products



United Way Central Alberta has been responding to Central Alberta’s most pressing needs for over 55 years. When COVID-19 hit, the scope and scale of those needs exploded. We responded in three ways.

Emergency Response

United Way Central Alberta’s Community Response Fund, together with matching funding from the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors and Emergency Community Support Funds raised and allocated over $1.5 million to more than 60 programs throughout Central Alberta.

Flexible Supports

In addition to providing response funding, UWCA recognized that programs funded by our regular funding stream would need to adapt in order to continue. With this in mind, we allowed our partner agencies to use core funding to address emergent pandemic needs. Additionally, by working with our corporate partners, we were able to procure and distribute over $100,000 worth of PPE to almost 100 agencies across Central Alberta.


As a long time 211 supporter and a member of its Provincial Leadership Committee, UWCA was able to provide up to date resource listing in the rapidly changing environment resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. UWCA also created and distributed an ongoing newsletter to agencies in Central Alberta that compiled a listing of available resources and funding opportunities in one location.

We are grateful to the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta for their support of the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, and for entrusting us to invest funding where it was needed most. 


At United Way collaboration is at the forefront of our work.


Providing families and individuals who are facing financial challenges with emergency funds to avoid utility disconnection.


The Outreach Centre and United Way of Central Alberta presents Tools for School which aims to reduce barriers preventing children and youth from successful learning and participation in school. School supplies are collected and distributed to families across Central Alberta who have children in kindergarten to grade 12, who otherwise could not afford to purchase supplies. Thousands of backpacks are filled with basic school supplies to ensure students have the tools they need to succeed in school.


Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance, or CAPRA, is a group of people and organizations who work collaboratively to find local solutions and make a real difference on poverty. We have over 45 members and hundreds of community supporters advocating for social change that will improve opportunities for people experiencing poverty.


Women United showcases the philanthropic power of women by connecting female philanthropists to issues that matter most to them, and to each other.


GenNext encourages people in their 20s and 30s to actively connect with the community, and to influence positive change through meaningful volunteering and networking opportunities.


We will explore ways of ensuring diverse voices are represented in planning and decision-making. We will work with the community to uncover the aspirations and barriers to inclusion that exist for people and then working collaboratively to address these disparities. We will use our voice to advocate for change. We will share our platform so people whose voice too often go unheard, can be expanded to new audiences.


Improving the integration of immigrants in Red Deer. Strengthening the community’s ability to better address the needs of newcomers. Economically. Socially. Culturally. Politically.

211 answers the call

From accessing food banks, to programs for seniors, to relief from utility bills, 211 answered the call 24/7 via phone, text, and online chat. Through our partnership with 211, we were able to identify vital services in high demand and direct funds to the appropriate agencies that provide such services—allowing for the biggest impact.

Our region



Poverty Homelessness Mental Health Isolation Domestic Violence Education Inequality Hunger Unemployment



red deer & county

The unemployment rate in Alberta skyrocketed to 11.3% in 2020


clients were served by


different programs in Red Deer and Red Deer County region 

central alberta north

Child poverty rates range from 4.9% to 16.7% in this region.


clients were served by


different programs in the Central Alberta North region

Central alberta east

83% of youth in Alberta complete high school within 5 years. Mentoring helps youth have the foundation they need to succeed.


clients were served by


different programs in the Central Alberta East Region

Central alberta south

The unemployment rate in Alberta skyrocketed to 11.3% in 2020.


clients were served by


different programs in the Central Alberta South Region

Central alberta west

More than 1080 children and youth experience poverty in this region.


clients were served by


different programs in the Central Alberta West Region


At United Way we are designing a new way forward with equity at the centre of all that we do.


Equity is the intentional inclusion of everyone, and this lens will help us to realize our vision of central Alberta as a resilient and caring community where everyone thrives. We must first listen and understand the experiences of people in communities throughout the region. Through a deep understanding of people’s experiences, we can turn our focus on identifying and removing barriers for those most harmed by them. It is only through an intentional emphasis on equity and systemic change, leveraging all of our assets and connections, that we can aspire to create the conditions that allow everyone the opportunity to thrive.


Staff and volunteers have been building a shared understanding of the concepts of privilege, power and oppression and uncovering the systems and structures that influence our everyday experiences. While these conversations are sometimes uncomfortable, we continue to move forward learning about the diversity in our community and what inclusion might look like. We are grateful for the individuals who have shared their stories and provided insight on what belonging means to them.


We are committed to building stronger relationships with Indigenous, Metis and Inuit Peoples in this region to ensure that we contribute to meaningful lasting change. We need to do this work as individuals and as an organization. The first step on our reconciliation journey is to listen and learn about Indigenous experiences, wisdom and worldview.


As we move forward, we will continue to unpack the barriers that exist within our own organization and further the learning journey of our staff and volunteers. We will explore ways of ensuring diverse voices are represented in planning and decision-making. We will work with the community to uncover the aspirations and barriers to inclusion that exist for people and then working collaboratively to address these disparities. We will use our voice to advocate for change. We will share our platform so people whose voice too often go unheard, can be expanded to new audiences.

We want to become leaders in advocating for equity, working collaboratively with Indigenous Peoples and partnering to create communities where everyone has the resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive. This is the new United Way.