Community Fund

Local issues can be easy to ignore.

Join us to make them #UNIGNORABLE.

Our Community Fund is built on the generosity of local donors and workplace partners. It is where we direct our community investments to make the biggest impact possible to change local lives. Whether it’s assisting those struggling to make ends meet and feel like a part of their community, funding youth-led projects or delivering critical services, our Community Fund has helped tens of thousands of people across Simcoe Muskoka.

With sixty years of experience in local collaboration and data collection, projects funded by the Community Fund have the biggest impact on those who need it most.

Last spring, UWSM held a series of consultations to identify what local stakeholders from several sectors saw as the most pressing poverty-related issues. These sessions also provided a chance to flag new and emerging issues in each of our six regions. This feedback builds on what we already know from our ongoing work across Simcoe Muskoka.

Urgent Needs Fund

Click here to download the Urgent Needs Fund Overview

Between October 2019 and March 2020, UWSM piloted the Urgent Needs Fund. After hosting our community consultations, we realized there was a gap in existing services for people living under the poverty line. The Urgent Needs Fund was designed to help fill that gap by providing timely, modest grants once community resources had been exhausted.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, phase two of the Urgent Needs Fund has expanded the initial scope of the fund. Now, the UNF is there for individuals in low-income households and those who have been economically impacted by COVID-19.

Phase two of the Urgent Needs fund will continue to offer emergency financial assistance with prompt, one-time grants to address basic need like groceries, clothing, transportation, health and wellness expenses and more. The UNF cannot address housing payments or arrears. Please visit our Get Help Now page for more information on how to access services for housing or utility expenses.

211 Central East Ontario will handle the intake, assessment, client impact and data collection of the Urgent Needs Fund, which will then be used to help better understand the needs of Simcoe Muskoka communities. In addition, six Regional Agency Leads will help to distribute funds to local recipients.

If you or someone you know is experiencing financial hardship, we encourage you to contact 211 (dial 2-1-1) if you live in Simcoe County or the District of Muskoka (705-645-2412) if you live in Muskoka.


Regional Agency Leads

Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle

Barrie and Area, Orillia and Area, North Simcoe and South Georgian bay

Subregions Map

South Simcoe: Township of Adjala-Tosorontio Township, Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, Township of Essa, Town of New Tecumseth

Barrie + Area: City of Barrie, Town of Innisfil, Township of Springwater

South Georgian Bay: Town of Collingwood, Township of Clearview, Town of Wasaga Beach, Town of Blue Mountains

North Simcoe: Town of Midland, Town of Penetanguishene, Township of Tay, Township of Tiny

Orillia + Area: City of Orillia, Township of Oro-Medonte, Township of Ramara, Township of Severn

Muskoka: Town of Bracebridge, Township of Georgian Bay, Town of Gravenhurst, Town of Huntsville, Lake of Bays, Township of Muskoka Lakes

Community Connection 211 Central East Ontario

When you have a medical, fire or legal emergency, call  9-1-1. For any other emergency, call 2-1-1.

211 offers “front-door” access to community, social, health and government services.

211 is free to call, 24/7, bilingual, multilingual and has no geographical boundaries.

211’s Community Navigators are accessible by email, with chat and text access channels in development. They help individuals, families and communities identify, understand and effectively use the programs available to them. Navigators help people better understand their problems and make informed decisions about possible solutions.

United Way Simcoe Muskoka is proud to be a long-time supporter of 211 Central East. Every year, 211 handle tens of thousands of calls and make even more referrals to community resources helping residents access services available to them.

Connect with 211



Available 7am-9pm EST

Collaborative Projects: Poverty Reduction & Inclusion

Click here to download the Collaborative Projects Overview

We know that change is most effective when we work together. By leveraging our collective skills and expertise, we can accomplish far more together than we can alone. That’s always been the driving force behind United Way and it continues to be our approach as we work to help those most vulnerable in our communities.

Starting in 2020, UWSM will fund six cross-sector, three-year collaborative projects – one in each of our sub-regions. These innovative projects will bring together at least three partners in each community to assist people living in poverty and to reduce social isolation according to local needs.

The call for funding opens November 11.


Revised Timeline

FALL 2019 –WINTER 2020

  • Funding Period: 3 years, April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2023
  • Funding: Up to $100,000 each year (max. $300,000)
  • Capacity Building Training: October 18, Rotary Place, Orillia (9am-4pm) – mandatory
  • Expression of Interest: Issued November 11 and closes November 29 at 5:00pm
  • Invitation to Apply for Funding: Successful applicants will be invited to apply online by December 6
  • Application Deadline: January 29 at 5:00pm
  • Application Assessment and Review: February & March 2020
  • Funding Notification: Summer 2020

COVID-19 Notice:

  • The launch of the collaborative projects has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic
  • UWSM has established a COVID-19 Fund to address immediate and emergency needs
  • Details of this fund can be found here
  • Collaborative applicants will be notified this summer once we have a better sense of community needs

For additional information, please contact:

Rosslyn Junke

Director, Community Impact


Phone: (705) 726-2301 ext. 2024