Our COVID-19 Response

If you’re like many Newfoundlanders & Labradorians, you’re probably at home watching or listening to the news media and wondering if there’s anything you can do to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you’re working an essential job, working from home or just staying home, you’re already helping! By staying at home as much as possible, we’re all helping decrease the chances of the virus spreading.


While we are in the midst of responding to the impacts of COVID-19 as individuals, United Way Newfoundland & Labrador is also working to help lessen the impacts on those that are most vulnerable in our Province.  We are grateful for the private and corporate donations, as well as funding from the Government of Canada to allow us to respond to needs right here, in our backyard.

We wanted to give you a few updates on what is happening, and how we are working to respond to the crisis & immediate needs in our province.  Please note as there are quite a few activities ongoing, updates are being provided on the following initiatives:

  • United Way Newfoundland & Labrador 2020 Community Fund process update
  • Atlantic Compassion Fund
  • New Horizons Seniors Program – Government of Canada funding
  • Emergency Community Support Fund – Government of Canada Funding
  • Office Operations



On March 13, 2020 applications for our 2020 Community Fund process closed.  At that time, the implications of COVID-19 on our local community were just becoming more evident.  With consultations with our Board of Directors and the Community Investment Committee, and after a review of the applications that had been received, the Board recommended pausing the 2020 Community Fund for a temporary period.  This pause (in early April) was reviewed again during the Board of Directors April meeting, and the decision to pause has been extended.  As of today, the 2020 Community Fund process is on hold.  We will review this on a monthly basis, or until the public health measures for COVID-19 begin to transition, or until we know more about the duration of these measures.

The majority of applications for funding as presented are no longer viable, due to gathering size restrictions, and the cease of normal operations for many community groups as they work to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. 

When the process is re-opened, we will connect with the groups that have already submitted applications and invite them to keep that request or make adjustments based on COVID-19 Impacts. We will also re-open to new applications, as we know that there will be organizational needs post-pandemic as well. 

We want to thank our annual donors – their commitment and generosity during the 2019 workplace campaigns held in organizations throughout Newfoundland & Labrador last Fall will allow us to provide support in the coming months as we begin to understand the long-lasting implications of the public health measures and adjust to a “new normal”. 


Launched in mid-March by Atlantic Business Interiors’ Tom Rose with a seed fund of $100,000, the Atlantic Compassion Fund has quickly grown with the support of corporate and individual donors. Homelessness, food insecurity, mental illness and precarious employment are really difficult things to have to experience. Now, as public health measures are taken across the region in response to COVID-19, people who were already vulnerable are facing major disruptions and new risks – and many are in crisis right now.

Now, more than ever, we need to pull together to support those who need it most. The Atlantic Compassion Fund will is helping us do exactly that.

This Atlantic-wide fund – managed by United Way Halifax

in collaboration with other United Ways across the region – is helping meet basic needs, reduce the impact of further marginalization and will bring people back together when the time is right.

As of April 25th, United Way Newfoundland & Labrador has distributed 34 grants to community groups throughout Newfoundland & Labrador

We will be re-opening the Atlantic Compassion Fund for more requests for funding next week (May 4-8th).



Funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, United Way Newfoundland & Labrador has entered a partnership with SeniorsNL and Red Cross Newfoundland & Labrador.

SeniorsNL Partnership: With the investment of $100,000, SeniorsNL will utilize their specially trained volunteers and have a website and telephone line to respond to COVID-19 needs for seniors throughout our province who require support during the current Public Health Emergency.

Please see this statement from SeniorsNL:

SeniorsNL is pleased to be the organization to facilitate funding distribution to community groups and seniors clubs throughout Newfoundland and Labrador who want to help seniors who are experiencing immediate or crisis needs at this time during COVID-19 Pandemic. Our aim is to get this funding out as quickly as possible to those groups who are currently addressing such or want to address such needs for those seniors living their communities. We have every confidence that the funding will go directly to very worthy and impactful work throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. The intention is to direct this funding to those working in communities throughout Newfoundland & Labrador to address issues affecting seniors where they live. We will be working with interested groups to determine what they would like to do or enhance or continue existing work they are doing, process their application and send the funding as quickly as possible.


If you are a senior who needs help or know of someone who is, connect with Seniors NL directly.

TELEPHONE: 1-709-737-5904 press 204 and leave a message

EMAIL: info@seniorsnl.ca

ONLINE: www.seniorsnl.ca/uwnl-funding-for-groups/


Canadian Red Cross in Newfoundland & Labrador Partnership:  An investment of $30,000 will help the Canadian Red Cross in Newfoundland & Labrador accelerate the development and implementation of the Telephone Assurance Program that will include regular calls with seniors to provide safety and wellbeing checks, while providing a friendly voice for much-needed social interaction. The funds will also be used to help enhance their Meals-on-Wheels Program, which delivers hot meals to seniors in the St. John’s area, and recruit and train additional volunteers. This Program helps enable seniors to stay safely in their own homes longer.

To reach The Canadian Red Cross in Newfoundland & Labrador’s COVID-19 response line please call 1-800-863-6582 daily between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Their team can provide general advice on self-isolation and other COVID-19 preventative measures. Should the caller have a more urgent need such as being self-isolated and unable to leave their home to get food, medications, or some other essential need, the call is escalated to the  Virtual Operations Team which will conduct a registration and needs assessment and refer them to relevant local resources to respond.


The Government of Canada has been working to put in place supports for all Canadians facing a tough situation. However, COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on those most vulnerable, creating a greater need for community-based organizations. To help these Canadians, the Government of Canada will provide additional support to charities and non-profit organizations through the Emergency Community Support Fund.

The investment will flow through national organizations that have the ability to get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations. It will support a variety of activities, such as:

  • Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications
  • Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments
  • Scaling up help lines that provide information and support
  • Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits
  • Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response
  • Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet


United Way Centraide Canada, Community Foundations of Canada and Red Cross Canada are the three named national partners.  We are working with our national office and when details on local design & distribution have been determined by the three partners and the Government of Canada, we will release information on how these funds will be distributed locally. 

Quick Facts

  • COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations who may be less able to deal with the health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic. Risks of stress, hardship, and abuse are expected to rise as people become unable to access the social and community supports on which they rely in their everyday lives.
  • The Emergency Community Support Fund will provide funding to national intermediaries with networks across the country, including United Way Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and the Community Foundations of Canada.
  • These partners will disburse funds to local community-based organizations working with vulnerable populations, including seniors, persons with disabilities, members of LGBTQ2 communities, veterans, newcomers, women, children and youth, and members of Indigenous communities and racialized communities, such as Black Canadians.
  • This announcement builds on the work that has been done for vulnerable Canadians, including increased support for those experiencing homelessness, help for women and children fleeing violence, counselling services for children and youth, and support for seniors.
  • Charities and non-profit organizations are also able to apply for the 75 per cent wage subsidy that the government announced on March 27, 2020.