Innovation Fund

Thanks to over 80 years of donor support, United Way Peterborough & District has a proud history of working with local social service agencies to transform our community. Working with our donors and our community, UWP seeks to change social conditions to create opportunities for a better life for individuals, families, and communities by making our community a better place to live for everyone.

Through United Way’s Innovation Fund, we seek to support non-profit innovators, whether small or large, in designing and delivering new initiatives that align with our funding priorities: Poverty to Possibility, and Building Strong and Health Communities.

2023 Innovation Fund Recipient:

Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough was the 2023 recipient of $75,000 in funding through the Innovation Fund for their “Morning Drop-In Program”.

The Morning Drop-In Program is a place where community members can gather, share a light breakfast, enjoy a cup of coffee, access a community clothing cupboard, washrooms, and showers, connect with housing outreach workers, access harm reduction supplies, participate in community programs and have the occasional dance party. This program supports community members from all walks of life. All are welcome, and everyone belongs.

Program Highlights:

  • 428 days of Morning Drop-In service
  • Served an average of 46 guests per day
  • 19,688 meals served
  • Housing Outreach accessed approximately 260 times
  • Service Navigation provided to approximately 9 individuals per day
  • Harm reduction accessed 5 times a day
  • Over 50 people trained in the use of Naloxone

“As the needs and capacity of the community and agencies within evolve, so does our program. We are grateful for the opportunity to innovate in ways that allow us to meet people where they are at, providing essential and often life saving support for some of our most vulnerable neighbours.”

– Kristal Jones-Craighead, Social Services Worker, Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough

“The morning drop-in program provided by Elizabeth Fry highlights how a collaborative approach can effectively address service gaps, and help meet the needs of those we support. Through strategic partnerships, open communication and adaptability, the program has significantly broadened access to vital resources, and increased staff capacity to build meaningful connections with those accessing service, supporting their overall safety and wellbeing.”

– Auden Palmer, Director of Outreach Service, One City

Read EFRY PTBO’s 2023/24 Morning Drop-In Program Report HERE

2022 Innovation Fund Recipient:

Nourish (YWCA Peterborough Haliburton) was the 2022 recipient of $65,685 in funding through the Innovation Fund for their pilot project “Peterborough Culinary Collaborative:  A Recipe for Success”.

Women who were already strong cooks, but who faced barriers to employment due to migration, poverty, criminal records, or discrimination, had the opportunity to scale up their cooking and gain employment readiness skills in order to access secure and meaningful jobs within the food industry. Knowing that the food industry generates precarious jobs, participants were equipped with the tools and knowledge they need to access employment in areas of the food industry that offer better wages, opportunities for growth, and access to unions.

Program Highlights:

  • 13 women graduated from the program
  • 8 participants had placements/employment lined up by the end of the program
  • 434 meals were prepared in the training for participants to enjoy together and bring home to their families
  • 4 community mentors contributed time to teach the group (Chef Lisa Dixon of Black Honey, Susan Tung, Owner/Operator Hanoi House & Naka, Chef Morgan Bell, and Chef Guenther Schubert)

“The old adage says that it takes a village to raise a child, but strong communities of support help all of us to flourish. That’s the premise at the heart of the Peterborough Culinary Collaborative. It brings together a vibrant and committed partnership designed to support women who are on the margins of the labour market with high quality employment training and customized support so that they gain access to sustainable and decent jobs within the local food industry.”

– Joëlle Favreau, Nourish Manager, YWCA Peterborough Haliburton

“(This program) gives a sense of self-worth and (I’m) more confident not only in a kitchen but everyday life.”

– Peterborough Culinary Collaborative Participant

The Innovation Fund is not accepting applications at this time. Please follow us on our social media channels where we announce funding as it becomes available.

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