United Way Ottawa

For more than 80 years, United Way Ottawa has been working to make our city great for everyone.
United Way Ottawa logo

For more than 80 years, United Way Ottawa has been working to make our city great for everyone. We work with local agency partners, government, stakeholders and thousands of donors to change lives right here in Ottawa. Through research, consultation and analysis, we identify where our community needs help the most and where investments will have the greatest impact.

United Way Ottawa invests donor dollars in programs and initiatives that ensure kids are ready to learn and have a safe place to go outside school hours. We fund programs that get homeless youth into safe housing, that provide career development for people with disabilities, and that match newcomers with jobs that fit their skills.

Additionally, we strengthen communities by ensuring those facing mental health and addictions issues get the help they need, that
seniors maintain their independence and stay connected in the community, and that people in crisis have a place to turn.

United Way Ottawa takes great care to ensure every dollar is invested wisely. Organizations and philanthropists that support United Way Ottawa receive detailed reporting to demonstrate the measurable impact of their giving. This commitment to transparency is at the core of United Way Ottawa’s work, and helps connect those who support our community with the people who benefit from their generosity.

Info at-a-glance

Year founded


Total revenue for last fiscal year


Geographic region of focus

100% Local. All of your donation stays in Ottawa

How you can help


The GOODBusiness Collective is United Way Ottawa’s philanthropic network for small businesses. Through this initiative, local  entrepreneurs and small business owners can engage with United Way Ottawa’s network of partners. We work closely with businesses and offer our expertise so they can receive recognition and engage with their communities in a way that makes the most sense for them.


In recent months, the dangers of fentanyl and opioids have been put in the spotlight. With the tragic loss of some young people in our community, we launched a fundraising campaign for project step — a community-wide response to address the need for support, treatment, education and prevention of youth addictions.


When it comes to our growing senior population, United Way Ottawa wants to ensure we have the best tools possible to put  resources where they will have the most impact. In June of 2017, we released A Report on Vulnerable Seniors in the Ottawa
Region — a report that analyzes the state of vulnerable seniors in our city and makes recommendations to address this emerging issue.


Throughout the year, volunteers of all backgrounds and ages provide their time in a variety of ways to help United Way Ottawa  achieve its mission. We welcome volunteers for sports tournaments, parade marching and other community events. Additionally, our Speakers' Bureau invites those impacted by United Way Ottawa to share their story for others.

Businesses can participate in Community Action Days — our signature volunteer events. At these events, teams of volunteers work with United Way Ottawa and community partners to create tangible improvements where they are needed most. Most recently, volunteers helped to  revitalize an Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhood by giving fences a fresh coat of paint and clearing overgrowth around pathways.

Events and fundraising


Young professionals, innovators, networkers and change-makers are invited to attend United Way Ottawa’s annual Schmoozefest event in October. Schmoozefest is the networking event of the year that connects attendees with key people to know in our city, including notable figures such as local CEOs, public officials, and other leaders.


In late May of 2018, United Way’s Ottawa’s annual Community Builder of the Year Awards Gala will celebrate the people and organizations that work tirelessly, passionately and collectively to help make change happen in our community.

Picture of Karen Secord on stage with Parkdale Food Centre clients accepting a community builder of the year award
(CBYA Gala 2017) Every spring, United Way Ottawa celebrates change-makers in our city at the Community Builder of the Year Awards Gala. Pictured: Parkdale Food Centre, winner of 2017’s From Poverty to Possibility award.

Board members and executives

Headshot of Michael Allen
Michael Allen, President and CEO
Headshot of Karen Williams
Karen Williams, Chair of the Board

Karen Williams, Board Chair
Frank Bilodeau, Past Board Chair
Abdulkadir Abdi
Kathleen Kemp
Christopher Dodge, Chair, Revenue Management Committee
Rick Gibbons, Chair, Governance Committee
Doreen Hume, Treasurer
Mark Lambert, Chair, Corporate Services Committee
Naomi Morisawa de Koven, Chair, Community Services Cabinet
Charles Bordeleau
Paul Sarkozy, Chair, Marketing and Communications Committee
Simon Brascoupé
Bryce Conrad
Kim Haliburton
Altaf Jadavji
Pamela Kelly
Helen McIntosh
Robyn Osgood
Pierre Pagé
William Pentney
Laurie Sanderson
Shelley Rolland-Poruks
Ian Sherman
Mark Taylor
Doug Tennant
Danya Vered
George Weber

Get in touch

United Way Ottawa
363 Coventry Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1K 2C5

(613) 228-6700

Twitter: @UnitedWayOttawa
Facebook: facebook.com/UnitedWayOttawa