Annual Report 2020-21

Reporting back and looking forward

Post it notes and a sharpie on a desk

In spring 2021, we began working on the next strategic plan that will shape the road ahead for United Way Halifax. It will be completed by winter 2022, and its purpose is to describe how we will grow, evolve, and create impact between 2022 and 2025.

The foundation we’re starting with

Our last strategic plan was designed to guide us from 2016 to 2021. It provided us with a strong focus on poverty alleviation, community impact, relationship building, and modernization. To do all of this work well, we centred on operational excellence, so that we could attract and retain top talent, manage resources efficiently, nurture a healthy and productive workplace environment, and continue to step up our leadership on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Within that foundation are a few things we will keep centred in our next strategic plan, including: our mission, vision, values, and commitment to poverty solutions. Together, these pieces of who we are will act as roots from which we can stretch and grow.

Mission: Bring donors, volunteers and partners together to create lasting social change.


Vision: Halifax. United by compassion. Rich in opportunity. Free of poverty.

The success we’re building on

Over the last five years, we united the city in shared conversations about addressing poverty, social isolation and housing insecurity by:

  • Co-chairing and completing the community’s first-ever Report on Poverty Solutions.
  • Hosting socially-conscious art installations at Nocturne, and working with local marketing experts to create award-winning campaigns that raised awareness about homelessness and poverty.
  • Delivering hundreds of speeches and presentations within workplaces and other fundraising settings, raising awareness about community needs and our role in addressing them.

We elevated public understanding of critical social issues through engaging experiences. This included:

  • Engaging more than 500 volunteers to complete hands-on helping projects to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.
  • Hosting storytelling events and housing and homelessness symposiums, both of which helped to inspire and inform people across industries and sectors.
  • Coordinating Tampon Tuesday product drives that brought partners like NSGEU, Halifax Public Libraries, Enterprise and Events East together.

We increased fundraising results, launched a new funding framework, and invested in many people and programs that are making a difference in our community. This included:

  • Launching the first COVID-19 relief fund in Canada.
  • Being a founding partner of Every One, Every Day K’jipuktuk, the Bhayana Foundation Invisible Champion Awards and the Nova Scotia Non-Profit Coalition.
  • Designing and investing in targeted opportunities to strengthen our communities. A great example is the United Way Halifax Neighbourhood Kitchen Fund, co-founded by BMO and Medavie, which enables people to gather around good food.

Where we’re going from here

As an organization with local roots going back almost 100 years, there are always opportunities to innovate, streamline and try fresh approaches. A spirit of continuous improvement allows us to evolve as donors and community needs do, too. When we share our strategic plan with you in winter/spring 2022, you’ll see that spirit reflected. It will provide a clear picture of the role we will play, the impact we will have, and the ways we’ll collaborate with United Ways across Atlantic Canada.

Although the environment around us continues to be unpredictable and complex, one thing is certain: United Way Halifax believes everyone deserves to belong, have a home, and live a good life. No matter how our impact or operations shift and change over the next few years, this belief will always guide us.