Back to News & Articles

Emergency Funding for Charities and Non-profit Organizations

Local charities and non-profit organizations are playing an integral role assisting some of the most vulnerable individuals in our communities during these unprecedented times. COVID-19 has caused many organizations to face rapid and significant changes to the demand for their services and the manner in which those services can be provided. To make matters more complicated, these changes come at time when access to traditional fundraising revenue streams has been limited by the various restrictions accompanying the virus.

On April 21, 2020, the Prime Minister of Canada announced the creation of the Emergency Community Support Fund, pledging $350M in federal financial assistance to charities and non-profit organizations for projects which address pressing social or well-being needs caused by COVID-19. Eligibility details were finalized and released on May 19, 2020, and organizations are now able to submit funding applications. The federal government has entrusted three major charitable organizations (Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada, and United Way Centraide Canada) to administer the fund. Each organization is administering their portion of the fund separately, and as a result there are three unique funding streams, each with different eligibility criteria and application processes. This has caused some degree of confusion and frustration for many organizations who are in urgent need of support.


Does My Organization Qualify?

While specific eligibility criteria varies between the three streams, the federal government has imposed the following minimum eligibility requirements to proposed projects across all streams:

  • The project must address a pressing social inclusion or well-being need caused by COVID-19, by supplying the necessaries of life and supporting activities of daily living;
  • The project must serve one or more vulnerable populations during COVID-19;
  • The project can be carried out in a short timeframe with a reasonable budget; and
  • The applicant organization has not already secured funds for the project from another federal COVID-19 response program or a difference source.


Which Stream?

This infographic from the Government of Canada provides a helpful starting point for determining which funding stream is most appropriate for your organization. Non-profit organizations without registered charitable status are intended to apply through the Red Cross stream. Registered charities and other qualified donees are intended to apply through the United Way or Community Foundations streams.

While applications to the Red Cross stream are being administered nationally, applications to the United Way and Community Foundations streams are being processed by local chapters across the country. Charities or other qualified donees facing the choice between the United Way and Community Foundations streams should refer to the information being provided by their respective local chapters for differences in scope, eligibility, and applicable deadlines. For instance, in Prince Edward Island, the Community Foundations stream is administering grants valued up to $25,000.00 while the United Way stream is administering all grants valued in excess of $25,000.00.

Additional eligibility and application information for each stream can be found at the following links:


Contact Us

HR Atlantic is proud to present weekly publications connected to COVID-19. Please feel free to contact us to further discuss this article or any concerns you or your organization may be facing during these difficult times.


Written by:

Jacob Facini
Consultant/Lawyer, HR Atlantic

Published: May 2020
All rights reserved.