United Way of Calgary and Area

600-105 12 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2G 1A1
President & CEO: Karen Young
Board Chair: Dan Allen

Charitable Reg. #:13022 9750 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 5/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 86 cents are available for programs.

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About United Way of Calgary and Area:

Founded in 1940, United Way of Calgary and Area (United Way Calgary) raises money to support local charities in the Greater Calgary area. It is one of 80 local United Way Centraides in Canada, which all share a common mission of mobilizing communities for lasting social change. As a foundation, United Way Calgary’s primary activity is distributing money to other charities, but it also runs its own initiatives. All sponsored programs and initiatives align with one of United Way Calgary’s three focus areas: Strong Communities, Successful Kids, and Overcoming Poverty.

In F2019, United Way Calgary granted $39.0 million to other agencies, of which $7.9 million was donor-designated grants. The charity also spent $4.3 million on community programs and investments. The remaining $5.1 million in program costs consists of dues to United Way Canada and operational support expenses associated with programming. In terms of grant allocations, 47% went to Strong Communities, 29% went to Successful Kids, and 24% went to Overcoming Poverty.

In F2019, United Way Calgary worked with 83 agency partners and reached 179,162 people (up 9% from 163,667 people in F2018). The charity supported 171 programs and initiatives in F2019, down 10% from 190 programs in F2018.

Strong Communities funding in F2019 engaged 43,919 Calgarians. Also, 16,445 people gained knowledge and skills to improve their mental health. 3,435 people participated in activities that helped improve their financial well-being. The charity’s Community Hubs initiative, which started in F2017, helps poor Calgarians struggling with social isolation by providing inclusive spaces where they can connect with others in the community. The charity currently operates five community hubs in the Calgary area.

Successful Kids funding in F2019 helped 18,000 youth build meaningful connections. The charity works with partner agencies to invest in mental health, education, and employment opportunities for youth of all ages. Specifically, 1,044 students received the support of success coaches. The charity also provided career talks to 1,103 students, covering 140 different occupations. All In for Youth is a city-wide program that works with youth to keep them in school, help them finish school, and then transition into the workforce. In F2019, the program ran in 25 high schools across two Calgary school districts.

Overcoming Poverty funding in F2019 provided basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing to 11,445 people. To further support low-income Calgarians, United Way Calgary invests in Aspire Calgary, a city-wide financial empowerment collaborative that helps Calgarians reduce debt, grow savings, and build assets.

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Results and Impact

United Way Calgary’s F2019 impact report states that from F2015 to F2017, the number of youth in Calgary not completing high school on time dropped 5% (from 25% to 20%), due in part to its All In for Youth program. Tax returns filed by volunteers through the Financial Empowerment program in F2019 resulted in $2.8 million in tax refunds. The charity reports that its community hubs helped 92% of residents learn new skills. Further, 81% of residents said that being involved in a hub made a positive difference in their life.

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United Way Calgary is a Major 100 charity, meaning it is one of Canada’s largest charities in terms of donations. The charity received $51.3m in donations in F2019. Administrative costs are 9% of revenues and fundraising costs are 5% of donations. For every dollar donated, 86 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

United Way Calgary’s total funding reserves of $72.3m include a $4m donor-endowment fund. Excluding endowed funds, the charity’s reserves could cover 1.7 years of annual program costs.

The charity’s audited financial statements report community investment program commitments of $27.1m in F2020 and $12.9m in F2021.

Some of United Way Calgary’s largest grants, as reported in its most recent F2018 T3010 CRA filing, are as follows: $3.2m to Boys and Girls Club of Calgary, $2.4m to Carya Society of Calgary, $2.1m to Momentum Community Economic Development Society, $1.3m to Catholic Family Service of Calgary, and $1.3m to Distress Centre Calgary.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to United Way Calgary for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 30, 2020 by Tenzin Shomar.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 8.7%9.3%5.9%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 5.3%7.2%6.0%
Total overhead spending 14.0%16.5%11.9%
Program cost coverage (%) 169.3%151.5%174.1%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 51,28148,01853,343
Investment income 7,5505564,052
Other income 745434343
Total revenues 59,57649,00857,738
Program costs 9,4029,7279,025
Grants 31,11333,22633,339
Donor-designated donations 7,8756,6607,178
Administrative costs 4,5214,5173,160
Fundraising costs 2,7323,4373,221
Total spending 55,64357,56755,923
Cash flow from operations 3,933(8,559)1,815
Capital spending 2821,136737
Funding reserves 72,26468,47177,085

Note: Investment income includes realized and unrealized investment gains (losses), affecting total revenue by $5.5m in F2019, ($1.7m) in F2018, and $2.0m in F2017. Ci reported Donor Choice distributions and donor-advised Tomorrow Fund distributions as donor-designated grants. Operational support expenses allocated to community programs have been included in program costs, as well as United Way Canada dues. Amortization has been removed from program and administrative costs pro-rata.  

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 139

Avg. Compensation: $67,475

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2018

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Comments & Contact

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Charity Contact

Website: www.calgaryunitedway.org
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 403-231-6265