United Way of the Lower Mainland

4543 Canada Way
Burnaby, BC V5G 4T4
President & CEO: Michael McKnight
Board Chair: James Belsheim

Charitable Reg. #:10816 0185 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 4/5]



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) 84 cents are available for programs.

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About United Way of the Lower Mainland:

Founded in 1930, United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM) grants money to local charities in the greater Vancouver area. This includes the Sea to Sky corridor, Sunshine Coast, and Fraser Valley. Grants fit into the charity’s three focuses: helping kids and youth succeed, healthy aging for seniors, and building healthy connected communities. Besides grants to local agencies, UWLM also spends money in-house on these focus areas.

Seniors-focused programs received 53% of UWLM’s program and grants spending in F2020. Money goes to programs that help BC seniors stay at home longer and remain socially connected, active, and engaged in their communities. UWLM receives provincial funding to manage Better at Home, a program that helps seniors with simple day-to-day tasks such as housekeeping, grocery shopping, yard work, and social visits. Local agencies deliver these services. UWLM also distributes Community-Based Seniors’ Services (CBSS) grants to local charities that deliver seniors programs. This includes Active Aging, a program that encourages seniors to remain physically and socially active and make healthy lifestyle choices. UWLM manages the Active Aging program. In its F2020 annual report, UWLM states that it reached over 17,000 seniors through Better at Home and Active Aging (as well as Food for All), down from 66,000 seniors in F2019.

Kids-focused programs received 24% of UWLM’s program and grants spending in F2020. The charity funds after-school programs such as School’s Out, leadership programs like Future Leaders that focus on skills development, and funding for post-secondary education through the Youth Futures Education Fund. UWLM funded 29 Schools Out programs and almost 2,000 other out-of-school programs in F2020. More than 43,500 kids participated in after-school programs during the year. Kids received homework help, physical activity, mentoring, and social and emotional support services. This is down from over 113,000 kids reached in F2019.

United Way of the Lower Mainland’s COVID-19 response was 8% of program and grants spending in F2020. The charity is working with 24 designated Better at Home COVID response hub agencies to connect local volunteers with seniors who need help. It also created Local Love Food Hubs in 39 neighbourhoods across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley to help feed kids who relied on meal programs offered in schools that have been shut down. To combat the elevated risk of social isolation and loneliness, UWLM expanded its Hi Neighbour initiative to 25 neighbourhoods.

Communities-focused programs received 5% of program and grants spending in F2020. Hi Neighbour is the charity’s main initiative that encourages local BC residents to socialize and meet new people. There are eight Hi Neighbour communities across Metro Vancouver. They are located in Burke Mountain, Clayton Heights, Cedar Valley, Lower Lonsdale, Edmonds, Sunset, Willoughby, and Sardis. The charity reports that over 68,100 people benefitted from projects in their neighbourhoods that addressed social isolation and building connections (up from 35,000 people in F2019). The remaining 10% of program and grants spending in F2020 was on Community Services activities (social planning,  community development, research, advocacy and engagement) and other grants. 

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Results and Impact

According to UBC’s Human Early Learning Partnership, the number of kids enrolled in structured after-school activities in the Lower Mainland has increased 35% (from 50% to 85%) from 10 years ago because of after-school programs funded by UWLM.

In its most recent F2019 Healthy Aging annual report, United Way of the Lower Mainland states that 90% of BC seniors reached through Healthy Aging programs (such as Better at Home and Active Aging) are more active, connected and engaged.

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United Way of the Lower Mainland is a Major 100 charity, meaning it is one of Canada’s largest in terms of donations. It received $33.4m in donations in F2020, a 29% increase from $26.0m in F2019. Government funding from the BC Ministry of Health was 60% of total revenues. UWLM received a $50.0m grant in F2020 to use over three years to support the expansion of the seniors’ independence and active aging program.

Administrative costs are 1% of revenues (excluding investment income) and fundraising costs are 15% of donations. For every dollar donated, 84 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

United Way of the Lower Mainland holds $74.7m in funding reserves, which includes $6.6m in donor-endowed funds. Excluding donor endowments, the charity’s reserves can cover annual program and grant spending at current levels for 2.4 years.

Total mission spending (excluding donor-designated grants) was $28.8m in F2020 – 75% was grants to other charities, and 25% was on UWLM’s own activities. United Way Lower Mainland’s most recent T3010 filing to the CRA is for F2019. In its filing, it reported grants to 1,166 charities. The ten largest grants, totaling $3.2m, accounted for 14% of total grants during the year.

This report is an update that has been sent to United Way of the Lower Mainland for review. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 22, 2020 by Katie Khodawandi.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 1.3%3.0%2.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 14.9%18.3%17.7%
Total overhead spending 16.1%21.4%20.5%
Program cost coverage (%) 239.0%63.5%69.2%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 33,40925,98527,795
Government funding 50,0007,12910,720
Investment income 381,042677
Total revenues 83,44734,15539,192
Program costs 7,3486,2185,490
Grants 21,47623,36622,009
Donor-designated donations 5,8414,0494,596
Administrative costs 1,0421,0011,069
Fundraising costs 4,9724,7664,916
Other costs 288288288
Total spending 40,96739,68838,367
Cash flow from operations 42,479(5,533)825
Capital spending 10811851
Funding reserves 74,73625,56025,483

Note: As a non-cash item, Ci removed amortization ($243k in F2020, $233k in F2019, and $223k in F2018) from administrative costs. Ci did not adjust for changes in grants payable, as a breakdown of how this adjustment would affect donor-designated grants versus regular grants is not clear. Fundraising costs are net of cost recoveries, which were $106k in F2020, $95k in F2019, and $105k in F2018.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 78

Avg. Compensation: $97,126

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 F2019

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

No comments have been added by charity

Charity Contact

Website: www.uwlm.ca
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 604-294-8929