41 community organizations receiving upstream funding to improve community health and wellbeing

Posted on Monday November 21, 2022

Waterloo Region – A decision-making process led by the community, for the community, is allocating $2.1M from the Region of Waterloo’s Upstream Fund and $2M from the Region’s Equity Community Capacity Building Fund. 41 organizations and groups will receive funds to improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous, Black, racialized and other communities facing discrimination.? 

Investing in community safety and wellbeing has been an ongoing priority of Regional Council, and the Upstream Fund was created to help address root causes affecting health and wellbeing. Together with the Equity Community Capacity Building Fund, those who are most impacted by systemic inequality are bring prioritized to remove barriers and improve safety and wellbeing across Waterloo Region. 

“We know that Waterloo Region is home to many leaders and organizations who work every day to create a more equitable community for all,” said Regional Chair Karen Redman. “By investing in their work, we will create a better community for everyone.” 

?The Community Change Committee, made up of 12 community leaders and residents, reviewed applications from over 100 groups and organizations and allocated the funding, prioritizing grassroots organizations and groups that face barriers accessing traditional funding sources. 

“The phrase ‘alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’ has been proven to be so true,” said Fauzia Wafai, Community Change Committee Member. “The involvement of the community members has made the process transparent which in turn will develop the trust of organizations and give them confidence to do even better.” 

Collectively, those receiving funding will undertake upstream and community capacity building around priorities such as Reconciliation, anti-hate, inclusive and safe spaces, employment skills, wellbeing, and system navigation. 

“The Upstream Fund has the potential to shift the balance of power in our Region, and begin to prevent harm before it happens,” said Community Change Committee Member Pamela Fehr. “I was repeatedly amazed at the critical and creative work occurring in all corners of the Region. Our diverse committee jumped wholeheartedly into the fray to determine together what is most needed to create a safe and healthy community for all.” 





The Upstream Fund is a new $2.1 million annual fund approved in December 2021 by Council as part of the 2022 Plan and Budget. 

With close to one million people expected to call Waterloo Region home by 2051, making the Region safe and well for all takes a whole community approach. The Upstream Fund recognizes the value community-led organizations and groups have in achieving this goal.? 

Investing in community-led change was a key call to action from community as part of the Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan process.? 

Over the coming year, collaboration with the successful organizations will continue as the Region learns and shares stories of their work and achievements. Follow along with the process at engagewr.ca/communitysafetywellbeing. Find the full list of recipients here.  


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