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Queen’s community sets record for giving to United Way

Queen's United Way committee members hold up number for $401,000
Queen's United Way committee members hold up number for the $401,000 raised so far for the 2020 campaign for the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year created much uncertainty, including for charitable fundraising campaigns.

Facing this challenge, the Queen’s community responded with record-breaking giving to the university’s annual campaign in support of the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, topping $400,000 for the first time.

United Way KFL&A is partnering with the Kingston Frontenacs and the Leon’s Centre for a community donation drive in December. Donations can be dropped off at the Leon’s Centre box office from Dec. 7-11 and Dec. 14-18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bins will be set up at Gate 4 at the Leon’s Centre, The Tragically Hip Way, to collect donations of warm clothing including coats, hats, mitts, socks, boots, scarves, gently used children’s clothing and boots, hygiene items, and non-perishable food. It is clear that people are looking for ways to help the most vulnerable members, during the pandemic and into the holiday season and drives being held in workplaces or with family and friends, can drop off their collections during these days. For more details and a list of items to donate visit the United Way KFL&A website.

”It's truly inspiring to see that despite the challenges of 2020, Queen's faculty, staff, and students have come together like never before to raise much-needed funds to support our community during these unprecedented times,” says James Ligthart, chair of the 2020 Queen’s United Way Fundraising Campaign Committee.

To meet the new challenges created by COVID-19, this year’s campaign committee at Queen’s primarily relied on online resources to help activate donations.

One new approach was the use of ‘Department Champions’ across the university who communicated with colleagues and peers in online meetings to help promote the campaign’s initiatives and goals and share what it means to support the United Way.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane, a member of United Way KFL&A’s campaign cabinet, also hosted a virtual Lunch & Learn Speaker Series for Queen’s highlighting the needs in our community and how United Way and our donations are helping to make a difference.

“The United Way supports vitally important work in our community and I am proud that so many at Queen’s gave so generously to this year’s campaign,” Principal Deane says. “To be a leader in donations in a year when many people are in desperate need of the services United Way agencies provide is humbling. I am grateful to all of our Queen’s staff, faculty, students, and retirees for contributing to the campaign and to all those who volunteer their time to assist with the work of the many United Way agencies.”


As the single largest workplace campaign between Toronto and Ottawa, the Queen’s community makes a significant difference and helps meet and overcome many challenges faced by the KFL&A community.

Donations to the 2020 Queen’s United Way Campaign can still be made at queensu.ca/unitedway.

Previously, the highest amount for the Queen’s campaign was the more than $370,000 raised last year.

On Nov. 26, United Way KFL&A campaign chair and Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely (Sc’83) announced that a grand total of $3,180,301 had been raised by the community, exceeding the $2.9 million overall goal. Another $367,367 has been raised since the beginning of the pandemic through the United Way’s COVID-19 Response Fund. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic the United Way KFL&A has seen increased demand across the communities it serves, with many service providers facing new, greater challenges such as people losing their jobs and volunteers being unable to work in-person they have in the past.

In response, the United Way KFL&A invested $1.2 million in the community during the first three months of the pandemic, including more than $800,000 from the federally-funded Emergency Community Support Fund that was distributed to 42 community services and programs that support the vulnerable.

During the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic, 42,000 individuals received support through 87 programs. The funds raised through the campaign will be distributed to local agencies immediately. The COVID-19 Response fund will continue to be used to respond to local needs with agencies using this funding to innovate, adapt their programs, add virtual components and technology.