Frequently asked questions

What is Centraide's role in the community

  • To improve the living conditions of thousands of needy people in the Greater Montreal area by supporting community-based agencies and projects which meet the social needs expressed by the community.
  • To ensure that people in need can acquire the necessary means to regain control over their lives and become active members of the community once again.
  • To canvass the people of Greater Montreal for donations by means of a vast fundraising campaign in order to finance community-based agencies and projects.

Why should I give to Centraide?

  • Centraide (United Way) raises money and invests it locally to break the cycle of poverty and social exclusion.

  • In Greater Montreal, one out of seven people receives support from an agency in Centraide’s (United Way’s) network.

  • Centraide (United Way) supports more than 350 agencies that help individuals and families to overcome poverty and exclusion. Centraide’s agencies are characterized by their community roots, their capacity to innovate and work in collaboration with other partners, and their focus on empowering people.

  • Because there are immense social needs in our community. Our society may be rich, but the gap between the haves and the have-nots is widening. Very poor neighbourhoods exist right beside very rich neighbourhoods, and pockets of poverty are appearing in affluent districts. Poverty is evolving, and its new faces are those of youth and families.

  • Because poverty leads to isolation, distress and other problems. Poverty affects every aspect of social life by contributing to family breakup, increased violence, health deterioration, child development problems, parental distress, substance abuse, etc.
  • There are still many families, youth, children and seniors who are needy, isolated and in distress.
    Some statistics:
  • 27% of the population of Greater Montreal is poor (lives under the low-income threshold).
  • In Greater Montreal, one in three children under 15 years of age is poor.
  • On the Island of Montreal alone, one in three children under 5 years of age is poor.
  • In the past two years, the number of cases of child abuse reported to the director of youth protection in Montreal has increased by 20%. Two-thirds of these cases concerned children 11 years of age or under, and the most frequent cause was neglect.
  • Teen violence in and around the school has become a fact of life in Montreal. In 1997-1998, 7,000 young people involved in violent situations turned to youth centres for assistance.
  • For 11% of the young people who arrive in Montreal by bus, their first human contact is with a pimp or a drug pusher who often attempts to recruit them. By the end of their first week in Montreal, up to 50% of these young arrivals have been approached by a pimp or drug pusher.
  • Even if you never need the services offered by these agencies, by giving, you ensure that you and your loved ones, as well as your neighbours, can obtain appropriate services if you ever need them. Your donation in an investment which improves the quality of life of the community in which you live or work.

Why not donate directly to an agency?

  • Because every dollar you give to Centraide has an eightfold impact thanks to the added value contributed by all the volunteers who work for free at Centraide's agencies. (In Centraide's network, there are 186 volunteers for every 24 employees.)
  • Because Centraide provides the agencies with core funding, thereby enabling them to devote their time and energies to helping people instead of constantly searching for financing.
  • Because a donation to Centraide is a value-added donation:
  • A single donation to Centraide can be used to respond to many different needs. Every day, the agencies supported by Centraide help to build a network committed to mutual aid, to people, to communities. These agencies have a profound understanding of their particular sector of activity and a great deal of practical experience. They also increase their own effectiveness by working closely with other agencies in their neighbourhood and by pooling resources.
  • Centraide puts your donations to effective use. With the help of a team of professionals, skilled volunteers conduct research to determine community needs and formulate the most effective response. Just imagine if you had to repeat the whole process for each one of the 300 different agencies and projects.
  • Centraide makes sure that its agencies don't offer programs and services that are already being provided by the government or by other organizations.
  • Thanks to its vast network, Centraide can get a lot done: with a single campaign it can mobilize a large number of donors and volunteers. This collective effort helps many different agencies. If agencies were required to organize their own campaigns, more effort and more resources would be required, and they would have less time to devote to the people they help. Centraide's network allows the community to benefit from economies of scale.
  • Centraide's expenses are closely monitored by a board of directors made up of 30 volunteers who ensure that the maximum amount of money is put back into the community.
  • Centraide of Greater Montreal is our most effective instrument for identifying the best solutions for the future of our community. Centraide's choices are those of the community itself, because volunteers from the community participate in making these choices.

How much money goes to the agencies?

  • Of every dollar raised during the campaign, 87.3 cents goes to the agencies in the form of direct allocations, investments in social research and analysis, and support and follow-up services.

Does Centraide monitor supported agencies?

  • In order to be eligible for funding by Centraide, an agency must meet rigorous selection criteria. The administration and operations of each funded agency are monitored and evaluated by Centraide consultants and volunteers, who visit the agency regularly. They ensure that the agency is managed properly, that it submits audited financial statements, that it meets Centraide's evaluation criteria, and that its programs and services address the real needs of the community.

What agencies receive funding and why?

  • Any agency can apply to Centraide for support. However, the number of agencies and projects that Centraide can afford to support depends on the amount of money it raises. Some agencies don't apply for Centraide funding.

If the campaign raises more money, will Centraide's expenses rise?

  • Campaign and administration expenses remain stable over the years and are kept as low as possible. This is achievable thanks to the various contributions made to Centraide's campaign (loaned representatives, volunteers, the collection of donations through payroll deduction, the donation of advertising space, etc.). Last year, administration expenses accounted for only 12% of Centraide's campaign revenues.

Why does poverty persist?

  • Some people wonder why, if Centraide continues to raise more money, poverty persists. Eradicating poverty is beyond Centraide's capabilities. However, Centraide can lessen the effects of poverty for a great number of people, and help to make their neighbourhoods and communities better places to live.

How much money do you distribute in my municipality?

  • The funds collected during the campaign are reinvested across Greater Montreal as a whole, and not on a municipal basis. However, several of the agencies supported by Centraide, such as Suicide-Action Montréal, Grossesse-Secours (which helps pregnant teens and young mothers), Montreal Harvest, and the Information and Referral Centre of Greater Montreal, provide services throughout Greater Montreal. Of Centraide's 300 agencies and projects, 17 serve its territory as a whole, and 80 serve a complete area, such as the North Shore, the South Shore or the Island of Montreal.

Is it possible to volunteer at Centraide?

  • Yes, it is. Centraide of Greater Montreal exists to serve the community. It operates on the basis of volunteer participation. Voluntary action is what drives Centraide's board of directors, its fundraising campaign, its allocations process, and its network of community-based agencies.


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