March 15, 2021

UCalgary and United Way social impact seed funding partnership aims to create jobs and support economy

New Social Impact Fund supports quality of life for Albertans

Calgary, Alberta – In the midst of significant social, economic and public health disruptions caused by COVID-19, the University of Calgary and United Way Calgary and Area have partnered to address the social needs of Albertans through the creation of the UCeed Social Impact Fund. United Way is providing the lead investment in the fund with a $2.5 million donation over five years. The UCeed Social Impact Fund will fuel greater social innovation in Calgary through support and investment in ventures that generate both social and economic returns that benefit our society.  Applications for the first round of funding close April 30, 2021.

“Social innovation offers tremendous potential to improve quality of life with collaborations that renew existing processes and address social needs through new products, services, policies and programs. The UCeed Social Impact Fund will spark more innovation and help commercialize new technologies by providing much-needed funding to start-up companies promoting social impact. We thank United Way for igniting our ability to foster transformative ideas and together, make the University of Calgary a hub for social innovation.”

-Dr. Ed McCauley, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Calgary

UCalgary and United Way both share long-term commitments to innovation that drive positive social change. Examples of UCalgary’s extensive commitment to social innovation include the Trico Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Centre in the Haskayne School of Business, the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking and the Social Enterprise Incubator program through Innovate Calgary, as well as UCalgary’s Office of Sustainability, the Office of Indigenous Engagement and the introduction of UCeed Social Impact. United Way champions social innovation through The Social Impact Lab, which allows the organization to directly support agencies that deliver critical services while fostering creativity across the sector to solve social issues impacting our community. The UCeed Social Impact Fund will help accelerate early-stage social enterprises and invest in those ready to tackle societal challenges, deliver value to communities and fuel economic growth.

“We know that change doesn’t happen by doing things the same way – the UCeed Social Impact Fund will enable people in the community to take leaps, make mistakes, and revolutionize systems, bringing about new solutions to the often unseen problems that people in Calgary face every day. Our team is thrilled to work with UCalgary on this exciting new initiative that supports our work to create lasting social change.”

-Karen Young, President and CEO, United Way of Calgary and Area


UCalgary incubates innovation and provides a training ground for the next generation of entrepreneurs. The Social Impact Fund is part of UCeed, a key program in UCalgary’s innovation ecosystem that supports UCalgary startups by bridging the gap between innovation demonstration and commercialization. Activated by Innovate Calgary, the university’s knowledge transfer and business incubator, UCeed supports the robust pipeline of UCalgary-connected enterprises. UCalgary and United Way businesses and agencies who apply for funding through the UCeed Social Impact Fund will benefit from programming and networks in UCalgary’s innovation ecosystem which includes the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, Innovate Calgary, Life Sciences Innovation Hub, W21C, IMPACT and Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies.

“Launched in June 2020, UCeed has evaluated over 150 innovative ideas and is pursing funding of 18 unique opportunities. We’re seeing an increasing number of entrepreneurs in our community intentionally create social impact through their business. The UCeed Social Impact fund will address a critical need to support early stage social entrepreneurs and social innovators.”

-Jordana Armstrong, Associate Director, Innovate Calgary

To celebrate the launch of the UCeed Social Impact Fund, UCalgary is holding an expert-led discussion hosted by UCalgary President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ed McCauley and Chancellor Deborah Yedlin to discuss what social innovation is, how to access the fund and how UCalgary, United Way and Innovate Calgary are making an impact in the social sector. Register now.

In addition, celebrate social innovation with UCalgary by uncovering new solutions to global, social and environmental problems. Increase your social impact — check out a week of social innovation activities at UCalgary from March 15-19.

Apply for UCeed Social Impact Funding

Applications for the first round of UCeed Social Impact Funding close April 30, 2021 and can be submitted at Prospective applicants are invited to email to further explore this opportunity.

Media inquiries

Michelle Crossland
Senior Communications Specialist, Media and Issues Management
University of Calgary

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is a global intellectual hub located in Canada’s most enterprising city. In our spirited, high-quality learning environment, students thrive in programs made rich by research, hands-on experiences and entrepreneurial thinking. Our strategy drives us to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, engaging the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.' For more information, visit

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About United Way Calgary and Area

United Way of Calgary and Area brings together donors, corporations, agencies, and government to solve complex issues and help more than 150,000 local people every year. Since 1940, United Way has supported agencies that assist vulnerable Calgarians. Today, United Way invests in innovation and large-scale initiatives, collaborating across sectors, and building a better system of care for people in Calgary and area.