Apply by June 30: Family and Community Education Fund Can Support Pandemic Projects

Are members of your local feeling stressed and having trouble juggling daily tasks and responsibilities during COVID-19?

Maybe the USW Family and Community Education Fund (FCEF) can help.


An FCEF project is a great way to bring people together (virtually), do something good for your local and community and engage new or young activists in your local.


The Family and Community Education Fund is accepting applications until June 30, 2020, and this year, any local in Canada can apply.

At a time when we can’t gather together in person, you could apply for FCEF funding to:

  • Help purchase web-based tools to hold virtual social gatherings and meetings (or temporarily borrow one of the GoToMeeting credentials that the fund has access to).
  • Buy a subscription to online lessons (in music, dance, learning a new language, etc.) to share with all local-union members.

It’s Not as Much Work as You Think

Sarah Whelan, Vice-President of USW Local 4120, was feeling the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic personally and realized other members of her local, staff members at the University of Guelph, were likely dealing with heightened stress and anxiety, too.

Sarah wanted to do something for the USW membership to help with members’ mental health.

By talking over possibilities with Eric Delparte, FCEF Co-ordinator, Sarah realized she already had an idea that might work: offering a virtual Zentangle workshop for members.

Collection of Zentangle pieces by members of USW Local 4120De-stressing Kit and Course: Zentangle

Since the pandemic hit in March, many members of the local have been working from home.

Sarah knew that members were feeling stressed – working without their usual resources, loss of contact with co-workers, some were starting to feel lonely, and those with kids at home were finding it harder to get work done.

Zentangle is a repetitive, guided drawing method that is relaxing and meditative. Sarah had taken an in-person Zentangle workshop in March, before the pandemic hit, so she was familiar with it and knew she could talk to a local instructor about the possibility of hosting an online workshop.

“If we offered this to our membership (virtually), it could be for everyone. There’s a family component. You could do it with others in your household,” Sarah said.

Sarah applied to the fund for $5,000 to purchase 250 kits and hire an online instructor. The project was approved and Sarah will start promoting the Zentangle kits and workshop to USW 4120 members in early June.

How do you Get Started Applying to the Fund?

Sarah suggests knowing what your members want or need.

“It’s not hard to apply if you’ve thought out your project. The application itself helps you through it. And reach out to Eric. He’s such a good resource,” said Sarah.

What Kind of Project can you Dream up?

For more information or to discuss project ideas, please contact your district education co-ordinator or Eric Delparte, Fund Co-ordinator, at or by text or phone at 705-207-1691.

Get more ideas for virtual projects here.

Apply by June 30

The Family and Community Education Fund is open to all USW locals and the application deadline is June 30.

Solidarity will get us through the pandemic!

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