United Way campaign reaches home stretch

Officials with the United Way are nearing the end of the 2011 fundraising campaign.

In just under two weeks, United Way volunteers and staff will be unveiling the campaign achievements for the 2011 campaign. As of Jan. 9, the community has raised $1.8 million. United Way still needs to bring in another $100,000 to maintain an essential network of social programs and resources. Staff and volunteers are hard at work to bridge the gap to the goal over the next few days. Based on the early indications, the outlook was optimistic when the campaign first launched in September, but the campaign has had to face some tough challenges over the last few weeks.

“Every year it amazes us how people will step forward and donate as much as they can, because they believe so strongly in ensuring social services are available to everyone in our community. Many people have told us that they have increased their gift by 10 per cent or more. That’s an incredible commitment to the community, and we want to thank them on behalf of those who will be benefitting from this generosity,” says Lars Rogers, 2011 volunteer campaign co-chair.

As an added incentive, the campaign co-chairs have committed to having their hair dyed the United Way red. “As long as we raise at least as much as we did last year, we will dye our hair. It’s our way of showing our ‘undying’ dedication and commitment to the great people in this community. This year has been about having a good time with the campaign, and we want to end this campaign on a fun note,” added Rogers.

One of the campaign’s latest corporate donations was from Servus Credit Union who presented United Way officials with a cheque for $54,675.

Servus raised the money through employee pledges, paid jeans days, chocolate sales and branch fundraisers. The Parkland Square branch participated in the Red Deer Rebels’ Sockey Night in Red Deer on Dec. 9 and donated over 200 pairs of new socks.

The United Way is a ‘big picture’ charity that practices strategic giving. They pave the way for journeys with many steps. Servus’ donation may help a child graduate high school or an immigrant family to build a life in Canada.

The United Way office is still accepting donations to add to the community campaign, in person or online at www.caunitedway.ca.

A touchdown event is held each year to announce the campaign achievement and to publicly thank outstanding individuals and businesses for their ongoing support. This year’s touchdown will be taking place on Jan. 26th between 7:30 – 9 a.m. at the Donald School of Business in downtown Red Deer. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend this event.

“We are all in this together and as such, we should celebrate together,” said Robert Mitchell, United Way of Central Alberta CEO.