United Way on final push

The local United Way is continuing to encourage folks to give as annual fundraising campaign winds down.

“We have lots of good news,” says Heather Gardiner, chief executive officer of the United Way of Central Alberta, “but there’s still an urgent appeal to help us reach our goal. We need every penny and need every donor and corporate sponsor to call or go online to make a donation so we can successfully complete our campaign.”

United Way has raised over $1.8 million, close to their goal of $2 million, and the donations are still coming in, says Gardiner.

“We’re so encouraged that despite everything that’s going on out there, there’s still this tremendous response. Corporate donations are especially up.”

The Bank of Montreal is matching staff donations and for donations over $1,000 is matching on a two-to-one basis.

“It’s a tremendous response from a wonderful corporate citizen,” says Gardiner, adding that several energy companies have become new donors and the RCMP is showing stronger than ever support.

United Way of Central Alberta supports 32 local agencies but, says Gardiner, “they’ve asked for $400,000 more than we can provide.

“That tells us a lot about the needs of the community, that the number of clients they help are up. They need more resources, human and financial, to deal with urgent cases and we are often the only agency able to help.”

Every year the United Way goal goes up and fundraising is never easy but the demand keeps going up too.

“It’s an interesting dilemma. We’ve raised a lot of money but the goal is always somewhat artificial,” says Gardiner. “We fund 32 groups, but there are 30 or more again out there that need our help.”

Whatever the final total, United Way is celebrating with a campaign wind-up at a morning function on Jan. 27 at the Collicutt Centre.

It starts at 7:30 a.m. and the public is welcome to attend. Exactly what’s happening at the event is a surprise, but Gardiner says it will have a “unique spin” and promises fun for all.

Anyone, be it individuals or corporate, still wishing to make a donation to this year’s United Way fund drive should get in touch with the Central Alberta office at 403-343-3900 or visit their website.

Non-profit social agencies that receive funding from the United Way include Meals on Wheels, women’s shelters, crisis centres and several central Alberta Boys & Girls clubs.