The United Way of Central Alberta says it will be able to provide the same level of support despite raising less money than in years past.
Friday morning, the United Way announced their 2016 fundraising campaign brought in $2,145,640, down about five per cent from the year previous and below 2014’s record total of over $2.3 million.
Given the state of the economy, organizers are pleased with the results.
“It was all about the heart this year,” said Campaign Co-chair Ken Johnston. “There are times in the community when you test the heart. This year, the community’s heart was beating broader and bigger than ever and that’s why we’re so excited to celebrate this today.”
This year’s campaign saw regular supporters increase their donation amounts where possible, and new donors chip in to help push the total higher.
“I’m surprised that we managed to get as high,” Campaign Co-chair Craig Curtis admitted. “But I always knew that the community would reach deep down into their pockets, because the needs are there and they need to be met.”
Curtis shared some key numbers when it comes to how many people were helped by the United Way of Central Alberta last year:
- 8342 people were given assistance to help live independently
- 2395 people were provided with support to manage through a crisis
- 165 people were given help in finding a place to live
- 994 people were helped to find employment, including 188 immigrants
CEO Robert Mitchell says this year’s fundraising will allow the United Way to maintain their current service levels.
“We’re probably going to have to make some cutbacks in other areas,” he noted. “We do have some reserves, as well. We’ve had some good years in the past, so we put some of that money into reserves and have invested it wisely. We’ll use some of that money this year, for sure.”
Mitchell says programs selected to receive funding from the United Way will continue to focus on the key areas of education, income and wellness.
In addition to announcing their fundraising total, the United Way also honoured its top contributors for 2016:
- Nova Chemicals: $747,745
- MEGlobal / Dow Chemicals: $141,342
- Alberta Health Services: $69,947
Scotiabank was presented with the new Rising Star Award for their contributions. The Innovation Award went to the Central Alberta Refugee Effort, and the Employee Campaign Coordinator Award was given to Kayle Akins with Dow/MEGlobal.
It was also announced on Friday that Linda Wilson will be coming on board as co-chair for the 2017 campaign, replacing Curtis, who is stepping down. Johnston says he will be back for another a year as co-chair.
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