Thursday, 12 September 2013 06:35

Swift Current's United Way sets new fundraising goal at campaign breakfast

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Swift Current United Way's flag raising ceremony earlier this week. Swift Current United Way's flag raising ceremony earlier this week.

The Swift Current United Way has raised the bar for its 2014 campaign goal with a fundraising target of $110,000.

The new fundraising goal was announced at the United Way’s campaign kickoff breakfast at the Living Sky Casino Sept. 6. RBC Olympian and Canadian Olympic pole vaulter Kelsie Hendry was the guest speaker at the event.
The organization reached last year’s campaign goal of $100,000 and Executive Director Darla Lindbjerg is confident it will also happen this time.
“To be honest, it will be a lot of work to achieve that,” she said. “To achieve that we need the community'’s support. ... So we’re hoping that people take action and we can work together to achieve results and invest in 2014 back into the community even more than we did in 2013.”
Their aim is to reach the 2014 campaign goal by Dec. 31. Donor dollars are invested in southwest communities through the different programs and services offered by 13 funded partners.
“We’re quite excited,” United Way President Susan Woods said about the new goal. “We have a great community that’s always been behind us, supporting us, and we’re challenging everyone to get involved and helping out United Way.”
The campaign got off to a good start, with $16,000 raised through the event. Two corporate donations were also presented at the event. Innovation Credit Union made a donation of $4,000 and RBC presented a cheque of $1,500.
The members of the United Way workplace campaign group will play a key role during the campaign. They will approach businesses for corporate donations and provide detail about the employee payroll deduction plan, which is a straightforward way for employees to make campaign contributions.
“That is the easiest way,” said Woods. “If 40 businesses with only 20 employees donated $5 a paycheque, we can reach our goal just through that alone.”
Lindbjerg felt the campaign is a good way for organizations and individual to support local initiatives in their community.
“People in our communities want to give back, but sometimes they don’t know how,” she said. “By banding together with organizations in the community we’re able to have a partnership where they offer their employees that option and it’s simple and easy.”
The Swift Current United Way’s financial support to 13 member agencies benefits over 10,000 people through the delivery of more than 150 programs.
“All the dollars we raise we reinvest back into our community, so that’s something we’re really proud about,” she said. “It goes to help the people that live here and the organizations that provide programs and services here.”
During her breakfast presentation Lindbjerg emphasized the United Way’s aim is not only to give money to its funded partners.
“We work proactively to identify gaps within the social fabric of our community and collaboratively to create meaningful and lasting solutions,” she said.
She highlighted the three main focus areas of the United Way. The first one — from poverty to possibility — aims to move people out of poverty and into a situation where their basic needs are met. More than 5,000 hot meals were served in the community during the past year as a result of people’s contributions towards the United Way.
The second focus area — healthy people, strong communities — aims to increase people’s access to social and health support services and to support people with community integration and settlement.
She noted financial support for United Way has made it possible to provide 155 individuals with barriers to employment or disabilities with a safe environment where they received support and participated in programs to gain life and employment skills.
Donations to United Way also provided placement assistance to more than 530 individuals during 2012.
The third focus area — all that children can be — was emphasized during the breakfast presentation. United Way funded partners made 1,000 home visits and provide resources and assistance to children.
“It’s an area that hasn’t received a lot of consideration or support in the past from the United Way from a programming perspective,” she said.
“This program helps us impact the community and transition from the early years to the elementary to high school to university and into the community.”
Val Choo-Foo made a presentation about United Way Active Play, an after school program. It was piloted at four elementary schools in Swift Current last year to provide a safe, supervised program for children to have fun and to be physically active.
More than 200 children participated in the program, which was offered for five weeks at four elementary schools for grades 1 to 5. Lack of funding meant 52 children had to be placed on a waiting list, but United Way funding will result in the program’s expansion this year from 20 programs to 48 programs.
“We could not do it if we do not have those funds,” she said. “We can double the amount of students that can participate in this very worthwhile program.”
A video presentation during the breakfast highlighted the United Way’s inaugural Day of Caring, which took place June 3-7. It is a day of service when volunteers from local businesses and organizations have an opportunity to help local non-profit organizations with the completion of various tasks that might otherwise not be carried out.
It was announced the second annual Day of Caring in Swift Current will take place from June 2-6, 2014.
The Swift Current United Way is already preparing for the annual Share the Warmth program at the end of this month, which is conducted in association with SaskEnergy to collect warm clothing for children and families.

Read 38417 times Last modified on Thursday, 12 September 2013 06:38