Wednesday, 08 January 2014 09:21

Swift Current United Way allocates funds to community programs

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The Swift Current United Way allocated $61,600 from its 2014 campaign to different agencies and community initiatives during cheque presentations on Dec. 30, 2013. Standing, from left to right, Janet Dillabaugh (Saskatchewan Abilities Council), Kelly Schafer (City of Swift Current), Wayne Cormier (Early Childhood Intervention Program), Darla Lindbjerg (United Way), Scott Smith (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), Teresa Cole (Southwest Crisis Services), Susie Eidem (Southwest Homes), Susan Woods (United Way), Rri Olson (United Way), Louise Bacqué (Family Resource Centre), Dwinell Stevenson (Canadian Red Cross), Kris Stusrud (United Way) and Archie Green (United Way). Seated, at front, is Stacy Berger (Canadian Paraplegic Association). The Swift Current United Way allocated $61,600 from its 2014 campaign to different agencies and community initiatives during cheque presentations on Dec. 30, 2013. Standing, from left to right, Janet Dillabaugh (Saskatchewan Abilities Council), Kelly Schafer (City of Swift Current), Wayne Cormier (Early Childhood Intervention Program), Darla Lindbjerg (United Way), Scott Smith (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), Teresa Cole (Southwest Crisis Services), Susie Eidem (Southwest Homes), Susan Woods (United Way), Rri Olson (United Way), Louise Bacqué (Family Resource Centre), Dwinell Stevenson (Canadian Red Cross), Kris Stusrud (United Way) and Archie Green (United Way). Seated, at front, is Stacy Berger (Canadian Paraplegic Association). Photo by Matthew Liebenberg

Donations made by businesses and individuals towards the Swift Current United Way’s 2014 campaign will make a real difference to support a variety of programs and services in the community during the year.


The Swift Current United Way has allocated $61,600 from its 2014 campaign to 10 of its member agencies and two community initiatives during cheque presentations on Dec. 30, 2013.
United Way Executive Director Darla Lindbjerg said funds from the annual campaign have a significant impact in the community.
“We say that one in seven people in the community benefit,” she mentioned. “My personal opinion is more than that benefit. We have over 150 programs and services that go on in the community.”
This multitude of programs and services are provided to Swift Current and surrounding area residents through the 13 member agencies that receive funds from the annual United Way campaign.
“Every single year we give it to the community,” she said. “It’s just not often publicized as well as it should be. We work closely with agencies throughout the whole year to help them with their programs and services as well as funding.”
This year’s allocation of $61,600 is significantly higher than last year’s $49,500 and that was also an increase on the funding allocations to agencies in previous years. Lindbjerg estimated the 2014 funding requests from agencies were about 60 per cent higher compared to last year.
“The amounts are increasing that are allocated to the agencies,” she said. “So, the requests for funds in the community are much higher. We’re trying to accommodate those requests, but without the donations we’re not able to. So that would be our appeal to the communities to recognize who these donations go to and for next year give a donation, help support them.”
She felt the increase in funding requests to the Swift Current United Way is related to reduced funding from other sources.
“The government has backed off, federally and provincially, in funding for charities,” she said. “A lot of corporations as well in the community are tightening their buckles and their budgets are lower.”
Three of the United Way member agencies did not apply for funding this year, but the applications of the other 10 agencies have all been successful.
“Each agency applies to the United Way based on their need within the community and the outcomes that they have from the previous year,” she explained. “So we have a board of volunteers within the community, community members, that come together and look at all the applications.”
The United Way agencies that received funds from the 2014 campaign are the Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Canadian Paraplegic Association, Canadian Red Cross, Early Childhood Intervention Program, Family Resource Centre, Saskatchewan Abilities Council, Southwest Crisis Services, Southwest Homes and St. John Ambulance.
The United Way also allocated funding to the Swift Current Community Youth Initiative and the Active Play Program, which is co-ordinated by the City of Swift Current Community Services in association with various partner organizations.
Lindbjerg emphasized the money allocated to these agencies will be used to fund programs and services in the greater Swift Current area.
“All the money stays locally,” she said. “We make sure that we know what agencies are doing in our community and we fund them accordingly.”
For example, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind provides eye health-related services to 184 clients in Swift Current. The Early Childhood Intervention Program will make about 1,000 home visits annually to children with a disability, a delay or at risk for delay.
The Saskatchewan Abilities Council provides services and support to 155 individuals with a disability and/or barriers to employment. The programs at Southwest Crisis Services give support to more than 530 individuals who are dealing with a crisis in their lives.
Last year, Swift Current United Way received a large bequest from an estate that made a big difference to the 2013 funding allocations.
“That helped us give as much money as the agencies requested to them,” she said. “So we were able to fully allocate. This year, we weren’t able to, but we were able to give more than last year, so that’s good.”
Money from that bequest was also used towards the 2014 allocations, but the use of these funds will have to be used prudently.
“We had to dip into that bequest this year and we will continue to do that, but what we would like to do is be a sustainable organization that these agencies can rely on,” she said.
If the fundraising efforts of the United Way are successful, it will mean that member agencies can focus their efforts on programs and services instead of doing their own fundraising. According to Lindbjerg the business community also prefers to contribute to a single funding campaign instead of dealing with funding requests from a variety of individual agencies.
To ensure all fundraising dollars are going back into the community, the United Way will do additional events such as a golf tournament to raise funds for administrative costs.
“We’re working really hard at the United Way to have a sustainable business model and part of that is doing events,” she said. “So we’re trying to be efficient and we’ve made progress, but there’s still some work to do.”
This year’s golf tournament will take place June 13 at Elmwood Golf Course. After the success of last year’s event, the second annual Day of Caring week will take place from June 3 to 6.
“So we’re encouraging any organizations within the community that want to give back or want a good opportunity to congregate their employees and have a team working exercise and build team work within their organization to get involved in those and to give back,” she said.
“These agencies that benefit are so grateful. We had so many of them last year that said they wouldn’t have been able to do these projects if corporations haven’t stepped up and help them out.”

Read 11964 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 09:26