Wednesday, 06 January 2016 14:38

Community programs receive funding from the Swift Current United Way

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The Swift Current United Way made cheque presentations totalling $75,000 to 11 non-profit agencies on Dec. 22. The Swift Current Community Youth Initiative – The Center received $5,000 for its tutoring program and hot meal program. Pictured, from left to right, Kris Stusrud (United Way board vice president), Stacey Schwartz (United Way executive director), Jim Magee (Swift Current Community Youth Initiative – The Center executive director), Rri Olson (United Way board president). The Swift Current United Way made cheque presentations totalling $75,000 to 11 non-profit agencies on Dec. 22. The Swift Current Community Youth Initiative – The Center received $5,000 for its tutoring program and hot meal program. Pictured, from left to right, Kris Stusrud (United Way board vice president), Stacey Schwartz (United Way executive director), Jim Magee (Swift Current Community Youth Initiative – The Center executive director), Rri Olson (United Way board president).

The activities of a variety of community programs in southwest Saskatchewan during 2016 will benefit from funding provided by the Swift Current United Way.


The Swift Current United Way has allocated a total of $75,000 to support the work of 11 non-profit agencies in the region.
The cheque presentations to representatives of the different organizations took place Dec. 22.
The funds were raised during the United Way’s campaign in 2015, which included a successful inaugural Foundation of Hope gala in November.
According to Swift Current United Way Executive Director Stacey Schwartz the $75,000 was the highest amount ever raised by the organization during an annual campaign.
“I'm optimistic to see that we’ve raised more than what we’ve raised last year from our fundraisers, from our donations and things like that,” she said. “A large part of that was to do with the gala, which was a new thing that we did.”
She noted donations to the Swift Current United Way have been increasing over the past five years.
“We’ve constantly been increasing since 2011,” she said. “So I’m optimistic for 2016 that as we build more awareness, as people continue to get a better understanding of what we do, that we’ll see that number again increase.”
The amount raised in 2015 was still below the campaign goal of $110,000. The United Way has actually received funding requests from non-profit agencies that totalled $135,000. These requests were reviewed by the United Way’s external grant committee.
“They look at the need, they look at if there’s duplication of programs or things like that, and just making sure that we’re allocating what’s going to the highest priority in our community,” she said. “So from that committee was where we came up with $110,000 that we were willing to allocate out to our community if we have raised that much.”
The largest portion of the $75,000 was raised through the Foundation of Hope gala. It was the main focus of the Swift Current United Way’s fundraising activities during 2015. The campaign kick-off breakfast in the fall did not take place because the organization is transitioning to a new campaign format with the kick-off event early in the new year.
The lack of a breakfast in 2015 probably influenced private donations received during the campaign because there would normally be a mail out to residents after the kick-off event.
“We used to do a mail out in the fall and so there were lots of those individual residents that, if they’re used to getting that notification in the fall, they respond to it, whereas we didn’t just because of our timeline because of the gala,” she explained.
The Swift Current United Way’s new campaign format will be implemented in 2016 and the  kick-off breakfast takes place Jan. 8.
“We’re going to be doing a mail out in January instead,” she said. “So we’re hoping that what we lacked this fall from more residential donations that we see that pick up in the new year.”
Donations to the Swift Current United Way are used to support the programs and services of non-profit organizations in southwest Saskatchewan.
The Swift Current United Way will launch a new website at the Jan. 8 kick-off breakfast that will provide more details about the use of funding allocations by these non-profit organizations.
“So people will have a much more transparent view of where the money is going, but everything the United Way gives and raises money for is all local and southwest Saskatchewan area,” she said.
Schwartz felt 2015 was an important year for the organization and 2016 will be another key year for the Swift Current United Way.
“We just want to keep rolling with this momentum that we have and definitely we want to see growth in 2016,” she said. “The United Way has been for the last five years trying to rebuild and grow and we’re getting there. There is progress every year, but it takes time. So definitely 2016 again is another crucial year for us.”
The Swift Current United Way has allocated the $75,000 to the following non-profit organizations:
• Canadian Mental Health Association — $13,500 for meal and vocational program;
• Canadian National Institute for the Blind — $4,000 for vision rehabilitation program;
• Canadian Red Cross Society — $2,000 for bullying prevention and youth facilitation training;
• Early Childhood Intervention Program — $5,000 for resources for home support program;
• Family Resource Centre — $1,500 for teen parent program;
• Salvation Army — $2,000 for perishable food for food bank;
• Saskatchewan Abilities Council — $5,000 for social and leisure youth program;
• Southwest Crisis Services — $15,000 for outreach services (women’s, men’s, children’s and violence prevention);
• Swift Current Community Youth Initiative — $5,000 for tutoring program and hot meal program;
• Southwest Homes — $12,000 for additional medical and short-term behavioural program supports;
• United Way Active Play — $10,000 for after school program.

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