This may be the season of giving, but the United Way of Greater Victoria wants us all to remember that the need carries on throughout the year.
“We’re most visible in the fall because of the workplace campaign. Probably two-thirds of our donors come in through the workplace campaign but we have a lot of individual donors as well,” said Patricia Jelinski, United Way Greater Victoria CEO.
“We are a year-round fundraiser. People think about it in the fall and then it’s over but really we work all year round.”
The United Way’s workplace campaign has a goal of 13,000 donors, with more than 300 workplaces and close to 500 work sites involved with the campaign.
“We’re not there yet [13,000 donors],” said Jelinski. “As great as the work is, and the many donors that have stepped forward, we’re still hopeful there will be a few more people that will take the time during this season and even into the new year to support United Way.”
Liz Ausio is one of the volunteers working on the workplace campaign, on loan to the United Way from the University of Victoria.
“We’re just there to facilitate and assist with whatever they need to run their campaign,” said Ausio,
She visited the Saanich News last month to speak about employee contributions to the United Way. Black Press employees raised $6,000 last year for the campaign, with contributions reaching $197,000 since 1994.
And no contribution is too small.
“The great thing about United Way, because we’re part of this big collective, someone who thinks I can’t give very much, even if they give a little it becomes part of something so much bigger in the community. The impact they can have is really tremendous,” said Jelinski.
Lori Ferguson sees first hand the impact it can have through her work as the REES (Resources, Employment, Education and Support) program co-ordinator with Victoria’s Cool Aid Society.
“The work that United Way does is absolutely crucial for Cool Aid and so many other organizations. There’s programs like mine, the REES program, that don’t get a lot of government funding. So we really are dependent on the community’s support to have these programs,” said Ferguson.
“Our labour pool, our outreach program, our peer support programs, our every step counts program, those are programs where at least 50 per cent of our funding comes from the community and much of that through the United Way. Those programs wouldn’t exist without the support of the United Way and community funders. It’s totally critical.”
The United Way Greater Victoria directed about $4.5 million into the community this year, investing in more than 100 different programs and services. And the importance of your contributions don’t diminish after the holiday season.
“We work year round, and if you think about it and come to us in January and February, you can still get a tax receipt for that year. We’re always open,” said Jelinski, who expressed gratitude to the community for stepping forward to help year after year.
“We really can’t thank them enough, from donors to volunteers to people who spread the message and the mission of United Way.”
To make a donation to the United Way you can call 250-385-6708 or go online to uwgv.ca and click on the donate button.