In support of the United Way

This column appeared in the Burlington Post on November 16, 2011 and is available online at http://www.insidehalton.com/opinion/columns/article/1245305–in-support-of-united-way

November 16, 2011

This year the United Way Campaign of Burlington & Greater Hamilton is reaching out to empower every individual to be part of a dynamic movement where “Change starts here”.

The United Way has three main focuses:  turning poverty into possibilities, healthy people build strong communities and all that kids can be. One in three of us will be assisted by a United Way agency this year and 90 per cent of us at some point in our lifetime.

Each year community volunteers review and screen the program and service funding applications from the many charities the United Way supports. United Way funds 133 programs and services in Hamilton and Burlington, delivered by 73 agencies.

Programs and services funded must be provincially-incorporated, federally-registered charities that can demonstrate the impact of the programs and/or services through measurable outcomes. Last year more than 36 community volunteers put in 1,100 hours review funding applications and making recommendations to the United Way’s Community Impact Committee and Board of Directors.

The United Way is one of the most cost-effective organizations serving our community with one of the lowest administration and fundraising costs in the country. The United Way is able to keep its costs at 16 per cent by engaging an estimated 6,000 volunteers in the delivery of its work.

Every five years the United Way undertakes extensive community consultations to ascertain the current needs of the community, what are the identifiable gaps and are there any previously identified priorities which have been resolved and no longer require support. These consultations, along with research findings provided by both the Social Planning and Research Council and Community Development Halton, help shape the United Way’s funding priorities.

In Burlington, the United Way supports many critical organizations. This includes the YMCA, Reach Out Centre For Kids (ROCK), Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Nelson Youth Centre, Acclaim Health, Burlington Seniors Centre, Canadian Mental Health, Community Living, CNIB, SAVIS, Community Development Halton and many others.

All money raised in Burlington is invested in Burlington.

This year’s goal for our community is $2.2 million.

We have many reasons to support the United Way in our community. The funds raised allow these important organizations to maintain critical services to our community.