Thanks to a generous funding announcement made this week by the United Way Southern Interior B.C. (SIBC), 80 programs delivered by 54 charities across the Southern Interior will benefit.
The organization has announced $620,000 from its community fund will be distributed throughout the area to charities that improve the lives of over 85,000 people of all ages, or one in four of the regional population, facing a wide range of social issues.
According to the United Way, approximately one in five children and youth are living in poverty in the Okanagan and over 500 people are without a safe place to call home in Kelowna. In addition, 75 per cent of children are not receiving the mental health support they require either due to lack of resources or accessibility.
The United Way said their community fund investments respond directly to the most pressing needs in the community and provide funding to programs and services designed to help the most vulnerable local kids, families, individuals and seniors get back on their feet. Some examples of these investments include providing baby essentials to low-income moms, counselling for youth in crisis, support for sexual abuse survivors and more.
“At United Way, we really do our homework through the community fund grant process to ensure our donor dollars are invested wisely and make an impact,” said Jude Brunt, United Way manager of community investments, in the news release. “Our deep understanding of community priorities allows us to support partner charities while ensuring that there’s no duplication of services. Our community fund, which is oversubscribed by at least 35 per cent annually, provides local support to local vulnerable people who need it most. We need to dig deep this year and next to meet the needs of the community and address these local issues.”
All together, the United Way has invested $1.9 million in communities across the region through its community fund, social enterprise fund, child safety initiative, provincially-funded Better at Home seniors support program, and other local initiatives. This funding will benefit charities in 32 communities, including several new ones such as the Kelowna & District Share Society, Freedoms Door, Recope, Childhood Connections, Lake Country Health Planning Society and the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Centre.
“Government-funded services can fall short of what many people need to make a full recovery from an old injury or to maintain their mental well-being and independence in the community,” said Jean Munro, executive director of Recope Society in Summerland. “When local community organizations like Recope receive funding from the United Way, we are able to fill some of those gaps by providing affordable wellness education for all, a place for social support networks to flourish, especially among seniors, and by organizing volunteer resources.”
“Year after year, we continue to find more organizations trying to find ways of supporting the needs in our community,” said Susan McIntyre, leadership donor and impact team leader with United Way SIBC, in the release. “ There is always a gap between the funds that are raised and the funds that are needed. I support the United Way SIBC because they make sure that every dollar goes to organizations that are doing good in the community and working collaboratively across all not-for-profits. The United Way works hard to build capacity and ensure that your dollars are used wisely and effectively.”
On Sept. 13, the United Way will also be launching its Fall giving campaign with a kickoff breakfast in Kelowna at the Coast Capri Hotel at 7 a.m. featuring 300 local donors, community leaders, partner charities and corporate sponsors. The North Okanagan kickoff reception will take place on Sept. 19 at the Bannister Honda and the South Okanagan campaign will commense in Penticton at the Lakeside Resort Drive Thru on Sept. 26. These events will mark the start of the 2019-20 workplace campaigns enaging thousands of employees in special events and other fundraising activities that fuel 65 per cent of the United Way community fund annually.
The United Way would like to thank their generous donors for their support, without which many of these investments would not be possible. For a full list of the community fund investments, click here.
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