Annual United Way Campaign Kicks-Off
Guelph, Ontario, Sept. 13, 2023. Today, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin kicked-off its 2023 fundraising campaign with a bang and a message of hope – Better Is Possible.
“Lately, life has been feeling hard. World events feel overwhelming. Rising costs and inflation are stressful. Some days, we may wonder how we got here and where we go next,” said Glenna Banda, executive director, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin. “But better is possible. We believe our community and the people in it matter and know that we can help each other live better lives,” Banda told the crowd gathered at The Shelldale Centre in Guelph.
Guests were asked what ‘better’ looks like to them as they entered the event. Words like empathetic, brave, caring all made their way to the wall. “Better looks like a lot of things and it could be different for me than it is for you,” said Ray Stultz, the 2023 Campaign Cabinet Chair. “A better community will take all of us doing those small things every day to make better possible.”
The event was held at The Shelldale Centre, where many United Way funded programs operate, including Shelldale Family Gateway, Compass Community Services and The Seed. Guests heard from Brendan Johnson, executive director of the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, a Shelldale Centre program as well as a United Way funded organization and partner in the All That Kids Can Be service network, a newly formed network of programs who work together to support children who have experienced, or who are at risk of experiencing, adversities.
“A better community is one where everyone has the supports they need to live a better life – connections to feel valued, mental health supports during the tough days, basic needs of food, shelter and income and where children and youth have an opportunity to always recognize their limitless potential,” said Banda. “That’s the community United Way envisions and strives for.”
United Way’s new Community Impact Strategy addresses current, deepened community challenges, issues that have not left our community since the pandemic. Using local data and resources, like the 2023 Vital Signs report, they are committed to both monitoring local issues, and also working to solve them with local solutions led by community partners working on the frontlines.
“The impact and urgency of issues like declining mental health, isolation, food insecurity and inequity demand us to be better and United Way is ready,” said Stultz. “Every year the Campaign starts at zero. The 2022 Campaign raised $2.6 million and this year we hope to grow that number because we know the need continues to be even greater. Every contribution or action, no matter the size, makes a difference.”
Over the past 5 years, United Way has invested over $10 million in the community – that’s $10 million raised by our local community and invested in our local community to support important programs like food pantries, emergency shelters and mental health crisis lines. In addition, United Way was a trusted partner of the Government of Canada to distribute the Community Services Recovery Fund earlier in 2023 and is partnering with the Guelph Community Foundation to raise funds under the Home for Good campaign to support three permanent supportive housing projects in Guelph.
“If you haven’t donated to United Way in the past, or not in recent years, we encourage you to take a look at the local innovative and impactful work we are doing – we know you’ll be energized by some bold changes,” said Banda.
“Our community’s United Way Campaign is a long-standing tradition of community members coming together to support tens of thousands of people in our community every year,” said Stulz. “We can help each other live better lives – because what’s better for you, is better for everyone. Better is possible and here’s no better time than now.”
Donations are accepted at workplaces across Guelph and Wellington and Dufferin counties and encouraged by the general community through the United Way office (519-821-0571 or www.unitedwaygwd.com). Donations, as always, will stay 100% local.
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United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin has worked in our community for over 80 years to monitor and meet the pressing social needs of our community, including poverty, social isolation and mental health. Directed by a volunteer board, managed by committed staff and supported by thousands of donors, United Way works with partners in all sectors to improve lives and build community. Donations stay 100% local, always. For more information, please visit unitedwaygwd.com
For more information:
Glenna Banda, Executive Director
United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin
Colleen Murdoch, Director, Community Engagement & Impact