First off, all I have to say is AWESOME. It’s been so exciting to see how much support has come through to help make this miracle possible. I think we can do it…
But first, a little background about why I think the United Way even deserves our help… because at first, I was skeptical.
When I first moved back to Winnipeg (earlier this year, from Phoenix) I drove by the shiny new United Way building on Main street and said to myself, “THAT’S why I don’t donate to the United Way.” Being a self-proclaimed “savvy donator” I knew that my money was best invested going towards organizations that used all of their funds to do actual work in people’s lives, and not to pay for fancy buildings, big salaries, etc. As a kid, I had seen the United Way commercials on TV, but didn’t ever have the foggiest idea what they did. I figured they just used everyone’s money to build a nice building.
Until one day (after asking for some tips on a good place to volunteer) I spoke with someone who worked at the United Way. She broke it down for me in 3 simple points (also each a good reason to give):
- None of your money donated to the United Way goes towards administration. In fact, the provincial government believes so strongly in the work that United Way does that a government grant covers all the administration: building costs, employees, etc.
- The United Way supports “partner agencies”. And by support, they mean cover their costs to keep their doors open so their employees and volunteers can do the important work they do without worrying about whether the lights will be turned off or not.
- You are investing in a vision of Winnipeg. A volunteer board determines where the money raised by the United Way is invested, and the criteria is that those agencies are making Winnipeg a better place in one of 3 areas:
- Helping Kids be all they can be.
- Moving people from poverty to possibility.
- Supporting healthy people & strong communities.
So, there you have it. For more information, check out the official United Way story. Or, here’s a picture I drew all by myself:
Now, I am a donor to the United Way of Winnipeg. I also volunteered to help market Praehistoria, their big annual party for the young crowd (apparently I’m still young enough to qualify).
I also volunteer at one of their partner agencies, Big Brothers Big Sisters, so I know how important the money raised really is. Without the United Way funding, Big Brothers wouldn’t have the money to cover their administration costs to help the hundreds of kids in our community that they do. (More on that later.)
Before the world ends…
So, over the next 2 weeks or so while there is still some 2012 left, I’m going to be visiting some of those agencies and sharing more about the good work that they are doing. If you know of one (or work or volunteer at one) give me a shout and I’ll come down and check it out.
It’s my hope that if we can share enough of how the United Way is impacting our community, people will be more inclined to help out.
Oh, and if you haven’t donated yet, maybe now’s a good time? http://bit.ly/ZlTYuF (If you already have, or are broke, tell your parents to do the same, they probably have more money than you.)