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 2014 Award


United Way kicks off campaign with $1.3 million goal

By Alexa Huffman, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune

Thursday, September 18, 2014

During the campaign launch on Sept. 18 at the Montrose Cultural Centre, the organization announced it is looking to raise $1.3 million in funding during the 2014 campaign.

"Each year, we have a process where each of our community partners asks us for funding and identifies the needs of their community," Aleasa Tasker, chairwoman of the United Way Alberta Northwest board of directors.

The funding will provide help and support for United Way Alberta Northwest's 24 agency partners and 25 programs.

The agencies and programs are located in Northern Alberta, from the Northwest Territories border to Grande Cache and the British Columbia border to Fox Creek.

"Our intent is during our whole year we'll be doing money raising, but we have this good push in the fall to bring in most of our funds," said Tasker.

Last year, the organization raised just around $1 million, falling short of its $1.3-million goal.

To help with the 2014 campaign goal, Peter Meyerhoffer, one of three co-chairs of the campaign, announced that this year, United Way Alberta Northwest will hold its first United Way Day on Oct. 30.

Businesses have the option to donate part of the money from their sales to United Way Alberta Northwest and they can also ask their customers to donate money throughout the day.

"Anybody can be involved with United Way Day," said Brenda Yamkowy, executive director of United Way Alberta Northwest.

"The whole idea is if we can get businesses involved and even if they can get a $2 donation from their patrons or they can take a portion off their sales, it's that little bit that counts. Every little bit makes a big difference."

The organization hopes to raise $100,000 that day.

Another new part of the campaign this year is "Seeing is Believing" Tours, which take place on Sept. 24 and 25.

A bus will leave Centre 2000 in the morning and the afternoon on both days. Individuals will visit some of the United Way Alberta Northwest partner agencies to see how they help kids, deal with poverty and build healthy communities.

"Sometimes people don't understand all of the needs in our community and sometimes when you can see it first hand, it can really reinforce it and cause you to be more passionate about your fundraising and donations," said Tasker.

During the campaign kickoff, United Way Alberta Northwest also highlighted the importance of workplace campaigns where 61% of its funds come from.

Some $641,000 was raised last year for the organization's campaign from employee engagement, including payroll deductions and other activities.

"When you think about it, it's a fun way for people working in small or large companies to get together and support the community," said Tasker.

Currently, $145,000 has been raised for the 2014 campaign, including $42,000 from Weyerhaeuser as a company contribution, $24,500 from Alliance Pipeline, raised during a charity golf tournament and $78,841 from Northern Mat & Bridge from a skeet shooting tournament.

Tasker hopes the generosity will continue.

"Even if a person just gives $5, it's giving back to the community. It's giving what they can afford," said Tasker.