In 1964, the first year for Welland & District United Appeal (as it was then known), the slogan was “Give Once for All”. The United Appeal began in Welland to help make the community stronger by the elimination of duplicate services. In January 1964 the planning began.
Doug Manning was the Campaign Chair, George Neilson was the President. The full-time staff was Rose Tirone.
Campaigning only through the month of October, the goal was $95,383 and $95,500 was raised. Of this, $65,000 came from corporate gifts and employee deductions while $30,000 was the result of a door-to-door campaign conducted by area service clubs (Lions, Kinsmen, Rotary, etc.).
The kick-off dinner was lit up by guest speaker, the late Reverend Norman Ballard, DSO, whose “injection of inspiration was likely one of the biggest shots in the arm the campaign organization has received to date”, according to the Welland Evening Tribune article covering the dinner.
There were initially 15 agencies supported by that first campaign.
By 1974 we were known as Welland & District United Way and it was the first time that the campaign information was printed in both English and in French. In fact, other languages were also included - such as Italian in newspaper ads.
The slogan in ’74 was “11 cents a day – it can only help”.
The campaign goal was $183,132 and Hank Lottridge was the Campaign Chair. Norman Barnes was the President and Faye Owen was Executive Secretary.
A front page banner in the Tribune showed 11 pennies across the top with a dollar amount above each one.
The 1974 campaign funded 18 Agencies and raised $180,958.
In 1984 Welland born Paul Beeston, then Vice-President of the Blue Jays helped kick-off the Welland & District United Way Campaign at Club Richelieu. The goal was $366,000. This year was the first time that Pelham had a separate goal – $6,500. Bruce Slater was Pelham Chair. The overall Campaign Chair was Ron Horrocks. The President was Dave Alderdice, and Faye Owen was the Executive Director.
Stelpipe raised $38,000 which was a 91% increase from 1983. John Deere Welland Works raised $56,500.
At the Victory Luncheon on November 7th it was announced that the goal had been exceeded at $375,000. It was also announced that next year Port Colborne would be participating with United Way and there would be a new name to represent Welland, Pelham, Port Colborne and Wainfleet.
Campaign Chair, Scott Brown, announced a goal of $775,000 to support 24 Member Agencies. Gary Clement was the Executive Director and Barb Baird was the President. Keith Bain chaired the Port Colborne cabinet.
The Niagara Regional Police produced a calendar with the Police officers posing as Norman Rockwell prints. Priced at $5 they were sold all over Niagara.
UCAR’s goal was $38,000 and they raised $40,228.21. Canadian Tire Acceptance Corp. raised $61,000. John Deere Welland Works and GenCorp topped their goals as well. Wal-Mart donated $1,800.
At the Port Colborne Victory Luncheon at Upper Deck Keith Bain, Port Colborne Chair announced that Port Colborne and Wainfleet had raised $86,470.
At the Victory Party Scott Brown announced that $766,788 had come in and more was expected.
Starting in 2004 UWSN is undertaking a new leadership role in South Niagara to identify and help develop programs specifically designed to deliver the resources neighbourhood volunteers are identifying as necessary to make their neighbourhood the kind of place they want to see.
Part of what United Way South Niagara has always been about is funding programs at agencies in our communities.
Even the drip, drip, drip of a dollar a week when multiplied by 52 weeks and by thousands of people can become a large pool which can quench the thirst of children living below the poverty line, help the physically, sexually and emotionally abused - or give sighted help to a blind person.
In 2004 this means United Way South Niagara is funding 56 programs at 26 agencies including 26 programs designed to help kids living below or near the poverty line, 16 programs to assist challenged people of all ages as well as programs providing food and other supports for elderly people.
United Way South Niagara is the only local charity that offers every giving option from cash and cheques to credit cards, plus automatic bank withdrawals and payroll deductions. In fact, it is through workplace payroll deductions that your United Way raises most of the support it then shares by giving back to the community.
With 2009 being the 45th anniversary of the United Way of South Niagara, we are more confident than ever that the organization can maintain its reputation of providing effective programs, care, and assistance for the people of its community.