By Steve Henschel, September 28, 2012
The United Way got under way last week.
Casa Vostra in Fonthill played host to the kick off of the United Way of South Niagara’s 2012 fundraising campaign with a gala affair last Thursday, inviting donors and community members to meet leadership donors and agency representatives from the organization’s various beneficiaries. This year the organization is teaming up with the Untied Way of St. Catharines for its fundraising efforts.
“St. Catharines has been a leader in fundraising,” said director of operations and marketing Jennifer Sinclair explaining the impetus for the cooperation. With the allocation process having opened on Monday of this week the United Way is focussing on three strategic priorities as it prepares to plan the division of its $600,000 fundraising goal.
The three priorities are poverty to possibility; all that kids and families can be and healthy people strong communities. Sinclair noted work still has to be done in terms of defining how those priorities will present themselves in the community.
“Our next step is to go out, re-engage the community and define what that means,” she said.
That community engagement and presence will be important said St. Catharines United Way campaign manager Eric Lamothe. “The biggest thing we’re going to bring this year is having our face out there,” he said, noting new fundraising techniques, like the leadership challenge undertaken by Peter Papp, Rick Lowes and Terry Duffy, will assist in bolstering a new-found drive in south Niagara.
“Statistically those things just blow campaigns out of the water,” said Lamothe, explaining with the partnership comes shared resources and a greater face in the community for establishing relationships. The leadership challenge will see the above three individuals matching any gift over $1,000 up to $15,000 out of their own pockets.
“What better way to spend Peter’s money,” joked Lamothe. That challenge is certainly working as Dolorese Bujold Wright and Frank Adamson have already pledged gifts to be matched by the “three amigos” as they have been dubbed.
As part of the event contributors, beneficiaries and donors shared their experiences with the United Way. Office manager Ad Lewis shared the story of Jodi McIntosh, who was in attendance. McIntosh, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has been volunteering at the United Way offices for eight years now.
“I love her to death,” said Lewis, adding, “it’s a matter of making time and Jodi is a great example.” Lewis said she hopes McIntosh’s story will inspire others to get involved, noting that any skill can contribute. “She loves crunching numbers,” said Lewis, explaining that particular skill is extremely helpful. “She could have been an accountant.”