CELEBRATING 75 Years OF THE UNITED WAY IN GREATER VICTORIA
Out Of Poverty
Moves Us Forward
COMMUNITY It’s Everyone
people who were homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, were helped between 2007 and 2009 when the United Way invested $1.75 million to fund 16 projects through 11 community partners. Other funders gave an additional $8.8 million.
was given between 2007 and 2009 by the United Way to 15 Community Partners to deal directly with issues of mental health and addictions. Five of these programs are designed to serve the 19 to 25 year-old age group.
people of volunteer hours were donated in 2011 by attendees at the UnitedNOW! groupâ€™s annual volunteer auction, which lets bidders offer their time instead of cash.
in Greater Victoria in 2011 accessed a United Way-funded program whether they were aware of it or not. By supporting
The United Wayâ€™s community partners provide services to Greater Victoria residents of all ages, from birth onwards. From Mother Goose to Isolated Seniors programs, the United Way is there.
families, literacy, health programs, housing initiatives and community development projects, the United Way touches us all. workplaces in Greater Victoria run United Way campaigns each year.
countries have United Way organizations, with some 1,800 separate communitybased affiliate offices.
programs are funded through The United Way and delivered by 69 partners across Greater Victoria.
CONTENTS YOUR WAY Fall 2012
FOCUS ON DONORS
GROWING BETTER TOGETHER Helping Victoria’s children reach their potential
ALL IN THE FAMILY How the Farmers met, and give back, through the United Way
A PLACE OF ONE’S OWN Streets2Homes help clients move leave poverty behind
LOANED REPS Local companies give staff; everybody wins
New faces at the Department of National Defence
RIDING STRONG How a horse helps build healthier people and stronger communities
BUILDING COMMUNITY Generosity is a way of life for Ken and Patricia Mariash
Victoria Harbour: a place of refuge and support
The link with labour; Partners create a safety net; The provincial charitable trust
HUNTING THE FUTURE Thanks to a special high school Samara Whalen is back on track
BROUGHT TO YOU BY A host of United Way partners made this publication possible
UnitedNOW! and YouthNOW! connect with young Victorians; Street hockey with a difference
IT TAKES A NEIGHBOURHOOD Community tables help neighbourhoods decide their own needs
REASONS TO GIVE Will you give this year? Plus, meet the board of the United Way
12 QUESTIONS For CEO Linda Hughes
Victoria, 25 years from now
So many ways to give; Facts over the years with the United Way
COMMUNITY CHEST What goes into the United Way
HUMBLE START, WORLD IMPACT The history of the United Way
Young artists show they care; The power of higher education
Tea and conversation connect isolated seniors
Helping the hungry one garden at a time; Retired but still giving
ON OUR COVER: Taken at Government House, from left to right: Therese McCaw, Murray Farmer, Ava Acomba, Dawn Tschetter, Birger Reith, Lynda Farmer, Brad Hercina, Diane Sheldan; Photo by Paul Kerins
EDITOR’S LETTER Celebrating 75 years of the United Way in Greater Victoria
When Boulevard was approached to produce a special publication honouring the 75th anniversary of the United Way of Greater Victoria, most of our team knew little about the venerable organization. Sure, we knew its name and had some awareness that it had a long history. We knew that United Way chapters existed in most North American cities and that every autumn they had their annual fundraising campaign. I was the only one who had participated in a United Way employee deduction program — during the 1980s as a reporter at The Vancouver Sun. Back then I had a nominal amount deducted, something like $20, each biweekly pay cheque. It was money I never even missed that added up to $520 each year. I started monthly contributions again when I joined Boulevard full time, mostly because it’s an easy, painless way to give to charity. But I didn’t give much thought to where my dollars went or why. During the research, writing and production of this publication, we all learned a lot more. And we liked what we learned. “I had no idea of its huge range of programs and that United Way administration costs per dollar raised are among the lowest of any charity,” says writer Adrien Sala, who wrote a number of the features and briefs. Notes Alisa Gordaneer, who shared the writing with Sala: “I really liked how they support both grassroots efforts along with established organizations. The number and diversity of programs is impressive.” Art director Jenn Playford, who went to all the photo shoots, felt privileged to meet so many people whose lives were being improved by projects funded by the United Way. “I felt really honoured and inspired to meet so many amazing people. It was so positive. It really affected me,” said Playford, who noted that her life might never have intersected with some of the subjects and she felt enriched for the experience. Team members are now inspired to become United Way givers. Some of the things we learned, however, were a bit surprising — such as Victoria having the lowest per capita rate of giving in Canada despite the considerable wealth here. Due to the high number of retirees and lack of head offices, corporate support for the United Way is not as strong here as in other Canadian communities. However, each year people do give generously to the tune of almost $6 million. We’re pleased to note that this particular publication has been entirely funded by corporate donors who believe it’s important to get the word out about the work done locally by the United Way — no United Way program funds have been used for this magazine. We hope, after perusing the stories and learning about the good work done by the United Way of Greater Victoria, as well as the many ways you can contribute, that you, too, will be inspired to contact the United Way and give. Anne Mullens, Managing Editor 4
This magazine is a special publication for the United Way of Greater Victoria, prepared and published by Boulevard Lifestyles Inc. BOULEVARD TEAM President John Simmons Managing Editor Anne Mullens Art Director Jenn Playford Writers Alisa Gordaneer, Adrien Sala, Shannon Moneo, Kayleigh von Wittgenstein Contributing Photographers Gary McKinstry, Dean Azim, Paul Kerins, Lisa Clarke Production Assistance Kayleigh von Wittgenstein UNITED WAY OF GREATER VICTORIA CEO Linda Hughes UWGV TEAM MEMBERS Chris Poirier-Skelton, Director Catherine Schissel, Manager Lilaine Galway, Manager Coordination of Sponsor Donors Ray Parks, Kathi Springer 1144 Fort St. Victoria BC V8V 3K8 250-385-6708; uwgv.ca Your Way ® is a registered trademark of the United Way of Greater Victoria. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Printed in Canada.
UW at WORK
Young artists show what matters to them, and to their community Visual art can tell stories that are difficult to express in words. When the United Way asked 150 high-school-aged artists to answer the question “What do you care about?” and gave them art supplies, a great instructor, and a place to show their work, it was clear they cared about a lot — particularly homelessness, poverty and the environment. Their work formed the Change Starts Here art show, which was displayed in May at the Community Arts Council gallery at the Cedar Hill Arts Centre. The successful show proved “art could be used as a tool to engage young people,” says the United Way’s Cordelia Horsburgh. And it empowered youth by helping them express challenges and triumphs in full colour, video collaboration and graffiti — and all without uttering a word. And that great instructor noted above, Cameron Kidd, has now been hired by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to lead its youth program and paint a mural on the gallery’s Moss Street wall, a connection made through the United Way. To see the art work from the May show, Google “Change Starts Here Virtual Gallery.”
Artworks created by participants in the “Change Starts Here” show expressed deep social concerns as well as strong artistic sensibilities.
PARTNERS IN PROMOTING THE POWER OF EDUCATION At the level of the individual, higher education prevents poverty, homelessness, ill-health and unemployment. At the level of society, post-secondary institutions support solutions to some of the most vexing community problems. It’s no wonder that the United Way of Greater Victoria (UWGV) and the region’s three post-secondary institutions — Royal Roads University, Camosun College, and The University of Victoria — have forged fruitful partnerships for fundraising, volunteer support, research and more. “Our employees are deeply committed to the power of education in transforming our communities, nation, and the world,” says Alan Cahoon, President of RRU. In 1996, RRU endorsed the United Way Campaign as the institution’s official charity and Cahoon sits on the United Way Campaign Cabinet. In 2011, RRU employees raised $52,719 for UWGV through payroll deductions. RRU also offers a program that teaches people who are not eligible for EI or are underemployed the skills to enter the workforce. The current UWGV chair, Peter Lockie, is the CFO of Camosun College. In 2011 the college raised $80,689 from employee contributions. It also prepares people for employment at community organizations like Bridges for
Women and Our Place. “It’s important for us to see ourselves as an agent for change,” says Wendy Magahay, Coordinator of Contract Training, who was a loaned rep for the United Way in 2009. UVic’s Mary Ellen Purkis, Dean of Human and Social Development, also sits on the UWGV board. UVic employees and students raised $275,697 for UWGV in 2011. In addition to “University 101,” a free introduction to the humanities for people who don’t have the opportunity to experience post-secondary education, UVic formed the Office of Community-Based Research (OCBR) in partnership with the community and with funding support from UWGV. “Its intention is to open the door to the Victoria community,” says Purkis. The OBCR studies community issues with local and international partners and seeks ways to create vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive communities. YOUR WAY
UW at WORK
Photo by Gary McKinstry
“It’s the right thing to do,” say Dick and Linda Auchinleck, about giving back to the community that’s given opportunities to them.
Annual donations, stock transfers, legacy gifts, and more ways to give Despite retiring 10 years ago, Dick and Linda Auchinleck keep the needs of their community front and centre with their charitable giving. Settling in Victoria after decades living in Alberta and abroad, the couple contributes to local charities, including the United Way, through personal tax management and incentives. “Generally our larger donations are done through the transfer of stock,” says Dick, who worked in the energy business. “We find it’s an effective way of getting funds to the organizations we support.” For donations that aren’t a part of stock transfers, the couple contributes annual gifts. “We don’t seem to have a problem remembering to make our annual contributions,” adds Dick, who says that after 30 years of supporting the United Way it’s a way of life for Linda and him. Victoria is home to thousands of people living in comfortable retirement. The couple feels that it’s important for those who’ve been successful to acknowledge that challenges in the community remain. “Victoria is a marvelous place to live,” says Dick. “But there is still a lot of need here. When you’ve been given so much through education and opportunities provided by this community, it’s nice to give something back. It’s not an obligation, but it’s the right thing to do.”
Garden-fresh produce helps round out the food bank’s offerings All those extra zucchinis or tomatoes in your backyard garden don’t have to go to waste — thanks to the Lifecycles’ Grow-a-Row program, they can help feed the hungry in our community. The program encourages gardeners to grow an extra row of vegetables to donate to local food banks, and operates dropoff centres where you can be sure those cucumbers and carrots get to the people who need them most. Jill Dalton, Lifecycles’ Urban Agriculture co-ordinator, says that their partnership with the United Way not only involves youth and community members, but last year, more than 300 volunteers helped distribute 30,000 pounds of fruit, and close to 1,000 pounds of garden produce — “and a lot of that was light things, like lettuce and kale!” Want to get growing for the greater good? See vicgrowarow.org. Last year, Victoria gardeners donated more than 460 kilograms of fresh vegetables and 14,600 kilograms of fruit. 6
WITH COOKIES AND CONVERSATION
SPEAKERS AND SOCIALIZING ARE A HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK FOR SAANICH SENIORS
Photography by Lisa Clarke
Therese (Terry) McCaw, 86 and Diane Sheldan, 98, both from Saanich, enjoy visits and laughter every Wednesday afternoon.
Therese McCaw and Diane Sheldan have both spent more than 50 years of their long lives in Victoria, but they likely would never have met — if not for a special program funded by the United Way. Now every Wednesday McCaw, 86, (who goes by the name Terry) and Sheldan, 98, enjoy a cup of tea together, having a laugh, listening to interesting speakers and sharing life stories. Joining them are some 20 other women in their 80s and 90s. The Isolated Seniors Program, facilitated by the Saanich Volunteer Services Society for the Silver Threads, is a United Way-funded program that picks up and brings the women to the activity room of an apartment building at Richmond Avenue and Cedar Hill Cross Road every week for a couple of hours of social activities. “I really look forward to it,” says McCaw, a former WREN (Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service) during the Second World War, who worked for many years for the Vancouver Island Health Authority. McCaw, who no longer drives and needs a walker to get around, was referred to the program by a social worker who saw she could benefit from the socialization. “I don’t get out much anymore. It is now the highlight of my week. And Diane is so much fun to be around — she’s an inspiration.” Indeed, Sheldan, who will turn 99 in February, is a poster
woman for aging well. “It’s good genes and good luck and keeping active, I suppose,” said Sheldan, who was born and raised in Britain and moved to Canada in 1953. She and her husband first settled in Calgary but moved to Victoria within five years. She now has 37 descendants in the region. While she sees family regularly, Sheldan still says she benefits from the friendships and interactions among women in her age group in the program. “We can share experiences,” said Sheldan, whose husband died eight years ago after a number of years with Alzheimer’s disease. “We know what each other might be going through.” The Isolated Seniors program creates community, says facilitator Lynn Henman. “It’s representative of how well people can age in this community.” According to Statistics Canada, some 18,000 women in Victoria are aged 75 or older — almost twice as many women as men. Most live alone or are looking after ill spouses. It can be challenging to get out, whether due to mobility issues, bad weather, or simply having no one to visit. The United Way of Greater Victoria funds other programs targeted to the needs of an aging population, including a program operated through Silver Threads called Understanding the Many Causes of Loss, and a program at the Victoria Parkinson’s Society for Isolated Seniors with Parkinson’s. YOUR WAY
BY ALISA GORDANEER PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEAN AZIM
STRONG PARENTS + STRONG KIDS = STRONG COMMUNITIES
Literacy and numeracy can be learned through songs and games as well as books. Above, mother Kristen Playford reads to local children. Right, Peggy Acomba leads the Mother Goose program at the Saanich Neighbourhood Place. 8
hen children are young, the world is a mystery. They rely on caring adults to help them grow up to be healthy, responsible, and well-adjusted. But sometimes, circumstances get in the way and kids can’t get the right start without their parents getting some extra assistance from the wider community. When Jessie, a Victoria resident, was in Grade One, learning to read was a struggle due to a learning disability — so much so that her school predicted she would never graduate. Her mom, Kerri, recalls crying over the fear her daughter might never know the joy of reading a book. She turned to the Learning Disabilities Association, one of the United Way’s funded organizations, to get Jessie extra one-on-one assistance. That was the key that unlocked Jessie’s learning style. “I remember one day, she was still in elementary school, it was pouring rain. She curled up on WHOLE FAMILIES BENEFIT FROM a chair, and read KIDS’ LITERACY PROGRAMS AND Anne of Green THE COMMUNITY THEY CREATE Gables cover to cover.” After that, there was no turning back. “I really came out of my shell,” says Jessie, who has now earned her Dogwood Certificate, graduating from Grade 12, and plans to study theatre and creative writing at the University of Victoria this fall. “I got better at reading, and felt better.”
SUPPORTING KIDS AND FAMILIES The United Way’s All that kids can be initiative supports organizations that, like the Learning Disabilities Association, help kids by supporting their families and caregivers. Some
organizations focus on helping kids learn about the world, while others help parents cope with a world that’s suddenly turned upside down. All of them have a similar approach, demonstrating that strong families help create strong communities. Because one of the key components of learning is literacy, many United Way-supported agencies focus on helping kids with both early and later literacy. The Success by 6© initiative focuses on kids growing up great, including helping young children and their families discover the joy of reading as early as possible. Jan White, the Success by 6 Coordinator, explains that its Mother Goose program is one way for kids and caregivers to connect over songs, stories and games. Another initiative gathers gently used books for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, and delivers bags of books to families through the food bank, public health nurses and social workers. If children have been read to at least 1,000 times by the age of five, they have increased healthy development on all levels, says White. “When you read to children ... so many wonderful things happen.” When parents and kids cuddle up with a book, they create better attachments, develop a sense of togetherness, and increase literacy skills that help children become stronger individuals. That connection with reading carries further, to the Victoria READ Society’s Noisy Kids Reading Club, an after-school program that encourages kids at neighbourhood elementary schools like George Jay, John Muir and Millstream to improve their reading in a fun, snack-powered environment. Not only does the program help develop literacy skills through games, activities and a readers’ theatre, where kids can take on roles in the stories they’re reading, but it engages families with dinners YOUR WAY
Photo provided by the Noisy Readers Group
supporting the parents, we’re supporting the children,” says Bloomfield.
BUILDING RESILIENCE IN A NEW SOCIETY
At the Noisy Kids Reading Club, kids get homework help in a fun, interactive environment
at which parents and siblings are welcome as well. Claire Rettie, READ Society executive director, estimates that for every child involved with the program, at least four other people benefit directly, either through the dinners or through family workshops. “It makes a difference to how kids relate to school,” she says. “A child walks differently, looks at people differently, is interested in helping other people. It’s the ripple effect of building confidence.”
HELPING PARENTS HELPS KIDS THRIVE Children’s confidence is important, but when families face challenging times, the adults around them often need extra help to maintain their own confidence as well. Trevor Tuckwell came to the 1-Up Resource Centre for Single Parents as a single dad in need of support, and found that the centre’s free resources, including IF CHILDREN HAVE BEEN counselling, toys and books READ TO 1,000 TIMES BY for kids, and educational THE AGE OF FIVE, THEY programs all helped him EXPERIENCE INCREASED become a better caregiver HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT for his 10-year-old son. ON ALL LEVELS “People sign up to participate because they know they need something — knowledge, or support,” says Tuckwell. “It changes people’s lives, and changes the direction they’re headed ... it sets them on a different track.” That was definitely the case for Tuckwell, who found a job through the centre, as its administrative co-ordinator. The centre’s Executive Director, Liz Bloomfield, explains that not only does the centre provide resources and referrals, workshops, guest speakers and outings, but it also provides one-on-one mentorship and friendship for parents who are facing the challenges of looking after their children on their own. “By 10
Another organization that supports parents and children is the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre, which helps new Canadians settle in to their new lives in Victoria. The centre recognizes that the transition to a new country is particularly challenging for kids— not only do they have to negotiate new school systems, new friends and a new country, but they have to do homework in a language that may not be familiar to them. Plus, they may face conflicting cultural messages as they traverse their home culture and Canadian society — trying to fit in at school becomes another challenge to add to the difficulties of leaving one place for another. The VIRC’s Homework Club and Sparks children’s program both provide a place for kids to work on their language skills and their homework, and even offers an art therapy program that helps kids adjust to the transitions they’ve faced. “Some have been exposed to traumatic experiences in the past,” says Danny Tes, the VIRC’s youth program coordinator. “And they’re working through trauma at the same time as they’re trying to integrate into a new society … children and youth are torn between two worlds.” However, “children are very resilient,” adds Tes, explaining the program gives them a sense of “identity, belonging and friendship.” While the value of helping parents and kids is clear, some agencies also help kids even more directly, through activities, after-school programs, homework help, snack times, and special events like the Boys & Girls Club’s anti-bullying Pink Shirt Day. More than 450 kids benefit directly from the Boys & Girls Club’s initiatives, which are backed up by a parent-coaching program that helps parents become more skilled at communicating with their children. Kate Mansell, Director of Development and Communications for the Boys & Girls Club, has been a United Way donor herself for 25 years, and encourages her staff to contribute through the payroll deduction program, because she sees first-hand the impact its initiatives can have in the community — they’re good for everyone involved. “Good parenting helps to raise good kids and grow communities.” And strong communities, in turn, make the world a safer, better place for kids to grow up in and to become all that they can be.
and a love — strongly connected to the United Way For Murray and Lynda Farmer, the United Way means united hearts as well as communities
United Way for helping make big changes in their lives, but few perhaps can say it made a difference the way it did for Murray and Lynda Farmer. That’s because the couple first met in the early 1980s, when Murray was on the United Way’s board of directors, and Lynda worked for the Arthritis Society, one of the agencies it funded. At the time, the Arthritis Society had just finished building its treatment centre. She’d caught Murray and Lynda Farmer, seen here with thoroughbred Romeo, are often found at Westside his eye at a few joint meetings, Stables at Bonnie Brae Farm, which they co-own. Murray recalls. “I called her at her place of employment on the pretext of a Lynda says she appreciates not only the work the United concerned board member wanting a tour of the facility,” Murray Way does, but also its responsible way of ensuring the money it says. By the end of the tour, he’d asked Lynda for a date. It was collects goes to those who need it most. “You get a lot more out the start of a long-lasting marriage, and the solidification of the of what you give.” couple’s long relationship with the United Way. Murray served Murray, now the chancellor for the University of Victoria, on the board for eight years; Lynda has chaired fundraising agrees, saying he gets great satisfaction from donating to campaigns, sat on the National Board, and earned a national the United Way. The Farmer’s family businesses, Farmer award of distinction for her work as the regional vice-president Construction, Commercial Crane, and Accent Inns, have long for British Columbia. been a part of Victoria’s business community, and Murray says “I always felt I was making a difference,” says Lynda, who this is part of the reason why he and Lynda give back to the now sits as past chair on the Camosun College board of United Way as patron-level donors. governors. “The United Way is really one of the anchors in our “This community has been really good to us and our community. It can intervene in ways that are life-changing for extended family,” he notes. “It makes me feel good to know I’m people. Sometimes a bit of a hand will create opportunities that still contributing to those in need in this community. We’ve been wouldn’t have been there before.” very fortunate, but a lot of people aren’t.” YOUR WAY
Photography by Dean Azim
COUNTLESS PEOPLE IN VICTORIA can point to the
Supporting a Strong
FOUNDATION STREETS2HOMES IS A UNIQUE PROGRAM RUN THROUGH PACIFICA HOUSING, WHICH FINDS PRIVATE RENTAL UNITS FOR PEOPLE DEALING WITH VARIOUS CHALLENGES.
For Brad Hercina, Pacifica Housing opened the door to a new apartment in Victoria’s regular rental stock — and to a new life.
BY ADRIEN SALA PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAUL KERINS
license and was divorced. He suffered round this time last year, severe depression and had very little 54-year-old Brad Hercina was desire to participate in life. But by 2004, just coming out of treatment he’d started his healing journey, which he for drug addiction. He was admits has been a long road. clean and living a healthy lifestyle, waking “After getting some clean time under every morning around 5 am to get to the my belt, I started taking courses in social pool for a swim before heading off to a field,” he says. Most of his training was in support meeting at 7 am. At the time, crisis and peer counselling. he was staying where he could, mostly in In 2007, Hercina moved west to the shelter beds at the Salvation Army or Squamish and started working in Rock Bay Landing. Eager to keep clean, homeless shelters and doing respite Hercina was faced with a dilemma that work, eventually becoming a foster many people coming out of treatment parent to young man for six months. But have: how to stay clean while being after his contract ended there, he slipped unable to afford stable housing. into a depression and started using “There’s two sides to living in the cocaine again. shelter or homeless “I thought it would be environment while OF THE UWGV’S 132 a one-night thing,” he being clean,” he says. FUNDED PROGRAMS, remembers. “But it turned “One side is that you 57 FALL UNDER into three months, in see [the drug use] and which time I lost basically you think, ‘I’m glad I’m THE BANNER OF everything.” He wound up not in that anymore.’ “FROM POVERTY TO living in homeless shelter And then there’s the POSSIBILITY.” himself, stuck in a cycle other aspect that of drug addiction and if it keeps banging depression that is common for addicts. away at you long enough, it’s like water It’s a cycle that is very hard to break. eroding the mountain — eventually you have a bad day or a few bad days and it’s available and you become much more POVERTY IS BROADLY DEFINED susceptible to falling back into using,” Some of the work being done to help says Hercina, who knows how hard it can people like Brad Hercina move away be to stay clean while in transition. from cycles of homelessness and drug Born in Winnipeg, Hercina was a addiction is directly related to the United typical prairie guy who married in 1986 Way’s national impact area called From and kept active in the community by poverty to possibility. In Victoria, the volunteer-coaching. However, he was, initiative’s scope includes funding for he acknowledges now, a functioning programs like subsidized housing and alcoholic: able to keep down a job, but homeless shelters, but also supports a drinking heavily. In the 1990s, he started range of programs like work training, experimenting with hard drugs, mostly drug counselling services and community cocaine. “Eventually the dabbling turned support for mental illness. To United Way me from a functioning addict into a of Greater Victoria CEO Linda Hughes, dysfunctional human.” the definition of poverty is broad. By the early-2000s he could no longer “It can be poverty of identity,” she hold down a job, had lost his driver’s says. “Whether you’re an immigrant or an
isolated senior, or have poverty of power. It can be people who feel like they’ve got nothing to offer.” Of the United Way of Greater Victoria’s 132 funded programs, 57 fall under the banner of From poverty to possibility.
FOR TENANTS AND LANDLORDS The Streets2Homes is one of those initiatives and is run by Pacifica Housing. It was developed in 2009 through the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. It is designed to help people move from a pattern of homelessness and drug addiction into more stable environments by supporting their housing needs in rental apartments in the private market. Before entering treatment for drug addiction in 2011, Hercina had learned about the Streets2Homes program. While staying in shelters after coming out of treatment, he went to the Downtown Outreach services office on Cormorant Street to look into it. There, the staff connected him to a support worker, and after a short two-month period on a waiting list, he was helped to find a private apartment with an understanding landlord in James Bay in late November last year. He has remained there ever since. “Streets2Homes is a very high concept program,” says coordinator Brad Crewson. “Over the past few years we’ve developed relationships with landlords. They know who we work with and they’re comfortable working with us to house people who have some challenges.” An integral aspect of those relationships are the Landlord Liaisons — a small group of people who work as go-betweens for the program and the private market. “It’s a pivotal role,” says Crewson. “They serve as support for landlords; the first point of contact if anything goes sideways. They recruit YOUR WAY
new landlords and mediate if there are problems.” For example, a landlord can call if the tenant is having issues with the neighbours or struggling to meet rent. Al Kemp, CEO of the Rental Owners
essentials,” says Crewson. As of July this year, 85 people were actively housed in the program and 15 more had moved on in positive ways. “We want to create an environment where people are able to reach their potential,” says Crewson. Groups that deal with homelessness and other housing issues typically work under the assumption that stability in one aspect of life is key to finding it in others. The United Way’s poverty to possibility initiatives help create stability in all areas of peoples’ lives, providing not only opportunities, but the personal empowerment needed to take advantage of them. Under the From poverty to possibility focus, other United Way supported housing initiatives like those provided by Cool Aid and the Victoria Housing Society, often provide opportunities for an individual to discover his or her Brad Hercina and support worker Birger Reith enjoy the own potential. fresh air on the balcony of Hercina’s new apartment. “Once people start to experience their own power, they may start to think in terms of being able and Managers of BC, said tenants who to succeed in other ways,” says Crewson. are doing well in social housing can be supported to move into private rentals, freeing up space in social housing SUPPORT WORKERS LISTEN to those just coming off the street. It To support the transition from poverty reduces the need to build expensive to possibility, Streets2Homes connects social housing projects, people in the program which are often in to one of five support LANDLORD LIAISONS development for years workers, who help about SUPPORT BOTH TENANT before addressing 25 people at a time. AND LANDLORD TO housing needs. “I never make ENSURE EVERYTHING With an annual decisions for my clients,” budget of $860,000 says Birger Reith, one of GOES WELL for Streets2Homes –– the program’s support $230,000 of which came from the United workers, who was linked with Hercina. Way in 2011 –– the program provides “We discuss the options. I don’t feed an individual housing subsidy of up to them my opinion about how they should $300 per month, depending on income live their lives.” Instead, he asks clients and rent cost. People might also receive what they think should happen, puts financial assistance for replacing lost ID control back into their hands, and then or for some basic housekeeping items helps them achieve individualized goals. when they first move in. “There is no For Hercina, who came out of set amount per person for this kind of treatment one year ago, that approach assistance, and we try to keep it to the and his stable housing have provided 14
him the confidence to start looking beyond his addiction. He has completed a two-year Celtic shaman apprenticeship and is a certified Reiki master, but he says it’s more likely that he’ll wind up working in the caregiver field in the future, perhaps training as a community health worker through one of the training services such as the REES and Peer to Peer programs at Cool Aid, also supported by the United Way. For now though, he continues to talk with Reith on a regular basis. He’s befriended his landlord and they often get together to play guitar, far from the streets where he used to seek shelter and do drugs.
DND CHANGES The United Way’s relationship with the Department of National Defence has always been strong — and always evolving as new leaders regularly come to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt. After 37 years in the Canadian Forces, Rear Admiral Nigel Greenwood retired this year as Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific and was replaced by Rear Admiral Bill Truelove. Truelove, who took the position on June 4th, was previously stationed in Afghanistan. This year Captain Bob Auchterlonie Jr. was appointed to Base Commander. Auchterlonie, originally from Cumberland, is heavily involved with the local community and has recently joined the United Way board of directors. Another new appointment is Commodore S.E.G. (Scott) Bishop, who is now Commander of the Canadian Pacific Fleet. “While it’s hard to say goodbye to people we’ve built such a strong relationship with over the years,” says Linda Hughes, “it’s always exciting to get to know new people. We welcome the change and look forward to working together.”
SOMETIMES, PEOPLE NEED TO SEEK SHELTER IN A STORM
Victoria’s harbour has long served as a vibrant, culturally important haven, known for its beauty, iconic heritage buildings and tourist appeal as well as for its importance to the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations. Historically, Spanish sailors often sought out Victoria Harbour in the late 1700s, to escape the wild winds and storms of the Strait of Georgia and Pacific Ocean. And Sir James Douglas, the notable fur trader and British colonial governor, found it was a strategic goldmine, well protected and perfectly positioned for developing trade along the West Coast.
A PLACE OF REFUGE While Victoria’s harbour has been many things to many people over the years, perhaps the most common thread among them is as a place of refuge, where those in need can seek shelter from the storm, and find opportunities through the goodwill of those who live here. It’s a clear connection for United Way CEO Linda Hughes, who says “I’ve always seen a link between the idea of it being a physically safe harbour and the goals we have with the United Way.” She sees a parallel between boats, caught off-guard in a storm and needing rescue from the Coast Guard, and individuals surprised by the unexpectedness of life, who turn to the community for help. “Many people don’t anticipate getting into trouble,” she says. “It could be an injury at work or some kind of family crisis, but when it happens it’s our job as a community to help get them out of troubled water.”
Illustration by Shelley Davies
With Victoria’s longtime emphasis on being a safe haven for those in need, it should come as no surprise that there remains a strong sense of responsibility among businesses and organizations in Victoria’s Inner and Esquimalt harbours, many of whom generously contribute to the United Way.
HARBOUR CITIZENS SUPPORT COMMUNITY The Department of National Defence, Victoria Shipyards, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, The Victoria Harbour Ferry and the Esquimalt Graving Dock are all big supporters, as are many hotels in the Inner Harbour, like the Fairmont Empress, Inn at Laurel Point, the Delta Ocean Pointe and more. The biggest of those is the DND, with 7,114 employees contributing $679,453 to the United Way in 2011. The Rear Admiral or the Base Commander has sat on the UW board for many years. (See sidebar opposite page.) Next is Victoria Shipyards, where 208 employees contributed $155,094. Many of these donations are at a “leader level,” meaning the employee contributes at least $500 per year. Some contribute even more. “The relationship we have with the businesses in the harbour is very important to us,” says Hughes. It’s clear the generosity of the United Way’s harbourside partners is more than just a beacon in a storm. When those troubled waters start to rise, they help provide a lifeboat, a safe haven and a stable shore.
Riding Strong HOW THE VICTORIA THERAPEUTIC RIDING ASSOCIATION IS HELPING BUILD CONFIDENCE AND A STRONG COMMUNITY, ONE RIDER AT A TIME
BY ADRIEN SALA PHOTOGRAPHY BY GARY MCKINSTRY
here could be a version of 15-year-old Luke’s life story where he remained unsettled by furry animals, which were once a cause of concern and completely foreign to him. But in this version –– the real version –– Luke has learned to understand and love horses, and he happily spends 45 minutes on horseback every week during the winter, at the Victoria Therapeutic Riding Association farm in Saanich. Born deaf and blind, the lanky teenager relies on touch and smell to gauge the world around him. Prior to his involvement with the therapeutic horse-riding program (formerly called Victoria Riding for the Disabled) Luke’s world was limited, tempered by apprehension toward new experiences, as is common with many children who are deaf and blind. “At one time, Luke would not venture outside or explore beyond the rooms of a familiar house,” says Lenora Spencer, his full-time caregiver, with whom he has lived since he was seven years old. But that all started to change when he took to riding eight years ago. “Luke had only begun speaking five months before coming to horseback riding and within his first three lessons he could name his horse and the day of the week that his lesson was on,” says Spencer. “He began stringing together sentences like, ‘On Wednesday go horseback riding,’ and ‘Walk on.’” Now heading into Grade 10 at Oak Bay Secondary School, Luke is more willing to try things outside his comfort zone. “He’s even been rock climbing!” laughs Lenora.
RIDING HELPS BUILD MENTAL CONFIDENCE AND PHYSICAL STRENGTH The Victoria Therapeutic Riding Association uses horseback riding as a way to provide experience and training to individuals dealing with challenges ranging from the physical or cognitive, to the social or psychological. “We have some very physically complex riders who need a lot of support and others who can ride independently,” says program director Sue Colgate. Riding can help build greater core strength, even for those who are in wheelchairs. “They get on a horse and they suddenly have to support themselves,” explains Colgate. Luke takes a ride, assisted by, left to right, sidewalker Sue Colgate, horse handler Samantha Howe and sidewalker Susan Paterson. YOUR WAY
“The horse starts walking and they have to adjust –– those core muscles are all getting worked.” Inside the barn are specially designed equipment for the riders, like individually crafted saddles, boots with bigger heels so feet don’t slip through the stirrups, and rainbow-coloured reins that allow the support team to give specific instructions explaining where riders should put their hands. “We’ve even got wide saddles for big bums and little saddles for little bums,” jokes Colgate. The size and the shape of the horse is often an important consideration, too, in pairing the right horse with the right rider. The inclusive riding program fits nicely with the United Way’s focus of Healthy people, strong communities, which works to improve community access to social and health-related support services, as well as develops the capacity for individuals to care for themselves and their families. Some of its other partners include the Victoria Brain Injury Society, the Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health, and
the Victoria Women’s Transition House, which all help people learn new skills that allow them to be stronger, happier, and more connected with their communities. With its United Way funding coming in at $39,000 per year, the riding program also relies on riders’ fees, which account for about 25 per cent of the $252,000 annual budget. The rest, says Colgate, “comes from just about anywhere we can get it.” “We also get about $100,000 worth of volunteer hours every year,” she says. “We couldn’t do it without them.” The volunteers support the riders by taking on special roles, such as the “sidewalker,” whose job is to flank the horse and walk closely alongside while communicating with the rider. In Luke’s case, they explain every aspect of the ride: what the terrain looks like, how many steps until he needs to turn, the direction the horse is looking, and so on. For United Way CEO Linda Hughes, the program represents many positive aspects that the organization looks to support. It not only resonates with the Healthy people, strong communities focus, but it also connects with their All that kids can
be focus, as over 75 per cent of the 150 weekly riders are children, many of whom have no other physical activity options. “It’s not so much that somebody is riding a horse and the physical health of all that,” she says. “It’s more that they’re included in their community; the fact that they’re able to do something able-bodied people can do. They feel connected.” “It helps with self-esteem,” adds Colgate. “They get to do something special that classmates might not. They get to be the star.” For Lenora Spencer, who has been in Luke’s life since he was only 18 months old, the sentiment is the same. “It’s great to have these relationships, so when we bump into someone in the store they can recognize him and I can say, ‘Oh look, these people have a life off the farm!’” she says. This kind of interaction helps Luke learn more about the world we all share. Perhaps the best part of the program is that for the riders, it isn’t all about the therapy they’re receiving. “A lot of them have no idea that they are getting all the value out of it,” explains Colgate. “They just think it’s fun.”
The following United Way programs are part of 85 funded under the Healthy people, strong communities focus: • Victoria Brain Injury Society is a safe place for people to rebuild life skills and regain work experience while learning to deal with the challenging aspects of their brain injury. • Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health provides emotional and counselling support to anyone for whom substance abuse has become a problem.
Samantha Howe gives Luke pointers for riding his horse Maryke.
• Victoria Women’s Transition House has a community education program that raises the profile of issues related to violence against women.
Photography by Dean Azim
EMPLOYERS GET INCREASED EMPLOYEE SKILLS AND CONNECTIONS, WHILE THE UNITED WAY GETS VITAL, COST-EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE
When Shelley Langille helped with the United Way’s fundraising campaign in 2007, it had a lasting impact on her life.
DONATING WORKERS TO THE UNITED WAY CAUSE FOR 16 WEEKS IN THE FALL OF 2007, instead of going into her job as manager of Technology Programs at Royal Roads University, Shelley Langille went each day to the United Way office on Fort Street. From there, she worked with a small group of people who, like her, were on leave from their regular jobs. They’d pack up United Way information for presentations and then set out to meet with hundreds of businesses in the Greater Victoria area to encourage workplace donations and payroll deductions as ways of giving to the annual campaign. Every two weeks, however, she still got her paycheque from RRU. Langille was one of a group of about a dozen people working in the United Way’s annual Loaned Representative program. Each year a number of local organizations and businesses loan out an employee to work on the annual United Way fundraising campaign from September to December, while keeping him or her on company payroll. Regular contributors to the program include the Department of National Defence, Vancouver Island Health Authority, BC Pension Corp, HP Advanced Solutions, ICBC, as well as The University of Victoria, Camosun College and Royal Roads University. “There’s even a healthy competition amongst the education institutions,” confesses Langille.“There’s a little trophy.” Although Langille’s experience was a few years ago, the benefits linger. She learned new skills, particularly presentation skills, gained confidence in group settings, and networked with other professionals and businesses across Greater Victoria, making valuable contacts. “You go through a quite a substantial training period and you put on presentations at every employer,” she says. “You’re
strengthening everything, all your skills, throughout the campaign.” Moreover, she felt good about what she was doing, and felt she was having a positive affect on the community. “Having an impact and making a difference — that is what a lot of us hope for with our lives. It’s was really amazing to be able to do that for three months,”says Langille, who highly encourages others to become loaned reps, if their companies support the initiative.
HELP AT CRUCIAL TIMES, OR HELP ANY TIME Traditionally, loaned reps have been in place during the campaign period, when they spend their time going out into the business community to explain the United Way’s benefits and contribution opportunities — and to explain just how easy it is to get involved in United Way fundraising efforts. But CEO Hughes is eager to expand the program, in order to help the United Way with a range of projects. “We’re trying to open it up and make it a broader opportunity,” Hughes says. “We’ve got a goal, for example, to have a high-tech loaned rep that works with us off campaign time, and who can help elevate our skills in that area.” Such a loaned rep could be available from January to April, or another term during the year. Overall, the Loaned Rep program is win-win. Employers benefit from the increased skills and connections their employees gain, while the United Way receives vital, costeffective assistance during its most demanding periods. It also fosters an awareness of the needs and challenges in the community and strengthens networks for all those involved. If your company wants to get involved in with the United Way, the Loaned Rep program may be just the ticket. YOUR WAY
Meet Samara Whalen, one of the Artemis Societyâ€™s Class of 2012. Sheâ€™s worked harder than most to graduate.
BY ALISA GORDANEER PHOTOGRAPHY BY LISA CLARKE
amara Whalen says her biggest challenge in finishing high school was being consistent — not just with her school work, but with her life. Like all of the girls who come to the Artemis Society to finish their high school diplomas, the 18-year-old had faced numerous challenges to staying in school. But now that she’s overcome them, and received her Grade 12 diploma, she’s learned an even more important lesson: “Being determined for myself helps me out. It’s myself keeping myself accountable,”she says. The program, which receives $94,000 a year from the United Way, gives girls a chance to overcome learning disabilities, addictions, trauma and other barriers that might keep them from finishing high school. In doing so, it gives them the confidence to continue their education, get rewarding work, and become happy, secure community members who often turn to helping others. “They’re empowered, strong, educated,” says Executive Director Lisa Ellis. And she should know — like Whalen, she’s a graduate of the program, too. “The long-range impact is huge,” Ellis says.
ARE POWERFUL AGENTS OF CHANGE AND CONNECTION
The Neighbourhood Initiative builds sustainable communities that can guide their own destinies BY ALISA GORDANEER PHOTOGRAPHY BY GARY MCKINSTRY
IN THE PAST IT WAS EASIER TO CONNECT with your Victoria neighbours. You could chat over back fences, sit together on front porches, and help with community groups organized around the needs of a growing society. But those days of casual connections and the community values they foster have all but vanished as people live busier, more fractured, and more challenging lives. As a result, people often have no idea who their neighbours are, let alone feel they can count on them for help. That’s why the United Way’s new Neighbourhood Initiatives are attracting so much attention, both from community members and from partner funding agencies like Coast Capital Savings. Aimed at recreating that sense of connection among neighbours, the goal of the Neighbourhood Initiatives is to build sustainable communities that can guide their own destinies. Two initiatives have been underway for the past year, with more to come. The Community Tables: Engaging Neighbourhoods initiative began in Oaklands, North Park, and Gorge-Tillicum in the fall of 2011. The United Way had determined that these neighbourhoods were ready to take on the task of developing 22
Residents of Oaklands are sowing seeds of change and are seeking community input through the Neighbourhood Tables initiative.
their own community resources. Under the guidance of Stacy Barter from BC Healthy Community, and with the support of five graduate students from the University of Victoria’s Office of Community-Based Research, the citizen-focused tables gathered together neighbours who live, work, and play in those areas to discuss what their communities really mean to them. “Each of these neighbourhoods is distinct in its culture,” explains Barter, adding that the best way to find out what each neighbourhood wanted was to get the residents directly involved.
RESIDENT INVOLVEMENT, RESIDENT INVESTMENT The table participants met regularly over six months to explore not only what they loved or didn’t know about their neighbourhoods, but to strategize about what would make things better where they lived. The table participants then developed action plans to take their ideas from the drawing board into the real world. Further support from the United Way will ensure the plans become a reality. “We’re taking a neighbour-powered approach to building community,” says Lilaine Galway, at United Way, who helps
co-ordinate the initiatives. Galway says the Neighbourhood Initiatives are a good example of how the United Way is starting to direct some of its funding into more grassroots, community-powered initiatives that use the skills of the community members to ensure success. “They’re trying to work in support of more citizen-led initiatives,” adds Barter. “Rather than solely relying on organized institutions to do the work, they’re trying to support a citizen voice.” That’s an ideal way to expand social capital, explains Barter, which gives people a sense of connectedness and belonging.
STRONG NEIGHBOURHOODS, SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES Oaklands resident Rainey Hopewell says she liked that the United Way listened carefully to the neighbours, and let them dictate the direction of the initiative, rather than pointing them towards a specific goal. Oaklands residents are still in the process of seeking community input. In Gorge-Tillicum, table members had a sense of what they wanted already: a way to communicate and co-ordinate with each other. They decided to create a digital commons — essentially, a website where neighbours could post about services, such as hairstyling or gardening, or supplies, such as a spare lawnmower, they could share with their neighbours. Over in North Park, neighbours knew they had a lot of great places in their community, but felt as though residents of other areas weren’t aware of them. To bring more people to their neighbourhood, and more shoppers to their local businesses, they decided to create a community asset map that highlights the services, shops and sports facilities (four!) available in the neighborhood. It’s clear that even from the beginning, the process has created stronger communities in these areas. “It helped neighbours get to know one another,” says Galway. “And that makes neighbourhoods stronger, and more sustainable.” Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin, who is a United Way donor himself, praises the initiatives. “They’ve invested in peoples’ future.” And it seems likely that future will be one where neighbours can count on each other, just like they did in the past.
Some neighbourhoods want physical places to gather, others want digital resources, and others have more ideas still. Community green spaces are a priority for these Oaklands residents.
A PLAN SO SUCCESSFUL, IT’S EXPANDING ORGANICALLY NEW NEIGHBOURHOODS BENEFIT The Neighbourhood Tables project has been so successful, the United Way is directing another two neighbourhood initiatives starting this fall, in partnership with Coast Capital Savings. Together the United Way and Coast Capital have committed a total of $600,000 over the next three years to developing strategies and action plans that respond to needs identified by community members in Esquimalt and Hillside-Quadra. Maureen Young, the manager for Community Partnerships and Investment for Coast Capital Savings, says that her organization has long partnered with the United Way, but she’s particularly excited about the “place-based” nature of the Neighbourhood initiatives. “These are initiatives that allow communities to make some of the long-term, systemic differences they want to make,” says Young. She adds that even though there is no concrete, specific plan at the outset, it’s exciting to be involved in these initiatives because they are bound to create things that will really matter to the communities — maybe those will be community gardens, maybe they’ll be revitalized public spaces, or maybe they’ll be something nobody’s even anticipated yet. Anything seems possible. By making resources available and talking with people in the communities who are working to make a difference about what they would like to see happen, the United Way can connect on a deeper level to the communities it’s working with, Young says. “It’s totally from the ground up. It’s an organic process.”
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES CAN GIVE TO LOCAL CHARITIES THROUGH PECSF The United Way is strongly supported by federal, regional and municipal levels of government in its annual campaign. If you are one of the estimated 11,000 people in Greater Victoria who are employees of the provincial government, you have your own charitable fundraising organization that supports a host of local charities and enables monthly payroll deductions. The Provincial Employees Community Services Fund (PECSF) was founded in 1965 to make it easier for government employees to donate to local nonprofit organizations. Like the United Way, PECSF runs an annual campaign every fall to encourage employees to sign up for either bi-weekly or one-time payroll deductions. Funds are then distributed annually to local registered charities either selected by the board of PECSF or to eligible registered charities that are designated by the donor to receive funds. “Many local charities supported by the United Way are also supported by PECSF,” notes Linda Hughes, CEO of the UWGV. “But provincial government employees can also choose to have their donations go directly to the United Way, if they so desire, under PECSF’s donor choice option.” PECSF is the only organization that is authorized to conduct a fundraising campaign among employees in provincial government workplaces. All administration costs are borne by the provincial government. The fund’s central office is in Victoria with a three-person staff that manages and administers the fund. For more information about PECSF, its operating principles, its board of directors, or the list of regional charities that it supports, see communityfund.gov.bc.ca.
Collaborative funding model ensures a safety net All of the organizations funded by the United Way need to have other sources of funding, to ensure stability that will allow them to continue their work no matter what else is going on. “We want to leverage our dollars as much as possible,” says Chris Poirier-Skelton, Director of Community Investments for the United Way. In order to do that, the United Way collaborates with other organizations to ensure programs receive the funding that is required. Not only does this help increase the amount of money being raised for the community, it also serves as a safety net in case something goes wrong. “We can’t be the sole funder because we don’t want to be the reason a program closes in case we can’t raise the money or have to withdraw for one reason or another,” said Poirier-Skelton. Whether through church groups, independent charities, other non-profits or government subsidies, in all cases the United Way co-funds programs, creating a truly United approach.
Labour councils provide a large portion of the United Way’s fundraising With a workforce that is over 3 million strong, the Canadian Labour Congress represents working people in communities across Canada. Aligned with the United Way since 1988, labour councils are a key partner helping with fundraising, volunteer support and employee contributions. On a local level, the Victoria Labour Council works directly with the United Way of Greater Victoria year round. It acts as a sponsor and advocate, contributing both volunteer hours and employee donations. Canadian Labour Congress regional representative Orion Irvine believes that labour unions and the United Way share similar goals. “Our members live and work in the community and they care about it a lot,” says Irvine. “It is important that people be able to support their families. That’s why we work so well with the United Way.” United Way receives support from many unions, including the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Canadian Auto Workers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. These unions and many others are an integral part of United Way’s annual campaign.
UW at WORK
Victoria’s downtown core is home to hundreds of people, many of whom live on the city’s streets. Like any community, the people in it benefit from a community centre, where they can go to meet friends, participate in activities and programs, and even have a meal. A recent commitment by the United Way to provide $25,000 a year for the next three years has allowed the Downtown Community Centre, operated by the Victoria Cool Aid Society, to stay open on evenings and weekends, which lets people get in from the cold and rain to enjoy free recreational activities, life-skills courses, yoga, floor hockey and more. Staffed by trained volunteers, the centre also benefits from an additional United Way grant that helps those volunteers become better able to help people with complex needs, making the downtown a better, safer home for all.
Photo provided by Victoria Cool Aid Society
Life skills, fitness and fun help make downtown a better place
The Downtown Community Centre’s floor hockey team is a force to be reckoned with.
Photo by Ashley Kelbough
Young adults donate volunteer hours in place of cash at a popular fundraiser
Hannah Lockie, Arielle Houghton, and Muhammed Ali Abid enjoy fun and friendship through volunteering with the UnitedNOW! program.
“How do you get the younger generation to care about the United Way?” asks United Way CEO, Linda Hughes, who adds with a wry smile, “It’s not just your grandmother’s charity!” One program that helps resolve the challenge is UnitedNOW!, a council developed in 2009 by the United Way as a way for adults in their 20s and early 30s to get involved in the community. Understanding that many young people are unable to contribute financially, the council created Volunteering with Benefits, an annual awareness-raiser and silent auction where bidders offer volunteer hours instead of cash. This year, 1,360 hours were committed — the equivalent of almost $14,000 at minimum wage. UnitedNOW! was developed after the United Way’s YouthNOW! council members (over 65 youth, between 15 and 19 years old, have sat on the council since 2002) pointed out that after age 19 there were limited ways to stay involved. Now both councils meet regularly with the United Way to discuss ideas and find new ways for their demographic to contribute. “There’s a misconception that young people don’t want to be involved,” says 27-year-old council member Anna Price. “But we do!” YOUR WAY
KEN AND PATRICIA MARIASH FOSTER A CULTURE OF GIVING WHEREVER THEY WORK Together, we can build the kind of community we all want to call home, they say. WHEN KEN MARIASH WAS growing up on a farm outside Tisdale, Saskatchewan, he witnessed how a culture of co-operation benefits everyone in the community, in everything from barn-raisings to working together to help a farmer bring in a crop. In Grade Five, he even led the charge to fix a dilapidated outdoor skating rink, getting the whole community working together to donate time, skill and resources to get the job done. While Patricia Mariash grew up in different circumstances — the largely suburban environment of Southern California — that culture of giving was instrumental in her young life, too, from helping at fundraising church socials and selling candy bars for charities to raising money for the Los Angeles United Way. The Mariashs, the founders of Focus Equities, have since developed more than 15 million square feet of commercial, industrial, and residential space around North America. They are now creating Bayview Place, a master-planned residential and retail community that includes the restoration of the historic railway roundhouse, on nine hectares in Vic West. Wherever they work in North America, they make sure that they give back to the community. “We believe in leaving a community better than we found it, both in our developments and in our charitable giving,” says Patricia. Adds Ken: “We’ve been fortunate to achieve significant business success over our careers. We feel it is both our responsibility and our sincere privilege to help others in creating the sort of community we all want to live in.”
GIVING TO NUMEROUS CAUSES Since arriving in Victoria, the Mariashs have been major donors to many prominent charitable causes, such as being the lead sponsor in 2007 of the Symphony Splash. This year they have led fundraising efforts behind Women’s Transition House, the David Foster Foundation, the Braefoot Community Centre, the Victoria Highlanders soccer team — and to the United Way to support this publication. They’ve given to many other local causes, including the Arthritis Society, Olympic athlete hopefuls, the Soldiers Fund, the Homecoming sculpture in the Inner Harbour, and more. “It is as much about seeing a problem that we can help solve 26
Partricia and Ken Mariash flank Honorary Captain (Navy) Cedric Steele at the unveiling of the Inner Harbour’s Homecoming statue, which they helped fund.
or a need that we can help address as it is about having the resources and skills to do so,” says Patricia. For example during the mad cow crisis in 2003, when many Alberta cattle farmers faced extreme losses, the Mariashs held a fundraising barbecue that not only raised more than $1 million for affected ranchers, but raised spirits and awareness, too.
UNITED WAY TRANSCENDS BOUNDARIES The Mariashs are the lead sponsor of this special 75th anniversary publication. “We have seen the good work of the United Way in every city we have worked in,” says Patricia. Those cities include Calgary, Edmonton, Denver, Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles. “The United Way is known for operating with responsible administration costs and helping support a great variety of charitable causes. They are very efficient in their fundraising and they know where the need is,” says Ken. The Mariashs want to help get the word out about the huge variety of programs and people the UW helps in southern Vancouver Island. “When someone gives to the United Way, their one donation can impact potentially many different areas,” says Ken, who notes that despite the 13 different municipalities in the region, the United Way’s hard work transcends all the various boundaries and jurisdictions.
INSPIRED TO GIVE Patricia and Ken know all about hard work. Ken started building homes in his teens and by his early 20s was already a successful developer across the Canadian Prairies. He has bachelor degrees in mathematics, science, business, accounting and architecture, plus an MBA. Patricia, who also has an architecture degree as well as degrees in marketing and investing, founded her own award-winning commercial interior architecture business. Her projects encompassed some 20
million square feet and represented some of the world’s most notable corporate headquarters throughout North America and Europe. Together, the two have developed many notable properties, including the award-winning 160-acre Deerfoot Meadows development in Calgary. “In essence, our business is all about building homes, offices and industrial space around North America that people want to live and work in. It only makes sense that we help build better communities, too,” says Patricia. “We encourage others to give what they can — money, time,
wisdom or compassion. Step forward and give what you can to help build strong neighbourhoods and healthy communities,” says Ken, who notes he and Patricia have been inspired by the statement of Victoria’s local Community Microlending Society, another local charity that both the United Way and the Mariashs support, whose motto is: “We need each other to flourish.”’ “We agree with that philosophy whole-heartedly. We do need each other to flourish. Whether you give to the United Way, or to another cause that is close to your heart — together we can all help build the Victoria we are proud to call home,” says Ken.
MOVING FROM HOPES AND DREAMS TO REALITY IN THE NEXT 25 YEARS IF YOU HAD A WISH FOR GREATER VICTORIA IN THE NEXT 25 YEARS, WHAT WOULD IT BE? That question was asked all this summer at various celebrations of the United Way’s 75th anniversary and the City of Victoria’s 150th. At the day-long City United festival at St. Ann’s Academy, August 6th, a special Hope Chest was on site into which people could place their wishes for the community in the future. Participants were asked to finish the sentence: By 2037 I promise to… Children’s answers ran the gamut from “be married” or “study snakes” to “be a good friend,” and “never smoke or litter,” while adults most often promised to keep active, volunteer or “try to still be alive!” Participants were also asked to finish the sentence: In 2037, I hope my community… to which the most common responses were “finds an end to homelessness,” “has affordable housing” and “has reduced poverty.” Lisa Helps, one of the new elected members on Victoria’s City Council and a long-time agent of positive community change, has a vision of what she hopes Victoria will become in the next 25 years. The 36-year-old is also the founder and Executive Director of Community Micro Lending Society, which facilitates loans between local lenders and local entrepreneurs with good ideas and skills who don’t have access to loans from financial institutions. CML is funded by the United Way, the Mariashs and many other donors. Helps represents one of the fresh faces of change in the region, one that understands the need to honour and respect the past, but not be beholden to it or stuck there. Before starting CML, she was working on a PhD in the history of housing, homelessness and the governance of poverty, in which she compares and contrasts Victoria with San Francisco between 1930 and 1970. She notes how San Francisco has been able to hang on to and strengthen
important heritage aspects of the city while still embracing smart growth and higher density, changes that has made it one of the world’s favourite and most admired cities. “San Francisco leapt out of the box. We are still stuck in the box,” she says. Lisa Helps, across from the Helps says she aims Cornerstone Café in Fernwood to bring disparate groups of people together, fostering connections and communication, thus helping empower citizens who will then take ownership and lead the changes they want to see. Her vision of Victoria 25 years from now includes a series of vibrant urban villages all linked by walkable and bikable streets and a thriving downtown core with attractive housing and healthy businesses, where people want to live, shop, and play. That vision includes higherdensity areas in the core to support these enterprises and services. She also sees the need for more inviting, safe and engaging public spaces, where all citizens are happy to hang out and interact with each other, putting an end to urban dead zones where no one wants to go. “The key shift we have to make is to create a community in which everyone can thrive,” Helps says. What is the Victoria you want to see 25 years from now? And what are you willing to do to help that vision become a reality?
A CLOSER TALK WITH LINDA HUGHES What convinces people to give to the United Way? We did some research a couple years ago. We found that people trust the United Way. People understand that it’s a long-standing and stable organization. Where we’ll grow is to make people really understand the outcomes that we’re working with our community partners to achieve. How do you determine who gets funding? We rely on the volunteers on our Community Impact Council, who are skilled in different areas like health and social services. They work with our staff to review all the proposals according to our investment framework, the outcomes that will be achieved, and the status of the organization. The council makes recommendations and our board of directors makes the final decision. Why did you get involved with the United Way? My whole professional career has been in human services. I graduated from the University of Alberta, with a BA in psychology and a master’s degree in policy studies in administration and leadership. I’ve always worked in social services — for school boards, hospitals, the provincial government, and for a non-profit in Calgary, McMan Youth, Family and Community Services, a United Way agency. I took this job in August 2010. What are the key challenges among people in need in Victoria? Housing in general. Not just homeless but people who struggle with unsafe and inadequate housing. Victoria is a very expensive city to live in. How do we make sure young people coming out of school, out of child protection care, hospital care, institutional care, families, all have a safe place to live? Healthy eating is expensive, too. Employment is another issue. Kids, too, are a huge priority. BC has the highest child poverty rate in Canada. Why do you think Victoria has one of the lowest per capita giving rates in Canada? That could be attributed to two things. One, the high number of retirees, many of whom have seen their investment portfolios shrink. The second aspect is certainly the cost of living. People spend more of their take-home pay on housing and food. What campaign challenge faces Victoria compared to other cities? The backbone of United Way is the workplace campaign and payroll deduction is a popular way to give. We don’t have a large industrial sector here or head offices like Toronto and Calgary that do a lot of corporate matching. Every year we find vital and meaningful messages for people in this community so that they will understand our value and what we achieve.
LINDA HUGHES, 59 CEO, UNITED WAY OF GREATER VICTORIA
BY SHANNON MONEO
PHOTO BY GARY MCKINSTRY
This year is the United Way’s 75th anniversary in Victoria. How have needs changed? In some ways, they’ve changed so much and in other ways, they haven’t changed at all. They’ve changed because we know about things we never knew before. Alzheimer’s wasn’t yet a diagnosis in 1937. We didn’t have research showing that being in a caring community prevents other issues or that if you don’t learn to read by Grade 3, your school success trajectory is impacted significantly. But, in many ways, we still know the most important thing: that we have to care for each other. What is the amount you hope individuals give? Our message is that every gift counts, whether it’s $2 a paycheque or $100. The average annual workplace donation in 2011 was $348 and the average individual donation from our direct mail campaign was $530. As one of our volunteers said, we hope that everyone gives until it feels good. How do you assure donors that United Way administrative costs will remain low? That’s huge for us. We’re a very public organization because we’re a very public brand. Our fundraising costs over the last five years have averaged 15 per cent. We keep our fundraising costs down by using a huge number of volunteers — campaign cabinet, work site volunteers, youth volunteers. In any one year, there are well over 1,000 volunteers. What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your job? Seeing the work that’s been done, hearing a personal story from somebody who has the courage to share it. The stories are so awe-inspiring. What do you do when you are not working? When I moved here, I made a commitment to do something that gets me on the water. The first two summers I was here, with friends, I dragon-boated. This year, I moved onto rowing once or twice a week on the Gorge in a scull with some girlfriends. I also like to walk, whether it be Mount Doug or on the local beaches. And hiking at Dean Park. This is a beautiful place to be outdoors. Tell us something no one knows about you. I come from a family of 11 children. I’m the fourth oldest. This interview has been condensed and edited.
JUST THE FACTS • Over two years between 2007 and 2009, emergency shelter projects provided 4,461 bed nights for 82 individuals • Donors can choose which impact area to invest their money
BIG, SMALL OR IN-BETWEEN, YOUR DONATION HELPS The United Way offers many opportunities for you to help out, and the assurance that your donation will go directly to those who need it most. You receive tax benefits, and the warm feeling of knowing you’re helping to make a difference. Here are some of the many options:
MAJOR GIFTS: Some of the biggest single donations to the United Way come from wealthy philanthropists or other established Victorians who see their good fortune spread out across the community. Gifts of $10,000 or more are considered Major Gifts. SECURITIES: You can donate securities to the United Way, and receive tax benefits for your generosity — gifts of securities are based on their fair market value when transferred to the United Way, and are exempt from capital gains tax.
PAYROLL DEDUCTION: It’s easy to donate when the money comes right off your pay cheque, before it even hits the bank. If your employer doesn’t support the United Way yet, getting payroll deductions started is not complicated. AUTOMATIC WITHDRAWALS: Set up an automatic withdrawal from your bank account for your weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly donation, and your giving will feel effortless. LEGACY GIFTS: Remember the United Way in your estate planning, and be remembered for your generosity and community spirit. Gifts in kind, including real estate, securities and life insurance policies, can all help build a lasting legacy for your community. VOLUNTEER: The United Way always needs people to offer their
• The United Way logo was designed by Saul Bass in 1972, who also designed AT&T, Kleenex, YMCA, United Airlines, Girls Scouts USA, plus many more • The name of the United Way has transitioned over the years from Community Chest, to Red Feather to UW • The United Way affiliate offices (all separate and community-based) can be found in 45 countries around the globe • In Victoria, more than 100 people volunteer year-round for UWGV; that number grows to 1,000 during the campaign • United Way of Greater Victoria provides service from Port Renfrew to the southern Gulf Islands • United Way seed funding of $200,000 was instrumental in establishing the local Coalition to End Homelessness • The first UW campaign in 1887 worked very much the same as it does today, with donations being spread across the community • The United Way of Greater Victoria was the first United Way in Canada to fund AIDS programming, in partnership with AIDS Vancouver Island
time and services. Not only will you help others, but you’ll meet interesting people, have plenty of fun, and feel good for getting involved.
• Operational cost in Victoria are well below national average
MEDIA HELPS SPREAD UW MESSAGE
• All donations are tax receiptable
Each year, local media companies donate advertising space, air time for public service announcements, billboard ads, transit ads and other media exposure to the United Way of Greater Victoria. In 2011, this support equaled more than $930,000. Thanks to the Times Colonist, Black Press, Lamar Transit, Pattison Outdoor, Coast Outdoor, Hillside Printing, Shaw TV, The Q/Zone, CTV Vancouver Island, CHEK News, CFAX 1070, The Ocean/Jack FM, and Boulevard for their continued support.
• 1,500 people are on the waiting list for social housing — most are families, seniors and people with disabilities • In one month nearly 20,000 people used a food bank in Victoria — over 1/4 of them kids
Community Chest 75 years of giving in Greater Victoria
The United Way began as the “Community Chest,” where a range of organizations could combine forces and donations to ensure their collected giving could have the greatest impact for those in need. The idea is still strong. Here’s a glimpse of some community needs today. CONNECTIONS
The United Way provides a vital role of linking local charities together, promoting networking, co-operation and teamwork to help solve our local issues.
The United Way prides itself in responding to community needs, and has adapted its goals over the past 75 years to provide the services our community needs most.
FOOD Donations to programs like the Grow-A-Row initiative and community kitchens allow people to have access to nutritious meals.
CASH DONATIONS There’s never a time when plain old cash doesn’t help. Whether it’s payroll deductions, major gifts, or legacy giving, money allows the United Way’s partner organizations to operate smoothly, plan for future initiatives, and keep providing uninterrupted services to those who need them most.
HEART Change starts with a change of heart. Every employee and volunteer with the United Way puts their heart and soul into their work, enriching the community with all they do.
BOOKS One of the United Way’s initiatives, Success by 6, collects books to donate to babies, toddlers and preschoolers in need.
CLOTHING AND HOUSEHOLD ITEMS Many of the United Way’s community partners collect clothing, household items, and children’s toys, which go towards helping people in need set up new homes, find new jobs, and help their children adjust to new living situations.
Whether you help out as an Employee Campaign Chair for your own workplace, as a volunteer on one of the United Way’s committees, or a volunteer with one of the community partners, your time is valued.
The United Way was founded in Denver, Colorado by a priest, a philanthropist, two ministers and a rabbi
The United Way, known as the Community Chest, reaches Montreal and Toronto
The Community Chest, is founded in Victoria, on View St.
A National office was founded across Canada to connect independent organizations
Over 1,000 cities and towns had established United Way organizations
Victoria’s single day Porch Light Campaign is a success meeting their goal of $161,384
Internationally the United Way breaks a record with over $1 billion raised annually
The United Way of Greater Victoria celebrates its 75th anniversary
A LONG HISTORY OF HELP
The United Way’s past helps shape its future
THE STORY OF THE FOUNDING OF THE United Way starts like a joke your grandfather might tell: In 1887, a priest, a philanthropist, two ministers, and a rabbi came together to solve a welfare problem in Denver. But that eclectic first group was no joke. They laid the foundation for what would become the largest community funded non-profit charity in the world. Together, the four men and one woman led a single fundraising campaign that year, raising $21,700 (over $500,000 today) for 22 agencies in the Denver area. Founded as the Charity Organizations Society, the group also established the United Way framework, that 125 years later still unites people in need with their communities. Recognizing that charities have a greater impact if they work together to raise and distribute funds, many other communities soon organized their own “united” campaigns. Over the next 10 years, hundreds of related organizations popped up all over the United States. By 1917, the United Way (known then as the Community Chest) reached Montreal and Toronto, and in 1937, community members in Victoria founded their own Community Chest, with the original office located on View Street, where the Bay Center is now located.
OPERATIONAL COSTS LOWEST AMONG CHARITIES A national office was founded in 1939 to connect all the independent organizations across Canada and provide them with a range of helpful services, such as leadership training and education opportunities. Each community group remained autonomous, however, and contributions continued to stay within the communities. This structure of national unity with a local focus has played a large part in keeping United Way’s cost of fundraising at 15 per cent, among the lowest of any nonprofit, a fact that remains to this day. By 1948, internationally over 1,000 cities and towns had established United Way organizations. In Victoria, the
organization’s popularity continued to rise, with more and more community members contributing.
PORCH LIGHT CAMPAIGN WAS GROUNDBREAKING During the 1950s, Victorians gave an amazing $2,068,430 (roughly $16,649,747 today) to those in need. One Victoria campaign was a landmark. On October 2nd, 1950 the United Way of Greater Victoria launched an innovative single day campaign known as the Porch Light Campaign. Working with the local media and the city and building anticipation for weeks, the campaign saw all the lights in the city turned off except the porchlights of those citizens willing to IN THE 1950s, VICTORIA make a donation. At 7 pm, RESIDENTS GAVE THE some 2,000 volunteers EQUIVALENT OF MORE then began going doorTHAN $16 MILLION IN to-door wherever a TODAY’S DOLLARS light was on. The entire campaign goal of more than $160,000 was raised in just one night. The “leave your light on” approach was replicated in communities across Canada in the following years. Internationally, the United Way went on to break records. In 1974, it collectively raised over $1 billion — the largest amount ever raised by an annual campaign for a single nonprofit organization. Currently, 1,800 independent United Way organizations operate in 45 countries around the world. In Victoria this year, funding has helped 69 community partners deliver 132 services and programs to the city’s most vulnerable people. Last year the annual campaign raised $5.9 million, but fell $400,000 short of the overall goal. As Linda Hughes, the CEO of the United Way of Greater Victoria, explains, “The trend across the country is that donations are a bit flat. As the needs get greater, we can’t stay still.” YOUR WAY
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The publication of “Your Way” was made fully possible by support from Boulevard Lifestyles Inc. and from the following individuals and companies. No United Way program funding was used to produce this magazine.
Island Savings is a financial institution known for creating remarkable experiences and connecting with communities. As a Top 50 Best Employer in Canada, our neighbourhood experts offer financial, insurance and investment advice and products to over 58,000 Islanders. In 2011 we received the top award for Corporate Responsibility from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Canadian Association of Gift Planners. The award, which recognizes “organizations in the community that are making a difference in the lives of others by changing the world with a giving heart,” honours our dedication to developing the communities in which we do business. Island Savings has supported a number of United Way agencies in our trade areas through sponsorship, in-kind services, Board membership and staff payroll deductions. Since 2008, Island Savings employees have contributed almost $60,000 from their own pockets in support of the United Way and their commitment to helping others.
David Schneider, Senior Vice President and Senior Investment Advisor for National Bank Financial, is thrilled to be part of this publication, to not only share his passion for serving the community but to support the efforts of the United Way. Schneider has been volunteering in various sectors including education, culture, health, and youth for the past 18 years in Victoria. Schneider speaks to his clients about their philanthropic goals and helps to connect them with the causes they care about. He himself helps organizations in a variety of ways: chairing committees, advising on endowments, influencing investment policies, and helping charities with good financial management practices. He regularly sends articles and research on philanthropic trends to his network, hoping to educate and inspire giving. “My ability to make connections and work both within and alongside the charitable sector has been a very fulfilling experience for me, and I value our non-profit sector for its contribution to our community,” says Schneider. “This is my way of giving back and supporting Victoria.”
Victoria Harbour Ferry
University of Victoria
Victoria Harbour Ferry Co. Ltd. has made community support a focus of their operations since their inception and have supported the United Way for over 22 years. Every year the company reaches out to the community with donations to over 100 local charitable organizations. “We are committed to maintaining community support, and support for future United Way Campaigns is a top priority,” said Barry Hobbis, Vice President of Operations for Victoria Harbour Ferry Co. Ltd. Victoria Harbour Ferry Co. Ltd. was founded in 1990 with just two ferryboats. Today the company owns and operates a fleet of 14 small 12-passenger ferries and two 40-passenger vessels. Its H2O Taxi service provides direct point-to-point service between 17 stops around the harbour. Victoria Harbour Ferry also runs the popular Harbour and Gorge waterway tours. Over the years the ferry service has transported more than 2.5 million passengers and has become Victoria’s number one tourist attraction.
Investing in the communities they operate in has always been a priority for CIBC. Through innovative programs that make banking easier for their clients — from their mobile banks that brought banking to clients in remote locations in previous years to their first of its kind in Canada telephone banking and mobile brokerage — CIBC has demonstrated that interest in meeting community needs. CIBC is committed to supporting causes that matter to their clients, their employees and their communities. Beyond offering innovative banking services and being ranked as the strongest bank in North America by Bloomberg Markets magazine, CIBC is one of Canada’s largest corporate donors. CIBC’s partnership with the United Way is the cornerstone of this commitment to supporting their communities. Last year, CIBC raised $8.6 million for the United Way across the country, including United Ways across British Columbia.
Ranked among the world’s top universities by Times Higher Education, the University of Victoria is one of our region’s defining organizations. UVic uses its strong sense of community to encourage its 20,000 students to engage with communities throughout Greater Victoria. UVic is committed to developing skills and community capacity by forging strong community partnerships related to research and professional development across a range of areas, including the United Way’s impact areas. “Partnering with the United Way is a natural fit for the University of Victoria,” says Mary Ellen Purkis, Dean of the Faculty of Human & Social Development and United Way Board member since 2011. Since 2005, UVic faculty, staff, and students have raised over $2 million through individual pledges, payroll deductions, and campus-wide fundraising events. UVic’s support for the United Way’s 75th anniversary is another example of the close and longstanding relationship between the two organizations. In the fall, when UVic celebrates its own milestone — the university’s 50th anniversary — the university will also kick off its 2012 United Way campaign.
Viking Air Limited
Since 1970, Viking has grown to become a dynamic aerospace company, servicing a global customer base with over 450 employees at its Victoria head office location and another 100 at its aircraft assembly facility at Calgary International Airport. In 2007, Viking launched new production the DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 program, putting the versatile Twin Otter back into production with over 20 aircraft delivered worldwide and a production backlog extending into 2015. Viking has established itself as world class aerospace manufacturer. Along with David Curtis, Viking’s President & CEO, Viking’s employees are passionate about their community and started an internal campaign in 2006 to raise money for the United Way of Greater Victoria through payroll deductions. Staff members hold popular United Way Campaign kick off and closing celebration parties, illustrating how charitable giving has become part of the work culture of Viking.
Patricia and Ken Mariash are the owners of Focus Equities, which includes Bayview Place in Victoria. Founded over 35 years ago, Focus Equities has developed over 15 million square feet of commercial and residential space across North America. Bayview Place is a 20acre, hilltop, ocean-view, masterplanned community in Songhees. The community will include condo buildings with spectacular views, as well as a revitalized Roundhouse. The heritage Canadian Pacific Railway structure will be reimagined into a hub of shopping, dining, and culture. The Mariashs always strive to leave a community better than they found it and believe charitable giving has the power to do just that. “We have seen the good work of the United Way in every city we have worked in,” says Patricia, and so they always make a point of giving to the organization. In Victoria, Ken is pleased that the United Way can transcend the many different municipalities and jurisdictions of the region, supporting Southern Vancouver Island as a whole.
KPMG provides audit, tax, and advisory services to organizations across Vancouver Island. With locations in more than 30 cities across Canada, they are actively connected to their communities. KPMG’s well-defined values create a shared culture across the organization. “The issues that impact our communities are the same issues that impact our people and their families, our clients, and our operations,” says Gordon Gunn, Advisory Partner and Community Leader for KPMG in Victoria, pictured above. “Commitment to our communities is a cornerstone of our culture. KPMG employees strive to act as responsible citizens by sharing their skills and experience through their work in the community.” KPMG Victoria is a corporate leader in community involvement. Employees are strong supporters of the United Way, donating well over $250,000 since 1994. Partners and staff are actively involved as volunteers and board members in numerous organizations supported by the United Way. KPMG supports the community involvement of its team members through dedicated time for volunteering, and recognizes individual contributions through KPMG’s national Community Leader Awards.
INVEST IN YOUR COMMUNITY PLEASE GIVE TO THE UNITED WAY If this United Way publication was delivered to your door in Greater Victoria, you are likely among the more fortunate and successful of this region’s residents. You are apt to live in a home that is considered one of the top 25 per cent of homes by value in the region. Your neighborhood is likely one of the more affluent and desirable, with safe streets and congenial neighbours. No doubt, you have worked hard to get where you are in one of the most beautiful, hospitable, and wealthy regions of the country. Well done. But perhaps, there have been times in your life where someone helped you, gave you a leg up or assisted you through a rough patch — and you know what a difference that help made. Perhaps you’ve had a time in your life where you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from, or whether you would be able make your rent, or whether you would have a job or a place to lay your head. If you have felt at times feelings of instability and fear, you know how many of the people in Greater Victoria feel right now. These are the people being served by the United Way through 132 programs delivered by 69 partners. We hope the stories of programs and individuals in these pages have informed you about the work of the United Way. We hope it has inspired you to give. It seems every way one turns these days, there is a charity asking for money or someone standing with his or her hand stretched out. It can feel
overwhelming and endless. But the concept of uniting donations for greater community impact, founded more than 120 years ago and brought to Victoria 75 years ago, still works today. By giving to the United Way, you are giving to a huge array of effective and viable community charities that are bringing real change and needed services in the region. You are doing so at one of the lowest fundraising costs in Canada. The dollars you give are not going to support telephone solicitation that disturbs your dinner or evening repose. They are not going to support some top heavy administration. The vast majority — some 85 per cent — is going directly to community work and non-profit organizations that are helping to create the prosperous and stable Victoria that we love and call home. So if you are a regular annual donor to the United Way, thank you for your support. The United Way cannot do it without you. The success of the programs and the impact they had on the lives detailed here are in part because you took the time and care to give. If for some reason you are no longer giving, or perhaps have never given to the United Way, perhaps right now you could stop, take out your cheque book or pick up the phone and add your support, at whatever level you can, to the United Way. Cheques can be mailed to the address below or calls can be made to 250-385-6708. We thank you in advance for your support.
UNITED WAY BOARD OF DIRECTORS The 12-member, all volunteer board of the United Way is elected or appointed at the organization’s June Annual General Meeting. The board’s makeup, by and large, reflects the key partner organizations in the community. Each board member can serve two three-year terms. The 2012 board members are: CHAIR Peter Lockie, Vice President Administration and Chief Financial Officer Camosun College VICE CHAIR Bob Lapham, General Manager Planning & Protective Services Capital Regional District TREASURER Behram Dadachanji, Director, Internal Audit, University of Victoria
MEMBERS AT LARGE Captain (Navy) J.R. (Bob) Auchterlonie, Base Commander CFB Esquimalt Dean Lawton, Lawyer Carfra & Lawton Law Corporation Ann Moskow, Director TransformAction Consulting Joe Murphy, Vice President Operations and Support Services Vancouver Island Health Authority Karen Porter, Electrician, BC Hydro
Rupinder Prihar, Chair UnitedNOW! Youth Council Mary Ellen Purkis, Dean Faculty of Human & Social Development University of Victoria Cindy Robertson, Director Human Resources Pension Corporation Ivan Watson, Marketing and Communications Officer, University of Victoria
CAMPAIGN CABINET Each year, the United Way’s annual community campaign is led by a team of dedicated volunteers from all sectors of the community. This year’s Campaign Cabinet is 22 members strong, and the chair is John Guthrie, Regional Director, Western Canada, CIBC.
1144 Fort St., Victoria, BC V8V 3K8 • 250 385-6708 • UWGV.CA
This collage of images comes from photo shoots taken during the production of this special United Way of Greater Victoria 75th anniversary publication. You can read about these community members and programs inside.
1144 Fort St., Victoria, BC V8V 3K8 â€˘ 250 385-6708 â€˘ UWGV.CA