United Way celebrates impact of 2017-18 campaign
Boler Mountain, ON – United Way Elgin Middlesex celebrated a community full of opportunity
at its first ever Impact Celebration on April 24 from 4:30–6:30 p.m. at Boler Mountain
Chalet. The organization achieved the impact goals it announced last fall, thanks
to the efforts of donors, volunteers and supporters of this year's annual campaign.
Guests also received an update on London for All, the United Way-led initiative
to end poverty in a generation, and heard from Tim Button, a participant in the
Ontario basic income pilot project.
"We live in a world that equally distributes talent," said Kelly Ziegner, CEO, United
Way Elgin Middlesex. "But we can't say the same for opportunity."
That's why United Way announced different goals last September, all focused on giving
more people the opportunity to build a better life, right here at home. "This kind
of impact isn't about a line on a thermometer," Ziegner continued. "It's about changing
lives, one person at a time."
United Way brought together donor dollars, volunteers and partner agencies to achieve:
- Goal 1: 16,000 counselling sessions to help 5,000 individuals move toward
- Issue – 1 in 5 of us will experience mental illness at some point in our
- Impact – United Way invests almost $1 million in subsidized mental health
counselling. Here's what some of that money did: Last year, Daya Counselling Centre
and several other United Way funded mental health partners streamlined their intake
process and reduced wait times by 14 days. This means people are getting help two
- Goal 2: 10,300 spaces in after-school programs for vulnerable kids
- Issue – 76% of kids spend the majority of their 60+ hours of after-school
time watching TV, playing video games or reading. Just three hours alone puts a
child at risk.
- Impact – United Way invests more than a $1million in low-cost/no-cost after-school
programs so that more kids get the opportunity to participate in quality activities.
Evidence-based research proves that quality after-school programs work: Youth who
meet with a mentor at an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters are two times
more likely to have high academic achievement and good connections with their peers.
- Goal 3: Comprehensive funding for four community hubs that give high priority
neighbourhoods easy access to crucial social services
- Issue – 1 in 7 people in our community live in poverty, a rate that is higher
than both the provincial and national averages.
- Impact – United Way invests almost $500,000 at the Crouch, Glen Cairn, LUSO
and South London Neighbourhood Resource Centres which provide access to crucial
social services close to home. A family might come in for emergency food supplies
and then join a parenting group while their kids attend supervised story time.
- Goal 4: 325 round-trip rides to non-emergency medical and specialty appointments
for rural residents who can't drive
- Issue – While distance and limited public transit make travel harder in a
rural community, lack of transportation makes it impossible to get to essential
- Impact – United Way invests in almost $20,000 annually in transportation
services like the West Elgin Community Health Centre's Gift-a-Ride program to help
rural residents access healthcare, social services and recreation.
These goals represent four of the most pressing challenges facing Elgin and Middlesex
Counties. United Way invests in long-term solutions that tackle many more. "Giving
to United Way makes an immediate impact," Ziegner says. "Whether it's helping a
family in crisis find support when they need it most, brightening an isolated senior's
day, or providing a kid with access to the tools they need to succeed in school
and life, United Way invests in programs that build a better community for us all
- one person at a time."
In addition to being the region's largest funder of social services after government,
United Way is also a community convenor. United Way is at the helm of London for
All, a community-wide action plan to end poverty in a generation.
United Way's role is to facilitate the work of over 60 organizations and more than
160 volunteers to create long-term solutions and systems change. People with lived
experience are included as key decision-makers at every level.
Wins so far include: 710 additional child care spaces, a new geared-to-income bus
pass and establishing a living wage specific to London. United Way will provide
a full progress report to City Council on June 30.