2015 Year in Review

by Tracy Green on December 29, 2015 Comments Off on 2015 Year in Review

As 2015 comes to a close, we couldn’t be more grateful for the incredible support from individuals, organizations and communities across the Lower Mainland. Together, we’ve helped move families from poverty to possibility, we’ve inspired kids to be all they can be and we’ve helped build strong communities for all. Here’s a round up of some of the most memorable tweets and posts from 2015. January 2015: Poverty statistics released by Statistics Canada in December 2014 showed that once again B.C. has one of the highest poverty rates in Canada.  One in ten British Columbians live in poverty, meaning 469,000 people are struggling to make ends meet. United Way continues to advocate to help move families from poverty to possibility. https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/553597488175652864/photo/1   February 2015: When people care our community grows stronger. The Scotiabank & United Way Community Spirit Awards honours organizations and individuals dedicated to making a difference. In 2014 we honoured hundreds of volunteers and their organizations from across the Lower Mainland for their contributions of time and money to help fund local programs and services. If you are interested in attending our 2016 Community Spirit Awards Dinner, click here. https://twitter.com/NiraArora/status/570799857624985601 https://twitter.com/CorNaylor/status/573596294540697600   March 2015: Together, we joined forces with 100+ organizations, companies and municipalities to say “Yes to transit” and a more sustainable region that focuses on the transportation needs of families and seniors. https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/578631794683092992/photo/1   April 2015: In April 2015 United Way launched the next phase of a bold early childhood initiative in the Coquitlam River neighbourhood. United Way Avenues of Change focuses on early years development and getting kids school ready so they can have the best start in life. The United Way Avenues of Change program was launched in the Surrey-Guildford community in October 2015. https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/583325889120731136   May 2015: A report released in April 2015 by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows Vancouver’s living wage has jumped to $20.68 per hour in 2015. The BC Seniors Housing Report released in May showed that half of BC seniors live on less than $24,000 per year. Through your support, United Way helps build strong communities for all. https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/596822773277700096/photo/1   June 2015: Each year United Way’s Public Policy Institute brings together 25 leaders from the BC non-profit sector whose organizations want to better understand and influence the public policy process. https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/614599438640787456 This past June, our friends at UPS pulled together with dozens of teams to raise funds at the 2nd Annual Plane Pull for United Way. The event raised over $36,000 for local programs and services! https://twitter.com/yvrairport/status/607291148923633664   July 2015: The United Way Campaign Cabinet is a dedicated group of business and community leaders that volunteer their time and expertise to lead our Annual Campaign each year. Our community is stronger because of the hard work of our Campaign CabinetBoard of Directors, Employee Campaign Chairs and all those that contribute to United Way of the Lower Mainland! https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/619286183021969408   August 2015: Who says building community is nothing but hard work? United Way supported agency Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre held their annual Soapbox Derby Race in August and we had a blast! https://twitter.com/VancouverPD/status/636229669633658880 The big storm of 2015 really showed us the strength of community and what type of big hearts live in the Lower Mainland. https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/638493681968787457   September 2015: Labour Day was a day to celebrate the difference unions make in our lives and in our community. https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/639851778016591872 Each September United Way volunteers descend on downtown Vancouver to learn, share and get revved up at our annual campaign training event! This year we started the campaign season off with a boom! https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/645039699644420096   October 2015: National Seniors Day was a day to recognize the many seniors in our lives and that for the first time ever, there are more seniors than children living in Canada! United Way helps seniors live independently through our Better at Home program. https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/649619954984206337   November 2015: Could you live on $1600 per month in Vancouver? Many hardworking families and seniors struggle to make ends meet in the Lower Mainland. In November, we asked people to challenge their perspectives on poverty and try to Make the Month. https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/661266484103024641   December 2015: In order for a community to be great, it has to be great for everyone. In 2015, UWLM invested $2.5 million into programs and services for refugee and immigrant families in the Lower Mainland. We fund agencies that help refugees find a home, learn a new language and culture, and offer long-term support for things like education and employment. To continue this commitment and welcome refugees into our community, United Way launched the United for Refugees campaign to raise additional funds to support Syrian refugees arriving in the Lower Mainland. https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/675108039633084417 And in a true show of holiday spirit, students from Byrne Creek Secondary School put on their best elf hats and volunteered to wrap presents to raise funds for United Way. https://twitter.com/RobsonStreet/status/679774764752355328 Community is one of our greatest gifts, thanks for giving generously this year! Together, #WeArePossibility.             

Tracy Green2015 Year in Review

United Way builds on Community Schools Partnership with LMOST

by Tracy Green on December 23, 2015 Comments Off on United Way builds on Community Schools Partnership with LMOST

Sometimes it’s tough to be a kid, especially when your parent’s are struggling to make ends meet. They can be too busy working or too tired to take care of you. In some Lower Mainland neighbourhoods, and especially in single parent households, up to 50% of kids live in low-income situations. This affects their health and ability to take part in quality after school care and programming. And out of school hours are a critical time in a child’s life. Kids who spend three or more hours alone a day show an increased risk of drug and alcohol use, higher stress, anger, depression and behaviour problems, lower self-esteem and lower academic achievement. United Way plays a leading role in our community when it comes to nurturing at-risk children at school, at home and the times in between. That is why we are proud to be the major funder of the LMOST Alliance (Lower Mainland Out-of-School Time Alliance) – www.lmost.org – an initiative that works to promote awareness and importance of quality out of school time programs across the Lower Mainland. Quality after school programs do more than just provide children with a safe place to go. Children are able to experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence and skills for life. United Way has worked for more than a decade to identify the issues and challenges facing kids in middle childhood. We have invested in advocacy for children of this age and built partnerships to help us address the needs of children and the communities in which they live. We also work to strengthen and expand existing community services aimed at this age group. Long term positive social change for children in their middle years is occurring across the Lower Mainland thanks to United Way’s dedicated vision to help children in this age group. The LMOST Alliance grew out of United Way’s Community Schools Partnership and includes Burnaby, Delta, New Westminster, Surrey, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver School Districts and the Ministry of Education. Having established the Community Schools Partnership and solidified our relationship with School Districts and the province of British Columbia, we are now strengthening and expanding existing community services aimed at this age group through the LMOST Alliance. The Alliance is led by long-time friend to kids and United Way alike, Dan Marriott. Dan is a former Principal at Hastings Elementary School and United Way Excellence in Action for Middle Childhood in 2009. In addition, Dan served as the Vancouver School Board’s Community School Teams Coordinator leading the City’s development of new community school hubs.

Tracy GreenUnited Way builds on Community Schools Partnership with LMOST

That’s a wrap! Students raise funds for United Way

by JenniferY on December 21, 2015 Comments Off on That’s a wrap! Students raise funds for United Way

                                     A group of students from Burnaby’s Byrne Creek  Secondary school will be wrapping presents to raise funds for United Way.

They will be wrapping gifts at 1121 Robson Street (in front of The Gap) in downtown Vancouver from Tuesday, December 22 to Thursday, December 24, from noon to 6 pm. When asked why they were doing this, they came up with this message together:

The holiday season is meant for giving, and expressing our gratitude as we gather around with friends and family. As students of Byrne Creek Community School, we want to raise awareness and dedicate our service to United Way, who provide support to children, seniors and entire families. It all begins with us. We gather as a community, to help the community!

If you’re downtown, say hello to these community -minded students and get your presents wrapped! wrapping up holiday cheer... wrapping up holiday cheer...wrapping up holiday cheer...

JenniferYThat’s a wrap! Students raise funds for United Way

Big personalities, big hearts: thank you Campaign Associates!

by JenniferY on December 18, 2015 Comments Off on Big personalities, big hearts: thank you Campaign Associates!

Today is graduation day for 38 individuals with big personalities and big hearts. Every year, local companies, organizations and unions generously sponsor or loan individuals to help United Way raise millions of dollars to help those most in need. These individuals are called Campaign Associates. Campaign Associates have a huge impact.  Individually, each Campaign Associate raises up to $500,000 during their time at United Way. When they leave, not only do they take $15,000 worth of training back to their workplaces, now those skills are worth credit at BCIT’s Associate Certificate of Fundraising Management. Special thanks go to United Way’s supporting sponsors, The Province Newspaper for providing ongoing advertising space,  BCIT for supplying free training facilities for the Campaign Associates, and BCAA for providing an electric car for use by the Campaign Associates. Thanks also to Spectra Energy for sponsoring a souvenir yearbook for the associates. Organizations and unions who sponsored or loaned individuals are:

  • ABC Recycling Ltd.
  • Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada
  • BCGEU Local 704
  • Boyden Vancouver
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • Canada Revenue Agency – Vancouver Tax Services Offices
  • CIBC
  • City of Burnaby
  • City of Surrey
  • City of Vancouver
  • Corporation of Delta
  • CUPE Local 1004
  • CUPE Local 23
  • CUPE Local 402
  • CUPE Local 454
  • Deloitte
  • Goldcorp Inc.
  • HSBC Bank Canada
  • ICBC
  • IBEW Local 258
  • KPMG
  • Kwantlen Faculty Association – FPSE Local 5
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Langara College
  • Morneau Shepell
  • Public Works & Government Services Canada
  • PwC
  • Rasul Family
  • RBC
  • Service Canada
  • Sierra Wireless Inc.
  • Simon Fraser University
  • TD Bank Group
  • The University of British Columbia
  • Translink
  • Vancity
  • YMCA of Greater Vancouver

  Find out more about the Campaign Associate program.

JenniferYBig personalities, big hearts: thank you Campaign Associates!

Richmond Community profile published

by JenniferY on December 15, 2015 Comments Off on Richmond Community profile published

RICHMOND, BC_APRIL 8_2015: Families from all ethnic backgrounds partake in dinner and children's play time at the Ricmond Family Place on Wednesday evenings. The United Way contributes to the ongoing success of this family resource centre. (Photo by Kim Stallknecht) A comprehensive report published today by United Way of the Lower Mainland breaks down population, economic and social statistics in 14 Richmond neighbourhoods. Data is compared to Burnaby, Surrey, Vancouver, and Metro Vancouver in the report. United Way’s Richmond Community Profile shows that Richmond’s population has grown by 50% over the past two decades growing from 126,624 in 1991 to the 2011 population of 190,473. In Richmond, 60% of residents were born outside of Canada. In 2014/15, 27.8% of students in the Richmond School District with English language learners. United Way invests $1.12 million in Richmond funding 41 agencies that deliver services to Richmond residents and 50 programs. Programs and services supported by United Way include early childhood development, after-school programs, senior support, refugee support, and food security. “This kind of research ensures that we are making smart community investments,” says Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “It also helps us plan for the future and develop initiatives with our partners at a neighbourhood level as this diverse city continues to grow and flourish.” “We are committed to sustaining the high quality of living and economic opportunity as our city continues to evolve and grow,” says Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “We are proud to have collaborated on this important community resource and take great pride in our ongoing support of United Way of the Lower Mainland.” Over the years, the City of Richmond and its employees represented by CUPE Local 718 and CUPE Local 394 have raised over $1 million for their community through United Way. Read the report here. This is the second Community Profile published this fall.

JenniferYRichmond Community profile published

Syrian refugees: Start your own fundraiser

by JenniferY on December 11, 2015 Comments Off on Syrian refugees: Start your own fundraiser

United for Refugees photo credit: European Commission DG ECHO While getting together with friends and family is reason enough to celebrate, you can add a heartwarming purpose: help our newly arriving Syrian refugees get a great start in their new home. United Way of the Lower Mainland has launched an urgent fundraising appeal to help the Syrian refugees who are now starting to arrive in Canada and in the Lower Mainland. Our goal is $500,000 to help these children and families settle here in our community. United Way has a long history of helping refugee families integrate into life in the Lower Mainland. In 2015, UWLM invested $2.5 million into programs and services for refugee and immigrant families in the Lower Mainland. You can organize your own fundraising initiative. We’ve set up a toolkit so that you can start your own fundraiser. That way you can register your campaign and we will manage it for you. Here are a set of tools so that you can start your own fundraiser: https://www.uwlm.ca/get-involved/p2ptoolkit/ These are a few ideas on how you can inspire your friends, family and colleagues to donate to United for Refugees:

  • host a dinner or holiday party
  • organize a sporting event or personal race
  • donate your birthday and instead of accepting gifts, collect donations.

  Let others know about what you are doing! Please share on social media: www.uwlm.ca/share-united-for-refugees “We join all British Columbians in welcoming Syrian children and families to the place we are so proud to call home,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “Together, we can help them begin the next chapter of their lives in Canada, become accustomed to a new language and culture, and ensure the most vulnerable among them, the children, get the best start possible.” The newly launched United for Refugees campaign has already raised $45,000 to help these new citizens. Here in B.C., United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo has also launched a special fundraising appeal to build capacity to support refugees. Right across the country, United Ways Centraides are stepping up to provide support and facilitate coordinated efforts at the local level. United Way Centraide is one of a group of Canadian unions, businesses, community and faith groups, who have signed a joint statement to welcome Syrian refugees to Canada and to commit to playing a role in supporting their resettlement. Dr. Jacline Nyman, President and CEO of the United Way’s joins other community leaders like Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, and the Right Reverend Jordan Cantwell, United Church of Canada, in this initiative. Together, we are United for Refugees.

JenniferYSyrian refugees: Start your own fundraiser

Everyday heroes: recognizing front-line social service workers

by JenniferY on December 8, 2015 Comments Off on Everyday heroes: recognizing front-line social service workers
United Way Bhayana Family Award

Left to right: Jeff Calbick, VP of Community Impact & Investment, United Way of the Lower Mainland; Hala Kapani, Family Support Worker, Richmond Family Place; Muoi Ly, Cook, Vancouver Second Mile Society; Linda Minamimaye, Director of Operations, Gordon Neighbourhood House; and Raksha Manaktala Bhayana, CEO of the Bhayana Family Foundation.

For 15 years, Muoi Ly has brightened the lives of Downtown Eastside seniors cooking at the Downtown Eastside Seniors Centre. Her smile and attention to detail make seniors feel welcome at the Centre everyday. In 1980, Linda Minamimaya started as a volunteer with the Youth Search Program at the Association of Neighbourhood Houses. Now 35 years later, she is the longest serving employee at the Association and is the Director of Operations at Gordon Neighbourhood House. Through her undeniable commitment and dedication, she has build everlasting relationships with community members, local organizations, and colleagues alike. These are the kinds of exceptional individuals who work on the frontlines of United Way-funded agencies and who were recognized at the Bhayana Family Foundation and United Way Community Partners Awards. The Bhayana Family Foundation Awards is a partnership between United Way and the Bhayana family to recognize extraordinary contributions made by workers at United Way funded agencies. The individuals are nominated by their peers. Bhayana Dedication Awards – Recognizes individuals who demonstrate dedication to their organization’s mission and values.

  • Hala Kapani, Family Support Worker, Bridging Program, Richmond Family Place
  • Muoi Ly, Cook, Vancouver Second Mile Society
  • Linda Minamimaye, Director of Operations, Gordon Neighbourhood House

  Bhayana Leadership Awards – Recognizes an individual who demonstrates exemplary leadership capabilities and who consistently achieves superior team-based results.

  • Wes Everaars, Director of Development, Lookout Emergency Aid Society
  • Eva Aboud, Outreach and Food Security Coordinator, Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House
  • Tahzeem Kassam, Chief Operating Officer, DIVERSEcity

  Bhayana Innovation Awards – Recognizes an employee who introduces ideas, services or practices in new and imaginative ways, contributing innovative solutions to the agency’s operations or services.

  • Claudine Matlo, Seniors Programs Coordinator, Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House
  • Bella Cenezero, Program Director, Parent Support Services Society of BC

  In addition to the Bhayana Family Foundation Awards, United Way presented a number of Community Partner Awards to agencies that open their doors for donor tours and volunteer engagement events, as well as to individual guest speakers. United Way Community Partner Award winners

  • Angela Flumerfelt, Friends of Simon
  • Rekha Naik, Richmond Family Place
  • CityReach Care Society
  • Family Services of Greater Vancouver
  • United Way Avenues of Change Coquitlam River
  • United Way Avenues of Change Guildford West

  “These awards celebrate the kind of people who are driven by ideals, passion and values, and I congratulate all of them,” said Raksha Manaktala Bhayana, CEO of the Bhayana Family Foundation. “They do what others have described as ‘turning the impossible into the inevitable.’ They take more risks than we can imagine and really do go above and beyond the call of duty on more days that we can count.” “None of the work we do in the community would be possible without the hard work, dedication and passion of the people who work at the social service agencies that United Way funds,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. The awards were presented at New Westminster’s Anvil Centre.  

JenniferYEveryday heroes: recognizing front-line social service workers

Solidarity, not charity: honouring social activism

by JenniferY on December 4, 2015 Comments Off on Solidarity, not charity: honouring social activism

United Way Labour Appreciation Night Sponsored by Pacific Blue Cross “What we do together is not charity, it’s solidarity. Every person deserves a decent life,” said Jim Sinclair, one of three Lower Mainland Labour leaders and activists honoured last night for their outstanding community service at the 22nd Annual Labour Appreciation Night. The event was hosted by United Way of the Lower Mainland, the Vancouver and District and Labour Council and the New Westminster and District Labour Council. Pacific Blue Cross, B.C.’s only unionized benefits provider with employees represented by CUPE Local 1816, presented the event. The 2015 Community Service Awards were given to: • The Vancouver and District Labour Council Syd Thompson Community Service Award: Jim Sinclair. Jim Sinclair walked his first picket line at the age of 17. Throughout his Labour career, he has held several high-profile positions including President of BC Federation of Labour and Vice President of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union-Unifor. Jim was a founding member of and volunteer at Tools for Peace, and was a volunteer board member at the Vancouver and Richmond Health Authority. He is currently working with Canadian veterans’ organizations and is involved in farmworkers’ issues including the Golden Tree project in Abbotsford, BC. • The New Westminster and District Labour Council’s Labour Community Service Award: Darrell Causey. Twenty years ago, Darrell Causey witnessed employees being mistreated and subjected to unfair processes in his workplace. It was then he started volunteering for union-sponsored community events. He’s a tireless volunteer, often the first to arrive at an event and the last to leave. He has been a shop steward, Vice-President of the Executive Board and now Business Agent for United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW) 1518. His other volunteer roles include Protein for People, and Board Director of the Leukemia Research Fund of Canada (now Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada). • United Way of the Lower Mainland’s Joe Morris Labour Community Service Award: Debra Elless. Ever since she first volunteered as a summer day camp instructor when she was a teen, Debra Elless has been passionate about social activism. From conducting clothing drives for the Downtown Eastside’s Powell Place Shelter, to volunteering at the Lower Mainland Food Bank, she is the change she wants to see. Of her many volunteer experiences, she is most proud of working on Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s annual United Way campaign where she helped increase the annual donations from $2,000 in 2007 to $25,000 in 2012. She is Vice-President of Unifor Local 4275; and is a United Way Campaign Cabinet Labour Committee Member; Vancouver and District Labour Council Delegate; and Unifor Local 4275 Women’s Committee Co-Chair. Just over 300 people attended the event held at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown. Read the full press release here. View our photo album of the event here. Here’s what people are saying on twitter via #LabourUnited : https://twitter.com/CupeLocal402/status/672605586677075969 https://twitter.com/bersonphoto/status/672626420208701440 https://twitter.com/stephenwebster/status/672628942394687488 https://twitter.com/amancheema604/status/672631710027153408 https://twitter.com/UWLM/status/672925346530992128 https://twitter.com/NicolaHill_UWLM/status/672613729125597184 https://twitter.com/UWLM_Campaign/status/672594923871309824 https://twitter.com/kathycorrigan/status/672619136086704128

JenniferYSolidarity, not charity: honouring social activism

Setting the pace to community success

by Tracy Green on December 1, 2015 Comments Off on Setting the pace to community success

Thank you United Way Pacesetters How do you inspire change? You lead by example. United Way Pacesetters set a standard for leadership and community support by making an early commitment to United Way. Their generosity is helping bring lasting, positive change to the lives of children, families and seniors living right here in the Lower Mainland. Together we are helping to create a world of endless possibilities for everyone. Over 80 organizations have committed to an early gift this year to United Way. United Way Pacesetters set the standard for leadership and community support. Their early commitment serves as an example that others follow during United Way’s annual fundraising campaign. It sets the pace to community success. With the support of organizations like our United Way Pacesetters and individual donors, United Way moves families from poverty to possibility, helps kids be all that they can be, and builds stronger communities for seniors. Thank you 2015 United Way Pacesetters! Together, we are possibility.  

Tracy GreenSetting the pace to community success