Karen Dalton, Interim CEO

by Scott Oakley on April 29, 2016 Comments Off on Karen Dalton, Interim CEO

medium_201604290906351496410995_ceoannouncement On behalf of the United Way London & Middlesex Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Karen Dalton to the position of Interim CEO. Karen will begin transitioning into the role immediately and officially begin on Andrew Lockie’s last day as United Way CEO on May 12, 2016. A life-long Londoner, Karen’s passion for United Way and her community run deep. During more than 30 years of United Way volunteer involvement she has served as a Workplace Coordinator, Allocations volunteer, member of the Campaign Cabinet, participant on the Beginnings & Transitions Impact Council, and has most recently served eight years on our Board of Directors. Karen will resign from United Way’s Board to assume the Interim CEO position. Karen’s esteemed career in education spanned 37 years with the Thames Valley District School Board and former Middlesex County Board of Education. During that time, she provided leadership in her roles of Associate Director of Learning Support Service, Executive Superintendent of Operations Services, Superintendent of Education, Secondary Principal and Vice Principal, Program Consultant and secondary teacher. Karen was also seconded as an Education Officer with the Ministry of Education and a Public Health Educator with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. Karen is excited by this new role and looks forward to leading the organization through this transition and engaging staff, volunteers, donors and stakeholders in United Way’s work of improving lives locally. Karen has indicated that she will not be seeking the permanent CEO position but noted once this Interim role concludes, she is keen to return to her volunteer roles with United Way. The United Way London & Middlesex Board, through its Selection Committee, has engaged an external search firm. That firm is in the early stages of an executive search process to select a permanent Chief Executive Officer. On behalf of the Board, I would like to congratulate Karen on her new role with our organization, and we extend our deepest gratitude to Andrew Lockie for his exemplary leadership over the past seven years. Elizabeth Maccabe Chair, Board of Directors  

Scott OakleyKaren Dalton, Interim CEO

Day of Mourning

by Tracy Green on April 27, 2016 Comments Off on Day of Mourning

Day of Mourning Across Canada, April 28 has been designated the Day of Mourning. Every year, we recognize and remember those who have lost their lives to work-related incidents or occupational disease. The Day of Mourning is also a time to re–new our collective commitment to creating safe workplaces. This year, WorkSafeBC, the B.C. Federation of Labour, and the Business Council of British Columbia will co-host a public ceremony in Vancouver to honour the occasion on Tuesday, April 28, at the Vancouver Convention Centre at 10:30 a.m. Here is a list of other Lower Mainland events. In 2015, 182 workers lost their lives in British Columbia, and thousands more were injured or became ill. On April 28 we gather to mourn for the dead and fight for the living. Over 1,000 workers are killed across Canada every year for simply trying to make a living to support their families. The number of people killed at work each year in Canada has risen for the past 15 years. This is in contrast to almost every other OECD country where the incidence of workplace fatalities is declining. In addition to workers killed at work, there are many others where the death goes unreported if they die of a disease unrecognized as an occupational disease. The federal government passed legislation in 1991 declaring each April 28th as “A Day of Remembrance for workers killed or injured at work”. CUPE proposed and adopted the canary in a cage as the internationally recognized symbol for the Day of Mourning.  In the nineteenth century, miners would take a caged canary into the mines with them (canaries are more sensitive to airborne hazards and the absence of oxygen in the air than humans).  If the canaries were overcome, it was a sign to evacuate the mine. United Way of the Lower Mainland and the Labour movement have a strong partnership and work together to advocate for living wages and safe working conditions, among other issues. On April 28 we recognize the victims of workplace accidents and as we mourn for the dead, we continue to fight for the living.

Tracy GreenDay of Mourning

Connecting the province to help: bc211

by JenniferY on April 26, 2016 Comments Off on Connecting the province to help: bc211

text211 Thousands of programs and services will be just a click away as United Ways are collaborating to bring bc211 online services to the entire province. bc211 coverage is currently limited to the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Squamish-Lillooet and the Sunshine Coast. Over the next year, bc211 will expand its online service across the province. The expansion of the navigation service will be accomplished by partnering with United Ways in Greater Victoria, Central & Northern Vancouver Island, Thompson Nicola Cariboo, North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap, Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen, East Kootenay, Powell River & District, Northern British Columbia, and Trail and District. Citizens across the province will be able to navigate the complex network of human services quickly and easily, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week through the bc211 website which will also be optimized for mobile devices and feature live web chat capabilities. bc211 is a source British Columbians can trust when seeking information and services to deal with life’s challenges. The free service provides a gateway to community, social, non-clinical health and government services connecting people to information about for example: • Basic human needs such as housing, food banks, shelters, clothing depots • Services for children, youth and families such as childcare • Mental health and addiction services • Assistance for people with disabilities, seniors and newcomers to Canada • Employment support In 2010, United Way Lower Mainland (UWLM) launched the bc211 website, phone and text capabilities in the Lower Mainland. Since that time they have expanded the services to include Squamish-Lillooet, Sunshine Coast and the Fraser Valley Regional Districts. In the 2015/16 fiscal year, bc211 received 236,000 visits to the online resource directory and saw a 40% increase in queries from the previous year. Bc211 also answered 56,000 phone calls, over 350 text messages and made 66,000 referrals to community agencies for help. The top 3 reasons for calling bc211: housing and homelessness, substance use and violence/domestic abuse. “Collectively the United Ways of British Columbia recognize how access to information can help change lives. It is this vision and willingness to support communities across this province that has led to the provincial expansion of the Red Book Online, our resource database. bc211 is looking very forward to working in partnership with the United Ways to connect individuals and families to resources and community services throughout British Columbia,” says Sandy Biggerstaff, Manager of Operations, bc211. In order to expand the current bc211 website, a service directory database will be built to accommodate new records from across the province and the website will be optimized for mobile devices and a live web chat feature will be developed. Preparation for this work is underway and further information on the development timeline will be available in the coming months. The intent is to launch this online service in the first quarter of 2017. “Sometimes the biggest barrier to getting help is knowing where to get it,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “That’s why we helped develop bc211 and continue to be a major funder of the free 24/7 help line. Every hour of every day, people need help finding services – from finding a homeless shelter, to securing daycare for a child, to home care support for an aging parent. bc211 is a great resource to let people know they aren’t alone.” 211 across Canada United Way Centraide Canada received approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to use 211 for community, social, government and non-clinical health information in 2001. Since that time United Ways across the country have responded and the network includes: Alberta 211, New Brunswick 211 (online only), Nova Scotia 211, Nunavut 211, Quebec 211, Ontario 211, SK 211 (online only) and bc211. Currently, approximately 60% of Canadians have access to 211 and United Way Centraide Canada remains committed to bringing 211 to all Canadians. “211 is a very important project to United Way Centraide Canada and it is an exceptional tool to support vulnerable people across the country. We are thrilled to see British Columbia come on board to help us reach our goal to bring 211 to all Canadians,” says Bill Morris, National Director, 211 at United Way Centraide Canada.  

JenniferYConnecting the province to help: bc211

Welcoming our new neighbours

by Tracy Green on April 21, 2016 Comments Off on Welcoming our new neighbours

welcomelunchsmall Last weekend, United Way of the Lower Mainland welcomed our new neighbours from Syria to their new homes at four United for Refugees welcome lunches. The grassroots events were held in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey and Vancouver at community schools. Local community agencies set up information tables, volunteers staffed the lunch and activities, and new Canadians enjoyed a welcoming experience to our community. Altogether 800 people attended the lunches. The lunch was a success because of the collaboration of our community partner agencies: MOSAIC, Immigrant Services Society of B.C., SUCCESS and Pacific Immigrant Resources Society. Lunch guests went home with donated products from Lush Cosmetics, Nature’s Path (Ratana Stephens, Co-CEO & Co-Founder of Nature’s Path also serves on the United Way Board) and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In Burnaby, guests also received free leisure passes from the City of Burnaby. None of the lunches would have happened without the help of our tremendous volunteers “United Way of the Lower Mainland’s vision is a healthy, caring, inclusive community for everybody,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “We are so proud of how our community has rallied together, has opened its arms and doors and continues to welcome our new neighbours to their new home.” From November 4, 2015 to March 18, 2016, 1661 Syrian government assisted refugees have settled in B.C.

  •  Almost 1 in 4 is under the age of 6.
  • 60% are under the age of 18.*

  Over 90% are now in permanent housing in 19 different communities across BC with the highest concentration in these Lower Mainland cities:

  • Surrey – 55%
  • Coquitlam – 15%
  • Burnaby and Vancouver – 7% each
  • Delta – 6%*

  United Way of the Lower Mainland has a long history of helping refugee families settle and integrate in the Lower Mainland. In 2016, UWLM will be investing $2.8 million into programs and services to help refugees and immigrants from around the world. This includes programs designed specifically for Syrian families such as:

  • a drop-in program for Syrian refugee families through the Early Years Refugee program
  • mental health support programming including eight 5-week group sessions for Syrian adults and children delivered through DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society
  • art and play therapy groups for Syrian families with children under the age of 12 in Burnaby through MOSAIC.

  Recently, United Way launched an urgent fundraising appeal United for Refugees, to help Syrian children and families settle here in our community. To date, $175,000 has been raised and is already doing good in the community! To participate and make a donation, go to www.uwlm.ca/refugees.   Photos from United for Refugees Welcome Lunch in Vancouver: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unitedwaylowermainland/albums/72157667310717076   Photos from United for Refugees Welcome Lunch in Burnaby: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unitedwaylowermainland/sets/72157667267937361   Photos from United for Refugees Welcome Lunch in Coquitlam: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unitedwaylowermainland/albums/72157667311202436  

Tracy GreenWelcoming our new neighbours

TransLink helps make Lower Mainland more livable

by JenniferY on April 19, 2016 Comments Off on TransLink helps make Lower Mainland more livable

TransLink employees, unions and its family of companies donated more than $275,000 for United Way – thank you!

TransLink employees, unions and its family of companies raised $276,750 for the community through their 2015 campaign for United Way of the Lower Mainland. Employees from TransLink, B.C. Rapid Transit Company, Coast Mountain Bus Company, Transit Police, and union members of MoveUP (COPE local 378), CUPE 4500, CUPE 7000, Unifor 111, and Unifor 2200 contributed their time and generously donated to support United Way’s programs and services. “I am extremely proud of the commitment employees across the TransLink enterprise display to our United Way campaigns each year. We have been strong supporters of United Way for many years because they have the ability to help the people who live in the communities we serve,” said Cathy McLay, CFO and EVP, Finance and Corporate Services, Translink. “United Way works with over 150 community partners and builds strong relationships with government and social services to deliver programs, help people understand issues and create change. These are initiatives our union and members support,” added David Black, President, MoveUP (COPE local 378). Members from all unions (Cope 378, CUPE 4500, CUPE 7000, Unifor 111, Unifor 2200) participated in the campaign. Members were engaged through Unifor 2200 and Cope 378 at the Coast Mountain Bus Company garages. Unifor 111 lead a two week campaign to over 37000 Metro Vancouver Transit Operators. Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland thanked Translink and their operating companies for their ongoing and generous support. “TransLink and their unions have been strong supporters of United Way for more than 40 years. We both have a common goal: to make this region more livable, each of us in our own way. We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support. Their contributions mean United Way can help people right here in the Lower Mainland, where we all live, work, play and commute!” Photo: (Left to right) David Black (MoveUP – COPE local 378), Kathy Pereira (CMBC), Brenda Aynsley (United Way), Cathy McLay (TransLink) and Kevin Desmond (TransLink).  

JenniferYTransLink helps make Lower Mainland more livable

Helping teach change-makers to make change

by Tracy Green on April 19, 2016 Comments Off on Helping teach change-makers to make change

United Way Public Policy Institute Enthusiastic participants of the 2016 United Way Public Policy Institute (UWPPI) are half way through their semester meeting each month at UBC Robson Square. UBC Robson Square is the venue sponsor for this innovative six-month training program which equips non-profit leaders on how to influence the public policy process. United Way is grateful to be able to host the program for the 6th consecutive year at UBC Robson Square. UBC is part of an elite group of exceptional supporters known as United Way Top Contributors who each raise more than $225,000 to help United Way create possibilities for kids, families, and seniors in our community. UBC, its employees, unions, and students are passionate about supporting United Way. “We are happy to support the UWPPI for a 6th year by sponsoring the meeting space at our downtown Vancouver facility,” says Talia Rosales, UBC Robson Square’s Associate Director. “UBC’s ongoing commitment to the United Way is important and we are proud to support the learning, and the critical and relevant conversations that are taking place. “ Creating positive change lies at the heart of what United Way of the Lower Mainland stands for. With the support of generous sponsors like UBC Robson Square, United Way is helping to equip leaders in our region—and across the province—with the skills they need to create change at a fundamental level: in the realm of public policy. Faculty member Brenda Eaton led the March UWPPI session. Brenda, having served in a number of senior positions in the BC Government including Deputy Minister to the Premier and prior to that as Deputy Minister of Finance, presented on developing and analyzing policy options. Her considerable frontline experience powered her session that explored such topics as what elements make for an effective policy proposal and decision making in government. Following Brenda’s presentation, participants tried their hand at ‘speed dating’. Each participant had a minute to pitch their policy idea to colleagues. It was a fun introduction to practicing and learning how to perfect their own pitch. The 2016 UWPPI session will continue through June and conclude with participants presenting their final policy pitch to faculty and colleagues. Thank you to UBC Robson Square for enabling change-makers across the province to take part in this opportunity. United Way Public Policy Institute United Way Public Policy Institute

Tracy GreenHelping teach change-makers to make change

Volunteer work speaks volumes

by Tracy Green on April 13, 2016 Comments Off on Volunteer work speaks volumes

Labour Day of Caring Happy National Volunteer Week! Volunteers are at the heart of healthy and resilient communities across the Lower Mainland because volunteers are the heart of United Way. None of the work we do would be possible without our volunteers. Last year over 5,000 volunteers gave something of themselves in support of United Way. YOU are the people that drive this United Way movement. And because of you, every single dollar goes further to help more children, families and seniors in need. Thank you! One day at a time, one project at a time, volunteers are actively making a direct difference across the Lower Mainland through The Vancouver Sun Day of Caring program. This program brings United Way’s funded agency partners together with United Way donors to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities. Teams of employees get up close and personal learning more about their community and resources available to people in need. They also have fun doing it! Last year over 80 projects that included painting, landscaping, serving meals to seniors, and supporting kids and staff at local daycares at a United Way funded agency were completed by teams of employees from across the Lower Mainland. Day of Caring is sponsored by the Vancouver Sun. “The Vancouver Sun is proud to be a longtime supporter of the United Way through our employees and corporate sponsorship. As title sponsor of this year’s Day of Caring, we are honoured to play a part in providing meaningful and practical volunteer opportunities in support of United Way’s funded agency partners. We encourage all Lower Mainland citizens to make a difference in their communities.” – Robert McLaughlin Regional Vice President, Editorial, Western Region for Postmedia Network. “A great community is created by acts large and small and by working together. We are extremely grateful for our longstanding partnership with The Vancouver Sun and their ongoing support. Together, we make a positive difference one project at a time,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. Learn more about all of the great Day of Caring projects taking place throughout the year through social media on Twitter (#dayofcaring) or on Facebook.    

Tracy GreenVolunteer work speaks volumes

Volunteers have great hearts

by Tracy Green on April 11, 2016 Comments Off on Volunteers have great hearts

volunteers have heart This week is National Volunteer Week! We know from experience that volunteers are at the heart of healthy and resilient communities across the Lower Mainland. Not only do the efforts of these volunteers make our communities a better place for all, but research says that volunteering can lead to a happier and healthier life. What are the benefits of volunteering? When volunteers spend time helping others, they feel like they use their time more efficiently and have more time. Volunteers also experience less depression, or spring back from depression more easily, especially those over the age of 65. People who volunteer with the goal of helping others gain the added benefit of a stronger heart and a longer life. That’s the power of volunteering; it doesn’t just help those in need. That’s something to celebrate! At United Way, we are grateful for the thousands of volunteers that help make a difference in the lives of children, families and seniors in the Lower Mainland. From individual employees who run our fundraising campaigns in our workplaces (employee campaign chairs) to community leaders who serve as volunteers on our Campaign Cabinet and our Board of Directors, we can’t thank you enough.   Meet some of our amazing volunteers: United Way of the Lower Mainland Board of Directors. The Board is a group of volunteers who are leaders in their professions and in our community. They help govern United Way with a mix of knowledge, insight and passion. They keep us accountable and ensure that when you give to United Way your gift goes as far as possible to help families and vulnerable people. Meet our board. United Way Campaign Cabinet. Every year, United Way’s Campaign Cabinet helps us raise millions of dollars to help 300,000 people right here in the Lower Mainland. They come from a variety of backgrounds and help make Metro Vancouver a place that you’re proud to call home. Meet our cabinet.  

Tracy GreenVolunteers have great hearts

Metro Vancouver farmland prices affecting our food system

by JenniferY on April 8, 2016 Comments Off on Metro Vancouver farmland prices affecting our food system
lettuce A report published by Vancity suggests that in order to develop a robust local food system, the high price of farmland in Metro Vancouver needs to be addressed. The report, Home on the Range: Cost pressures and the price of farmland in Metro Vancouver, found the average price per acre for farms under five acres far exceeds what is financially viable for most farms. Farmland prices in Metro Vancouver range from $150,000 to $350,000 per acre for parcels less than five acres. The financial viability of many farm businesses in B.C. becomes questionable when land prices reach $80,000 per acre, according to Farm Credit Canada. B.C. is  highly dependent on food imports. This means that we are vulnerable to global food price increases. Between Janaury 2015 and January 26, fresh vegetables have increased 26% and fresh fruits by 9% in this market. The Vancity report says that the relationship between the average price per acre of farmland in Metro Vancouver, and the purchase of agricultural land for estate homes and speculation are among the factors driving up prices of Metro Vancouver farmland and threatening the viability of local farming. Rising residential land prices in urban centres also affect the prices of nearby parcels of agricultural land, particularly those less than 10 acres, which may be purchased as estate homes and qualify for tax advantages with minimal farming activity.

Food insecurity is a major issue in the Lower Mainland. One in five children live in poverty in B.C. One-third of food bank visitors are children. Children deprived of nutritious diets are less healthy, less likely to succeed in school, and more likely to face physical and economic difficulties for the rest of their lives. Household income has the greatest impact on proper nutrition.The average monthly cost of the nutritious food basket for a family of four in the Lower Mainland is $978. United Way funds 22 food initiatives in the Lower Mainland that provide kids and their families with nutritious food and lifelong knowledge of how to eat well and be healthy. Aside from providing nutrition, food plays an incredibly important role in the delivery of social service programs building connections, community, and trust. United Way ‘s Stop the Growl initiative raised awareness about food security issues and funds during Nutrition Month in March. We also collected and published 31 healthy nutritious recipes for a family of 4 for $15 or less.  

JenniferYMetro Vancouver farmland prices affecting our food system