Early childhood research helps United Way make smart investments

by JenniferY on October 28, 2016 Comments Off on Early childhood research helps United Way make smart investments
A child reads at the opening event of United Way Avenues of Change in Richmond.

A child reads at the opening event of United Way Avenues of Change in Richmond.

The next “wave” of data that tracks B.C. children’s school readiness has been published by UBC’s Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP). The data tracks 245,000 kindergarten children gathered through questionnaires each February. The Early-Years Development Instrument (EDI) B.C. 2016 provincial report measures and compare students’ vulnerability on five scales over time, including physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development and communication skills and general knowledge. As reported in an article published in The Vancouver Sun and Province, the data collected from 2013 to 2016 shows that 32.2. per cent of B.C. kindergarten students are considered vulnerable on one or more of these scales, up from 29.9 per cent in 2004 to 2007. Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, director of HELP, said few places in the world collect such detailed information. The data is used by organizations such as school districts, libraries and government to guide policy and program decisions and is also a vital tool for United Way of the Lower Mainland. Jeff Calbick, Vice-President of Community Impact and Investment for the United Way of the Lower Mainland, said “It informs both where we make our community investments — so right down to some neighbourhood examples — and the kind of services and support that we want to get behind.” An example of how the neighbourhood-level data is used to guide investment decisions is the early childhood initiative United Way Avenues of Change. There are four neighbourhoods in the Lower Mainland where United Way is focussing investments over time to change EDI results: Coquitlam River in the Tri-Cities; Guildford West in Surrey; Richmond City Centre in Richmond; and Strathcona in Vancouver. In 2015, United Way invested $4.9 million programs and services across the Lower Mainland to help give young kids a healthy start so that they are ready to succeed by the time they enter school. UWLM invested another $5.1 million into programs and services to help school-age children succeed, grow their confidence, and reach their full potential. Find your neighbourhood here in this interactive map. At a high level, these results show that language and cognitive development improved over time — 9.4 per cent of students are considered vulnerable, down from 11.3 per cent in 2004 to 2007. Communication has held steady at 14.2 per cent. But vulnerability increased on the three other measures over the same time period, most noticeably  emotional maturity, which affects the highest number of children at 16.1 per cent, up from 11.9 in 2004 to 2007. Emotionally-vulnerable children have problems regulating their emotions and may struggle to manage aggressive behaviour and be disobedient, inattentive and impulsive. In the Vancouver Sun and Province’s story, Schonert-Reichl said it’s not easy to “tease apart” casual relationships, but questioned whether societal changes in B.C. might be impacting such trends, such as a lack of supports for parents as they struggle with B.C.’s high costs of housing and living. “Are parents coming home more stressed and therefore the kids are picking up the stress more?” she said. She also speculated that an increased reliance on technology and societal pressure that forces parents to spend more time on their smartphones might be having an impact. Jeff Calbick pointed to the cost of living in B.C. as an ongoing concern for United Way and as a contributing factor to the EDI results. “Families are feeling stressed. There’s an increased level of anxiety, worry, and I think that’s showing up in our children,” he said. “Now more than ever, we need to figure out not only service solutions but we have to engage parents in a different way. We also have to look at some different policy and systems-level change in order to make things better for kids,” said Calbick.

JenniferYEarly childhood research helps United Way make smart investments

Debra Doucette Hewson lauded with Community Vision Award

by Tracy Green on October 27, 2016 Comments Off on Debra Doucette Hewson lauded with Community Vision Award
Debra Doucette Hewson with Community Vision Award and Michael McKnight, United Way.

Debra Doucette Hewson with Community Vision Award and Michael McKnight, United Way.

Debra Doucette Hewson, President and Chief Executive Officer at Odlum Brown Limited has been recognized with the Joseph and Rosalie Segal United Way Community Vision Award. She received the tribute at United Way of the Lower Mainland’s annual recognition event for major gift donors, United Way’s Pathfinders Dinner. The Community Vision Award recognizes individuals or families who have shown outstanding commitment to the betterment of the community through their leadership and support of United Way. “Debra is a passionate, smart and generous philanthropist who has tirelessly supported United Way of the Lower Mainland,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “Her commitment to our community is an example for all and why she has been chosen as this year’s Joseph and Rosalie United Way Community Vision Award recipient.” Aside from Ms. Doucette Hewson’s generous financial support of United Way, she has also given generously of her time. From 2009 to 2012, she volunteered her time serving as a member of the Board of Directors of United Way of the Lower Mainland and as a member of United Way’s Campaign Cabinet. She has also been a Leadership speaker for United Way of the Lower Mainland since 2004. Leadership speakers visit workplaces inspiring donors to give to United Way. Other volunteer roles Ms. Doucette Hewson has held outside of United Way include Board member of the Alzheimer Society of B.C.; Board member of St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation; and a member of the Sauder School of Business Faculty Advisory Board. Doucette Hewson has won many other awards including: Influential Women in Business Award from Business in Vancouver, 2015; one of the 50 Most Influential Women in BC by BC Business, 2015; Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2012; and B.C. Community Achievement Award, 2012. “Community is like a big family. It is important for people to see themselves as part of this community, this family and to give back to it,” said Debra Doucette Hewson. “I am honoured to be recognized by the Segals and by United Way with this very special award.” United Way Pathfinders’ Dinner honors United Way Major Gifts and Legacy Giving donors for the difference they make in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people – children, families and seniors – living in communities throughout the Lower Mainland. Thank you to PwC for being the  presenting sponsor of the event for the fourth consecutive year. https://www.flickr.com/photos/unitedwaylowermainland/albums/72157672199196893

Tracy GreenDebra Doucette Hewson lauded with Community Vision Award

PwC sponsors the 2016 United Way Pathfinders Dinner

by Tracy Green on October 24, 2016 Comments Off on PwC sponsors the 2016 United Way Pathfinders Dinner

United Way Pathfinders United Way of the Lower Mainland will celebrate the pathways to positive change that our most generous donors have helped create at this year’s annual Pathfinders Dinner taking place Wednesday, October 26. The event honors United Way Major Gifts and Legacy Giving donors for the difference they make in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people – children, families and seniors – living in communities throughout the Lower Mainland. PwC returns as presenting sponsor of the event for the fourth consecutive year. ‘We are proud of our relationship with United Way and fully support their work in improving social conditions in the community,” said John DeLucchi, Managing Partner, PwC. “At PwC, we aspire to be catalysts for change and I believe United Way Pathfinders share that goal.” PwC is part of an elite group of exceptional supporters known as United Way Top Contributors. Top contributors raise more than $225,000 each to help United Way change lives for the better. Across the country, PwC Canada employees raised almost 1.8 million for United Way in 2015. PwC has demonstrated exceptional generosity and leadership and really honour their corporate responsibility commitments,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “We are extremely grateful for their ongoing support and passion.” Debra Doucette Hewson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Odlum Brown, will be recognized at this year’s Pathfinders event for her leadership with the 2016 Joseph and Rosalie Segal United Way Community Vision Award.

Tracy GreenPwC sponsors the 2016 United Way Pathfinders Dinner

Helping with the harvest: Labour Day of Caring 2016

by Tracy Green on October 20, 2016 Comments Off on Helping with the harvest: Labour Day of Caring 2016

Labour Day of Caring 2016 In late September, members of the Labour community helped with the harvest at the Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, a United Way-funded agency in East Vancouver. Volunteers from unions all over the Lower Mainland removed debris and blackberry bushes as well as weeded garden beds. The team also picked and peeled apples and picked squash and onions from the community garden used for desserts and soups served at neighbourhood house programs. The clean-up and harvest was part of the The Vancouver Sun United Way Day of Caring. “United Way and Labour are committed to making our community a better place for everyone,” says Nikki Hill, Director of the CLC United Way Labour Participation Department. “The annual Labour Day of Caring is a great way for us to connect to kids and families who directly benefit from our joint efforts and to make a hands on difference.” Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House receives United Way funding to help support and run the neighbourhood house and variety of social service programs including the Eat, Act, Think Team, who work with children aged 6-12 in afterschool programs providing them hands on skills for preparing and understanding the importance of nutritious food like that grown in the community garden. The Labour Day of Caring is an annual event. If your union is interested in lending a caring hand by participating next year, please contact United Way of the Lower Mainland’s Labour Department at labourinfo@uwlm.ca.  

Join us on December 8th – Labour Appreciation Night

Join us for the 23rd Annual Labour Appreciation Night presented by Pacific Blue Cross where you’ll meet our 2016 Award winners and hear from Trish Garner of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition. Click here for ticket info.  

Tracy GreenHelping with the harvest: Labour Day of Caring 2016

Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

by Tracy Green on October 17, 2016 Comments Off on Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

October 17 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. BC has among the highest poverty rates in Canada. The province needs a poverty reduction strategy. We are often told that the solution to poverty is for the poor to “get a job” or for various sectors to create more jobs. But the reality is that having a job is not a guaranteed path out of poverty. The Working Poverty Report revealed that there are over 100,000 people living across the region who are working but not earning enough to escape poverty.   Who are the working poor? Working Poverty Stereotype Vs Reality In Metro Vancouver in 2012:

  • just over half (54 per cent) of the working poor were married or living common law
  • 42 per cent had dependent children (32 per cent were living in couple families with children and 9 per cent were single parents)
  • one in four (24 per cent) was between the ages of 18 and 29
  • the majority (61 per cent) were between the ages of 30 and 54, or what economists consider prime working age
  • 9 per cent received employment insurance (EI) benefits at some point during the year.

  Working poverty is defined as an individual who is, among other factors,between the ages of 18 and 64, lives in a family with after-tax income below Statistics Canada’s Low Income Measure (LIM), and is not a student. This definition comes from the Metcalf Foundation whose data is the jumping off point for the Working Poverty Report.   Working poverty is a growing problem for all Metro Vancouver municipalities Metro Vancouver has the 2nd highest working poverty rate among large cities in Canada (8.7%), only slightly lower than Greater Toronto (9.1%). Across Canada, more than 1 million people are working poor. In 2012, the latest year for which we have data available, working poverty rates were highest in Richmond (10.5%), Vancouver (10%), Burnaby (9.4%), Surrey (9.1%), North Vancouver (8.4%) and Coquitlam (8.1%). A number of smaller municipalities like Bowen Island and North Vancouver also have high levels of working poverty. Working Poverty Rate Municipality Working poverty can be eliminated The report makes a number of policy recommendations including:

  • increase the minimum wage
  • strengthen employment standards
  • increase access to safe, affordable housing
  • create a high quality, public child care program
  • make training and education more accessible to low-income earners
  • reform employment insurance
  • enhance the Working Income Tax Benefit
  • make all levels of government living wage employers.

  United Way of the Lower Mainland, along with a coalition of over 50 non-profit and community organizations and 400 supporting groups form the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition advocating for a provincial poverty reduction plan that focuses on integrated strategies to address issues including low wages, access to adequate housing, affordable childcare, funded public education and health services. Reducing poverty will help not just those who are poor. Better public services and income supports enhance quality of life for all British Columbians and build more inclusive, vibrant and healthy communities – communities we can all be proud to live in. None of the work we do would be possible without the generosity of our donors. We all share in the responsibility to create neighbourhoods that we are proud to call home.  

Tracy GreenToday is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Comprehensive Delta community profile published

by JenniferY on October 14, 2016 Comments Off on Comprehensive Delta community profile published

West barn Delta A comprehensive report published today, United Way of the Lower Mainland Delta Community Profile, breaks down population, economic and social statistics in five neighbourhoods in Delta: Ladner, North Delta East, North Delta West, Sunshine Hills and Tsawwassen. With relatively high incomes, relatively low unemployment and crime rates, and a stable growth rate, Delta appears to be a good place to live. But like most regions of the Lower Mainland, there is poverty: there are 2,700 children under the age of 18 who are living in low-income households. The Delta Community Profile includes information on:

  • Population (demographics, growth trends, languages spoken)
  • Economic factors (income, unemployment rates, education, housing)
  • Social factors (homelessness, family structure, childhood vulnerability, causes of death)
  • Data on calls handled by bc211, the 24/7 multilingual social service help line that United Way funds

  In 2015, United Way invested $570,000 dollars in Delta funding 28 organizations that deliver 35 programs and services to residents. Programs and services supported by United Way include early childhood development, after-school programs, senior support, refugee support, and food security. “Neighbourhood-specific research like this helps not only United Way but also municipalities, school districts and other social service organizations plan for the future,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “Research like this allows United Way to make smart community investments.” This is the fourth Community Profile published by United Way over the past year. United Way’s Surrey/White Rock Community Profile was published in September, Richmond Community Profile in December, and Tri-Cities Community Profile was published in the spring. Delta Community Profile Highlights Population

  • Delta’s population in 2011 was 99,863 residents. From 2001 to 2011, the city experienced a 3% growth rate, relatively low when compared to Surrey (35% growth rate from 2001 to 2011. Population projections estimate that by 2041, 123,000 people will live in Delta.
  • 25% of Delta’s population are children – just slightly less than Surrey at 26%.
  • 29% of residents of Delta are foreign-born.
  • The top five languages spoken by Delta School District students at home are English (78.9%); Punjabi (11.3%); Mandarin (1.7%); Hindi 1.5%; and other, 3.9%.
  • From 2007 to 2011, 4,240 babies were born in the Delta area representing a live birth rate of 8.45 (births per 1000 population).
  • The Aboriginal population in Delta is 2.3% of the total population, not including Tsawwassen Lands First Nation which has a population of 720. Delta’s Aboriginal population increased by over 50 per cent from 1,495 to 2,290 from 2001 to 2011.

  Economic indicators

  • The median family income in Delta was $94,007, almost $15,000 higher than that of Metro Vancouver at $80,006.
  • There are 10,105 Delta residents living in low income situations, and of them 12.4% are children under the age of 18.  Almost half of the children in low income households live in North Delta East.
  • The top three occupations in Delta were: sales and service (23.3%); business, finance and administration (17.4%); trades, transport and equipment operators (14.8%).
  • The total apartment vacancy rate is .6%, which is lower than the Metro Vancouver rate of .8%.

  Social indicators

  • Crime rates in Delta are low: violent crime rate is 2%; property crime 4.5%; vehicle theft 2.7%.

  Calls for assistance to the bc211 help line

  • In 2015, there were 436 calls to bc211 from Delta. The top reasons for calls were housing and homelessness; income & financial assistance; health; government services; and mental health.

  Delta Community Profile Data sources: 2011 Census; bc211; UBC HELP.

JenniferYComprehensive Delta community profile published

Marguerite Ford community builder

by JenniferY on October 12, 2016 Comments Off on Marguerite Ford community builder

Marguerite Ford. On Marguerite Ford’s bookshelf sits books by Naomi Klein and Joseph Boyden. In another bookcase are her treasured Moroccan leather-bound encyclopaedia published in 1928. Marguerite is like her book collection, eclectic and intelligent. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of city building and life experience. And she believes firmly in giving back to her community. Ms. Ford is a long-time supporter of United Way.  Born in 1926 near Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Ms. Ford attributes some of her community-mindedness to growing up on the prairies. “The population isn’t so dense there. In Saskatchewan, in the early days, people depended upon each other tremendously,” says Marguerite. Marguerite is modest about her long list of accomplishments. In 1997 she received the Order of British Columbia. Acknowledged in that citation are 10 years on Vancouver City Council, serving on the Metropolitan Board of Health, the Vancouver Hospice Project, Greater Vancouver Mental Health Services, and having chaired the Committee on Disabled for nine years. She served as Board Chair of United Way of the Lower Mainland, and has chaired the community affairs committee of the Vancouver Board of Trade and was Executive Director of the Alzheimer Society. Her volunteer work in the health care and housing field include the Vancouver General Hospital where she was the President of the Women’s Auxiliary, St. John Ambulance, the Katherine Sandford Housing Society and the Italian Community Centre Senior Citizen’s Housing Society. What motivates her to volunteer? “It’s interesting. It’s something I can do. I’m not big on housework.” Her husband and children were all very supportive of her activities. “As a volunteer you learn all kinds of things that you may not otherwise be exposed to. And you can have an influence.” She chuckles and adds, “As a volunteer you can interfere with all kinds of things that in your job you wouldn’t be allowed to.” Marguerite sees volunteering as a way to be connected to the community. She is a Jane Jacobs acolyte and believes that the design of a city determines the kind of people living there. When people help each other, when neighbours know each other, communities are safer. When asked what her advice would be to a 25-year-old she answered, “Find some kind of a service that interest you that you can commit to get to know it and support it and see what can come of it. You’re doing something useful, learning and making terrific contacts.” She believes that to be connected to your community, you need to be out there doing things. Marguerite is a great example of contributions women have made as Canada acknowledges Women in History month. Marguerite supports United Way in part because of the planning we do. Our prevention focus means that we anticipate and react to needs in the community before they are a problem. United Way helps build strong communities, communities where people feel connected and supported. None of the work United Way does would be possible without the support of people like Marguerite Ford. Thank you!    

JenniferYMarguerite Ford community builder

Can you make the month?

by JenniferY on October 5, 2016 Comments Off on Can you make the month?

Make the Month Day is October 6 One in 6 people living in the Lower Mainland lives at or below the poverty line. This means that nearly 20% of our population faces challenges in meeting basic needs such as housing, food, transportation and health care. Even with a job, families are struggling to make the month in one of the most expensive cities in the world. There are an estimated 100,000 working poor across the region, people who are working but still living below the poverty line. Take the challenge – see if you can make the month here: www.makethemonth.ca Makethemonth.ca is an online poverty simulator designed to raise awareness of what it’s like to live in poverty and how United Way can help. “When you’re living in poverty, it’s not just a lack of financial resources that is the problem. It’s also a lack of available choices,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “Poverty is a complex social issue. When families can’t get enough food to meet basic needs there are ripple effects – like poor physical health, anxiety and depression. United Way works to ensure that people have the basics so they can move out of poverty and build better lives for themselves.” There are 12 United Ways participating across the country. Share your experiences using makethemonth.ca with the hashtag #makethemonth  

JenniferYCan you make the month?

Tech Grind nets $20,000 for United Way

by natalieh on October 3, 2016 Comments Off on Tech Grind nets $20,000 for United Way

29979723812_9bcc693ecb_k2 On Saturday October 1st members from Vancouver’s thriving tech scene took a break from coding and creating to participate in Tech Grind, a hike up Mother Nature’s Stairmaster in support of United Way. Tech Grind challenged participants to raise funds for United Way of the Lower Mainland, then sweat it out on the notorious Grouse Grind®, a 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain. By race day teams had exceeded their collective goal of $20,000, bringing in $20,472 for United Way programs and services across the Lower Mainland. Congratulations!

Teams of techies and friends

Participating teams reflected Vancouver’s diverse tech sector, and included IT/IQ Tech Recruiters, Teligence, Mobify and Salesforce. United Way staff raised funds and threw on their hiking gear, and event sponsor Deloitte was also well-represented with a dedicated and supportive team. Cooler temperatures and a sprinkle of rain were the perfect conditions for what can be a gruelling hike up 2,830 stairs to an elevation of 2,800 feet. United Way’s new mascot Seymour the Sea Otter was on hand to energize the hikers, joining in on some pre-Grind stretching and jumping jacks, and sending participants up the hill with encouraging high-5s. In total 31 participants scaled the mountain, each one a champion for their commitment to the cause – supporting United Way to help kids be all they can be, move families from poverty to possibility, and build stronger communities for all of us.


Garth Cumming Teligence tech grind 2016 united way lower mainlandA tight race to the top

There was a healthy competitive spirit to the climb. A few participants broke away from the pack and finished in impressive time. The third place finisher was Cody Buckhammere of IT/IQ Tech Recruiters, with a time of 44 minutes. Caroline McNeill of Mobify finished second with a time of 43 minutes. And the fastest Tech Grinder of the day was Garth Cumming of Teligence, completing the Grouse Grind® at an incredible 38 minutes! Team IT/IQ Tech Recruiters netted the most donations, raising $6,830 for United Way.   it/iq tech recruiters tech grind 2016 united way lower mainland After ascending the peak, participants were treated to a wonderful buffet and gorgeous view in the Timber Room, courtesy of Presenting Sponsor Deloitte. Marcella Barrenechea of Yoga Spirit and Wellness helped grinders sooth sore muscles in a rejuvenating yoga cool-down. Jeff Smith, Chief Financial Officer at Mobify, presented the fastest hikers with prizes and thanked participants for their incredible performance both on and off the mountain, as champions of United Way. A member of the 2016 United Way Campaign Cabinet, Jeff Smith is one of dozens of community leaders volunteering their time to lead United Way’s annual fundraising campaign, helping make Metro Vancouver a place we’re proud to call home. Jeff lent his time to help organize and personally raised funds for Tech Grind. Our thanks to all the Tech Grind 2016 participants and donors, to all participating employers and teams, to event volunteers and special guests, to Cabinet Member and leader Jeff Smith, and to generous event sponsor and dedicated United Way partner, Deloitte. Deloitte sponsor tech grind 2016 united way lower mainland     Tech Grind Oct 1 When we work together, amazing things are possible! Click here to support kids, families and seniors in your community.

nataliehTech Grind nets $20,000 for United Way