United Way to invest more than $31 million

Michael McKnight and Nathan Wright

Michael McKnight, President and CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland with Nathan Wright, Executive Director, bc211.

United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM) will be investing more than $31 million into community programs and services in 2017/18. Programs and services funded range from refugee support programs for children age 6 and younger to programs designed to keep seniors active and socially connected as they age. As the largest non-government funder of community services, United Way provides vital support to children, families and seniors. This year, United Way will support 146 local social service agencies and organizations in 26 Lower Mainland communities as well as support a number of provincial programs, like the help line bc211. Thanks in part to a new $1 million investment from United Way, bc211.ca will now be available to provide support to British Columbians across the province starting today. The funding of bc211.ca provides an example of one way that United Way works in the community. “We work hard to create neighbourhoods where everyone has a fair chance and an opportunity for a brighter future,” says Michael McKnight, President & CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland. “Sometimes the biggest barrier to getting help is not knowing where to find it. bc211.ca breaks down that barrier.” bc211.ca is an online information service that is an up-to-date, reliable gateway to community, social, non-clinical health and government services. The service directory database includes over 12,000 current entries that document and describe services and organizations available to help people. The website is optimized for mobile devices and online chat is available seven days a week from 8 am to 11 pm and includes:

  • Employment support
  • Legal assistance
  • Mental health and addiction services
  • Housing options including shelter locations
  • Seniors services
  • Children and youth programs, and much more.

  “British Columbians need and deserve reliable information and help they can trust. We’re here to ensure that people don’t have to rely solely on Google to deal with sometimes difficult and often very personal situations. At bc211.ca, we have prompts that help people narrow down their search, assist them in finding the services that most meet their needs, and closest to where they live,” says Nathan Wright, Executive Director, bc211. The expansion of bc211.ca was made possible through funding from United Ways across BC including:  Lower Mainland; Greater Victoria; Central & Northern Vancouver Island; Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen; East Kootenay; North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap; Northern British Columbia; Powell River & District; Thompson Nicola Cariboo, and Trail and District. It’s through partnerships and investments like this that United Way is able to actively work with the community to forecast local need and tackle problems together. United Way of the Lower Mainland marks its 87th year of working in the community later this month.

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