United Way aims to have bigger impact on community; declines to set campaign goal

The drum roll was noticeably absent on Thursday when the United Way of Central Alberta announced its fundraising target for 2014.

The drum roll was noticeably absent on Thursday when the United Way of Central Alberta announced its fundraising target for 2014.

That’s because there was no specific dollar amount — just the intent to raise money to make an even bigger impact for people in need in Central Alberta.

“We have not identified a precise number for our goal. We didn’t want to limit our possibilities. We didn’t want to put a cap on them because every year we raise money and every year the gap between what we raise and what we need is still there. Our goal this year is to close that gap, to come closer and closer,” said campaign co-chair Lynne Mulder at the annual campaign kickoff luncheon held at the Sheraton Hotel on Thursday.

The 2013 campaign surpassed $2.2 million, a first for the United Way of Central Alberta.

“Rather than just looking at the money we raise, we want to make sure we have a bigger impact on our community,” Mulder said.

Robert Mitchell, United Way CEO, said the idea is to get away from focusing on a rising mercury in the fundraising thermometer and instead focusing on the lives that United Way-funded agencies help.

He said stories about those Central Albertans will be a bigger part of this year’s campaign.

Fundraising updates will still be announced, but the United Way decided to “take the lid off” their goal to see what happens, Mitchell said.

Wanda Lawrence, 53, is among the Central Albertans whose lives have changed with the assistance of the United Way.

Growing up, Lawrence said she believed that nobody helps those who are sexually abused.

“It’s something you just accept. You endure. You shut up and keep it to yourself. But I learned at the (Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre) that it’s not acceptable. We can talk about it and we can reveal secrets that we kept buried within. Those secrets hurt us when we keep them inside. We need to talk about them and there has to be a safe place to do that,” said Lawrence, who spoke to the luncheon crowd of about 350 people.

“United Way funds the sexual assault centre and I am so grateful from the bottom of my heart for all of the donations and support,” Lawrence said.

Scott Raabis, 31, said he was hospitalized multiple times for schizophrenia and was even homeless before treatment turned his life around.

He said Central Alberta’s Safe Harbour Society for Health and Housing was there for him when he was homeless. The Canadian Mental Health Association and the local chapter of the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta have also been there to help.

Now he’s a performer with the local comedy troupe Bull Skit thanks to the stability he’s achieved.

“I can actually talk to my doctor about schizophrenia and be proactive,” Raabis said.

So far, $231,000 has been donated to the 2014 United Way campaign.

Fundraising campaign co-chair Dustin Sundby said it’s the most money that’s ever been raised on the first day of a campaign.

“Our community has so many needs and it’s impossible for the government to properly support those needs. Us, as community stakeholders, need to make up that difference and supporting the United Way is the way to do it,” Sundby said.


Just Posted

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

Heat warning in effect for Central Alberta

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Central Alberta. Residents in… Continue reading

Alberta’s debt clock on the road to drive home fiscal message

Canadian Taxpayers Federation raising concerns about Alberta’s $45 billion debt

Red Deer’s Ryan Vandervlis out of intensive care, able to communicate

An Alberta player with the Western Hockey League who was seriously burned… Continue reading

Trump-Putin summit opens without talk of election meddling

HELSINKI — With a wink and a slouch, respectively, President Donald Trump… Continue reading

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Croatia gears up to give heroes’ welcome to World Cup team

ZAGREB, Croatia — Fans are pouring in from throughout the country as… Continue reading

Statelessness a hurdle for some rescued Thai boy

MAE SAI, Thailand — The 12 boys and coach of the Wild… Continue reading

Lobbying commissioner rejects complaints against firearms panel member

OTTAWA — A federal watchdog has dismissed complaints that a mass-shooting survivor… Continue reading

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

OTTAWA — The Canadian Real Estate Association says the number of homes… Continue reading

Red Deer Royals place second at Calgary Stampede parade

Royals depicted life in forest and portrayed destruction by human beings

Muslim candidates running in record numbers face backlash

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A liberal woman of colour with zero name recognition… Continue reading

Former UK Cabinet secretary seeks new Brexit referendum

LONDON — A former U.K. Cabinet minister from the ruling Conservative Party… Continue reading

Man killed by Chicago police ran away, reached for waist

CHICAGO — A man killed by Chicago police had a gun in… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month