United Way prepares to help

The United Way of Central Alberta will invest $1.553 million into 29 organizations spread across the region.

The United Way of Central Alberta will invest $1.553 million into 29 organizations spread across the region.

The non-profit organization announced the list of beneficiaries on Wednesday, but did not disclose the amounts each group received.

The majority of the dollars — $1.14 million — will go into three community priority areas of education, wellness and income.

Noel Butt, co-chair of the new Community Impact Council, said an initial payment was given to the various groups during Wednesday’s public announcement.

“It gives them the dollars to deliver the programs that they are requesting the funds for,” said Butt. “If we weren’t able to do this, some programs wouldn’t be able to go forward.”

The United Way has developed the new Community Investment Strategy, which believes in performance outcomes rather than simply funding an agency.

“We’re working with community partners in identifying community needs,” said Butt. “We’re working to identify outcomes to ensure those needs are being addressed. We fund those programs that can deliver those outcomes.”

As part of the application process, organizations must describe what they hope to accomplish and how they’re going to measure that, Butt added.

Last year’s United Way campaign raised $1.935 million.

Chief executive officer Robert Mitchell said the remaining $382,000 goes towards overhead costs, such as staffing.

“Even so, it’s still directly related to the community,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell said the 2011 campaign increased by 1.6 per cent.

“It’s good for us, but it’s tough in the current economic climate,” he said.

The 13 programs within the “education” component include Kindergarten Here I Come through Family Services of Central Alberta, Sylvan Lake Kinder-Care Association, Envision Children First Family Centre in Innisfail and Reaching Our Potential Together project in Sylvan Lake.

The Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer and District’s After School Kids Club, as well as its Camp Alexo will benefit with dollars. The Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Red Deer and District, plus Ponoka and Recreational District Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lacombe and District received dollars.

Bashaw and District Support Services Association, Rocky Youth Development Society, Heartland Youth Centre, and Ponoka Youth Centre Association also received dollars.

Nine organizations will benefit within the “income” sector.

Red Deer and District SPCA and Red Deer Clothing Bank will garner dollars. Central Alberta Refugee Effort, Canadian Mental Health Association for the Central region, John Howard Society, Association of Communities Against Abuse, Central Alberta Brain Injury Society, Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society, and the Epilepsy Association of Calgary-Central Alberta office will benefit.

The wellness sector will see the following nine organizations benefit: Canadian Paraplegic Association; Crisis Centre Sexual Abuse, Violence, Education and Support; Sundre and District Nutrition for Learning Society; Canadian National Institute for the Blind; Red Deer Meals on Wheels; Circle of Red Deer Seniors Society (Golden Circle); Central Alberta AIDS Network Society; Catholic Social Services; Central Alberta’s Safe Harbour Society for Health and Housing; and Red Deer branch of Schizophrenia Society of Alberta.

United Way also committed $88,000 to the Community Initiatives fund. It looks at various endeavours, including a program developing strategies for reducing poverty. This will be partly undertaken via a new small grants program that will be available to local charities.

A further $120,000 will be directed to charities through the donor designation program and $205,000 will be issued to support the community through United Way.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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