Patricia Jelinski

Patricia Jelinski

United Way campaign tops $5.7 million

Campaign goal for 2014 not reached, but year still considered successful for United Way of Greater Victoria

United Way of Greater Victoria finished its 2014 campaign on March 31 with a total of $5.7 million raised.

Despite not reaching the campaign goal of $6 million, CEO Patricia Jelinski said it was a successful year full of new innovative ideas.

“This past year’s campaign was really energetic,” she said. For the first time, United Way of Greater Victoria introduced a pilot project e-pledge system for several workplaces. More workplaces will be added to the online donation system this year.

New events this year also included an engineering challenge with new companies from the engineering sector that came on board for a popsicle stick playground challenge, and also a financial challenge between BMO, RBC, CIBC, TD Canada Trust and Island Savings.

Ginette Berthiaume, executive administrative assistant from the B.C. Assessment head office has been leading her workplace in United Way fundraising for four years now.

In 2014, the 130 people involved at B.C. Assessment raised $31,000.

They do at least one event every month, in addition to weekly casual Wednesdays. If employees give $2 to the campaign, they can wear casual clothes to work.

Berthiaume also organizes work bake sales, pot lucks, book sales and bingo games to raise money.

“You see the need out there, it breaks my heart. Theres nothing I can do on my own. But together we become stronger,” said Berthiaume. “At the same time, it really creates energy in the workplace because we make those things fun.”

Berthiaume is a finalist for United Way of Greater Victoria’s Outstanding Employee Campaign chair for the category with over 100 employees, and B.C. Assessment was also nominated for the Naden Band Spirit of Excellence award.

The nominees and finalists for United Way’s various awards were announced at United Way’s SpiritFest on March 25. Award winners will be announced at the Spirit Awards luncheon on April 21 at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. The awards include 11 categories, 61 nominees and 30 finalists.