The 2019 United Way Spirit Awards celebrate the Capital Region’s most influential volunteers and contributors (Nicole Crescenzi/ News Staff)

United Way celebrates volunteers, contributors in Greater Victoria area

$4.7 million was raised in 2018 thanks to the work of hundreds of people

Hundreds of people gathered at the Fairmont Empress Hotel on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the volunteers and contributors to the Capital Region’s United Way.

The annual Spirit Awards celebration recognized the people who helped raise $4.7 million in 2018, funds that help over 100 organizations and 80,000 people across Greater Victoria.

“This is a grand celebration of all of our community partners, primarily those in the workplace that have helped us raise the much-needed funds throughout the Greater Victoria area,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO of the United Way Greater Victoria. “They are the lifeblood of our campaign, from volunteers to having advocates within the workplace that help educate about a cause.”

ALSO READ: United Way to recognize outstanding community members

More than 250 workplace partners involved with United Way in 2018 were considered for 13 different Spirit Award categories.

Of note this year was Seaspan- Victoria Shipyards, which was inducted into the “Thanks a Million” club for cumulatively raising over $1 million for the United Way.

The most prestigious award, the Chair’s Award of Distinction, was given to Mark Lovick, the vice-president of RBC Royal Bank Regional for South Vancouver Island. This award goes to an individual for extraordinary commitment to the United Way’s community campaign.

Lovick has been a United Way donor since 1980, and learned to balance his career with helping community.

ALSO READ: United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

“We are privileged – we have access to education, to a regular paycheque. Not everyone has that privilege,” Lovick said. “I was always thinking that my job needed 150 per cent of my time and community involvement less. Now I see that an increase in community involvement has a positive impact on my job.”

In 2018 Lovick helped organize volunteer campaigns and arranged for “impact speakers” to address his employees so they could hear first hand how the United Way had helped them. Lovick also arranged for an RBC employee to temporarily assist the United Way as a campaign associate to help keep costs down to the agency.

The other awards went to:

  • Outstanding Employee Campaign Chair (organization over 100 employees): Seaspan – Victoria Shipyards – Stephen Crowe
  • Outstanding Employee Campaign Chair (organization under 100 employees)- BC Oil & Gas Commission – Andrew Spence
  • Outstanding Campaign Committee Spirit Award Royal Roads University – CUPE 3886, RRUFA
  • Leadership Giving Spirit Award- City of Colwood – CUPE 374
  • Community Impact Spirit Award- RBC Royal Bank
  • Community Partner Spirit Award- Burnside Gorge Community Association
  • Labour Partnership Spirit Award- Viking Air – Unifor 114
  • Post-Secondary Challenge Cup- University of Victoria – CUPE 4163, CUPE 917, CUPE 951, PEA, UVic FA, USW 2009
  • Financial Challenge Cup-BMO Bank of Montreal
  • Municipal Challenge Cup= District of Sooke – CUPE 374, IAFF 4841
  • Outstanding Workplace Spirit Award- Camosun College – BCGEU 701, CCFA, CUPE 2081

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The 2019 United Way Spirit Awards celebrate the Capital Region’s most influential volunteers and contributors (Nicole Crescenzi/ News Staff)

Mark Breslauer, CEO, United Way Greater Victoria (left) Mark Lovick, RBC Regional Vice President for South Vancouver Island, Hazel Braithwaite, Director, Donor and Partner Relations, United Way and Al Hasham, Community Campaign Cabinet Chair, United Way and President & CEO of Maximum Express Courier and Max Furniture pose after Lovick won the prestigious Chair’s Award of Distinction. (File contributed/ United Way Greater Victoria)

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