With nearly 20 years’ involvement with United Way, Jim Schneider knows well the reach the non-profit funding organization has within a community.
As the 2013 campaign chair for the United Way of Greater Victoria, he is the public face for an agency that funneled roughly $4 million into partner service providers last year and sent $1.5 million to local agencies via direct donations from donors.
“The United Way has got the history of being the social safety net for our community,” he said.
“I’m a big believer in us all supporting and helping our community. You have to grow where you live.”
At a pancake breakfast this morning at Ogden Point, Schneider and the rest of the United Way board unveiled this year’s campaign slogan, “Are You an Agent of Change?” and announced the 2013 fundraising goal is $6 million, about the same amount as was raised last year.
"$6 million is brilliant given the economic challenges we're still facing in this region," said interim CEO Heather Gardiner.
With the need for public services and requests for funding always outstripping the money available, United Way constantly faces the challenge of determining where best to direct donations, Schneider said.
“I think the important thing that we want to look at is, is your money that you’ve contributed making an impact? That’s one thing that we in United Way are uber-focused on, is aligning the money with the impact.”
United Way annually re-evaluates the community service providers it funds and the work they do, to meet the challenge of ensuring the best strategic use of donor money. This year 66 organizations in the region will receive help. For a list of agencies and programs that were funded last year, go to http://bit.ly/1eLLE07helped.
“The beauty of Victoria isn’t our ocean and the beautiful area, it’s our people and the caring and the giving,” Schneider said. “We all know there are challenges out there, but time and time again the community rises to that.”
Public individual or corporate donations can be made now. Greater Victoria workplace campaigns will ramp up soon, encouraging employees to give through payroll deductions.
Finding the way
Breakdown of United Way of Greater Victoria’s 2012 funding areas:
• All That Kids Can Be - $1.594 million for school readiness, school achievement and successful transition to adulthood
• Healthy People, Strong Communities - $1.353 million to help people develop positive life skills and make strong connections to their community
• From Poverty to Possibility - $1.04 million to help people become more self-sufficient and find pathways out of poverty