Last week United Way of Cranbrook and Kimberley had one of its biggest fundraisers of the year with the Park On Us campaign.
Donna Brady Fields, executive director of the local United Way, said the event was a big success.
“The weather was nice and we had lots of people,” Brady Fields said. “The barbecue and the auction went really well. We sold the most parking meters we’ve ever sold.”
The total raised for United Way that day was over $13,000.
“That’s the highest amount ever raised by about $6,000,” she said. “We’re very, very thankful for our generous sponsors for the parking meters and for the auction, and also our sponsors for the coffee and snack table as well.”
Brady Fields said the money would go a long way but is only a part of their fundraising. United Way funds 12-15 community agencies in a year and there is usually not enough money to go around.
“We’ve always claimed that if every citizen in the community would make a $10 taxable donation to United Way each year, that could potentially double our campaign.”
October was proclaimed United Way campaign month by the city.
“We will go heavy into our workplace campaign,” she said.
The workplace campaign sees employees pledge whatever amount they wish to the United Way for the following year. She said about 75 per cent of the funds the group raises comes from the workplace campaigns.
“People can decide what they want to take off their cheques each month, the employer takes it off and sends it in to United Way,” she said, adding that the taxable donation is then right on their T4 form at the end of the year. “We’re urging employers, if they don’t have a workplace campaign, to get in touch with the office for more information about setting one up. It’s very easy. United Way helps in whatever ways they would like us to help with.”
The Cranbrook office administers the United Way for this area.
“The money that we raise in our community is what we have to reinvest the following year,” she said.
Cranbrook and Kimberley United Ways amalgamated in 2005 and have been operating on that basis since. Recently United Way Canada informed them that the local coverage for United Way covers from Creston to Fernie and Sparwood, and up to Invermere.
“We officially now know that is our area,” Brady Fields said. “Now we have to kind of strategize and decide how we’re going to proceed,” she said.
The local board will be going into a strategic planning session this month. She urges residents to contact the office if they want to get involved in developing a plan of action.
She said they are finding more and more that United Ways are having more of an impact on the communities.
“Especially because we’re moving into community impact; finding out what’s not working in our communities, what’s needed and how to best provide those services and programs,” she explained.
“Small United Ways struggle a bit. Just because there’s a lot going on and there’s a limited number of people willing to come out and be a part of it.”
For more information or to volunteer, contact Brady Fields at the United Way office at 250-426-8833 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is located at 930 Baker Street Cranbrook.