GNSC - Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition


United Way allocates $2.72 million to agencies in Guelph and area

United Way allocates $2.72 million to agencies in Guelph and area

April 2, 2015

By Joanne Shuttleworth

GUELPH — The United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin put the final touch on its 2014 campaign by dishing out dollars to local agencies and volunteer organizations at a reception at the Guelph Civic Museum Wednesday afternoon.

Ken Dardano, executive director, said while fundraising is usually what people think of when they think United Way, “where the dollars get to is critical to our work. We put the money where it will have the greatest impact.”

Some 57 agencies, that deliver 95 social services programs will receive funding in 2015 ranging from a few thousand dollars to a few hundred-thousand dollars.

Wyndham House, an agency that provides housing and life skills training for homeless youth, received $200,666 from the United Way campaign —$101,000 for the youth resource centre, and $99,666 for its long-term residential program.

“It keeps the doors open,” said Debbie Bentley-Lauzon, executive director. “These are operational dollars and we’re grateful we receive something every year.”

Bentley-Lauzon said while the agency receives funding from various ministries through various funding envelopes, those funds don’t cover all the costs.

“This makes a difference to us,” she said. “It’s the difference between staying open or not.”

The Breaststroke Dragon Boat Team received $3,850, which it will use to purchase uniforms and equipment for the team.

“We’re grateful for anything,” said Shell Watson, team captain. “This will help us keep the boat in the water.”

Most of the team members are breast cancer survivors and paddling a dragon boat benefits them physically and emotionally as well as provides a positive social circle.

Barb McPhee spoke on behalf of the Neighbourhood Support Coalition, which received $60,000. McPhee told her own story of living in poverty and homelessness and how her involvement with Onward Willow helped her get back on her feet.

“Though my life struggles there has been one wonderful constant — the neighbourhood groups and coalition,” she said.

Of all the allocations, $1.58 million went to agencies that focus on strong communities; $525,000 on agencies that assist people living in poverty; and $619,000 to organizations for children.

Dardano also announced that Karen Farbridge will be the honourary chair of the 2015 campaign.

Farbridge said her years in municipal politics have already introduced her to the agencies funded by the United Way and the work they do.

“I know this community would be a shadow of what it is without these agencies,” she said.

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the United Way in Guelph. Dardano said many events are planned to mark the milestone.

This article was originally posted in the Guelph Mercury