Despite “trying economic times,” the Lloydminster and District United Way surpassed its 2014 fundraising goal of $220,000 by $1,000.
At its annual Distribution Night ceremony, held at the Days Inn crown ballroom on May 13, the United Way handed out $210,000 of those funds to 14 of its member agencies.
“I just want to say thank you very much everyone for joining us here today,” said Colleen Fulton, board chair of the Lloydminster and District United Way, in her opening remarks. “The United Way is an organization that raises money to help other organizations. That’s our entire being. We’re here to raise money to help other people and other organizations and we’re really happy to do it and we’re really excited to give away all of our money.”
The groups receiving money this year are the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Spinal Cord Injury Alberta, Catholic Social Services, Bea Fisher Ability Development Services, Midwest Family Connections, the Lloydminster Rescue Squad, the Lloydminster Sexual Assault Centre, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Thorpe Recovery Centre, the Lloydminster Association for Community Living, the Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre, the Libby Young Centre, the Lloydminster Interval Home and the Lloydminster Community Youth Centre.
The amount of money each group was awarded ranged from $6,400 to $20,700
“We try our best. We try to meet the needs of all of our agencies. Unfortunately, we can’t,” Fulton said. “It sounds fabulous when we say our goal was $220,000 and we actually raised $221,000 but the requests this year were closer to $400,000 for funding, so we’re meeting 50, 60 per cent of what’s being requested and that’s been year after year, that hasn’t changed. Ordinarily the requests and the need in Lloydminster are higher than what we can actually provide.”
The ceremony also included a raffle and a 50/50 draw. For the groups in attendance, United Way funding is significant to sustaining their operations.
“We want to thank United Way for their continued contribution. It’s very helpful for all of us and definitely a blessing,” Interval Home public education co-ordinator Kimberly Jensen said. “It’s a major contribution to our society in general. We have a public education program, which is what I will be running, so it goes to (spreading) awareness throughout the community.”
For the MS Society, which just held its annual walk on May 2, the United Way is another source of money to maintain its programs and services.
“We’re very proud to call ourselves a United Way member agency,” said Johanna Green, Lakeland regional director of the MS Society of Canada “A lot of people don’t see behind the scenes, but they really are a volunteer-driven organization and their board of directors and their volunteers work very diligently to make these funds available to us.”
The United Way hopes to be able to distribute even more funding next year.
“We would like to be able to do more. I really want to say that Lloydminster can help out in tough times,” Fulton said. “We’re really hopeful for the upcoming year.”