The results are in from the 2016 Annual Campaign for the United Way Lanark County (UWLC), and we are now asking for the public’s help. This year donations have fallen $40,000 short of the total from the previous campaign and this is threatening our ability to support our community partners. “While we deeply appreciate the support we did receive from our donors, falling short by this much will have a direct impact on our community,” said Board Chair Helen McIntosh. “We rely on these funds to help change the lives of those in need in Lanark County and Smiths Falls,” continued McIntosh. “Fortunately, we did raise enough to support the multi-year commitments of $90,600 that we made to our partners last year.” In 2016, under the Community Impact process, the UWLC made commitments for two and three year funding for a number of essential projects under the focus areas of All that Kids Can Be, and From Poverty to Possibility. “We know that our partners need sustainable and longer term funding, which is why we moved to this multi-year model in 2015”, said McIntosh, “and we are glad that we received enough donations to ensure that this longer term funding continues.”
“There were a number of reasons for the downturn in donations in the 2016 Campaign,” noted Executive Director Fraser Scantlebury, “including the issues related to the on-going situation within the Federal Government pay systems. We saw a further drop in the contributions from employees who work in Ottawa and direct their donations to UWLC, which built on the work force reductions of the past several years. Locally, we saw a general decline in donations from a variety of sources, due in part to the on-going economic conditions in the County and Smiths Falls.”
What many people do not realize is that in addition to funding direct support to individuals in need in Lanark County and Smiths Falls, the United Way provides a valuable resource in terms of reducing costs associated with fundraising for local partners. “For many of our partners, raising funds is very costly, in terms of staff and volunteer time, and the UWLC provides an alternative way to access funds,” explained Scantlebury. “We work closely with those partners, ensuring donors that their investments are having a real impact within the community. Part of that is making sure that those funds are addressing critical local needs. That is why we say we are 100% local – all funds raised here stay in Lanark County and Smiths Falls, including the decisions on regarding what gets funded.”
The impact of the shortfall is that UWLC will not be able to fund any new projects over the 2017 period, with the exception of a previously funded Call for Proposal for a critical hours project. “This year was to mark the first time the UWLC opened the Call for Proposals to the wider community, as opposed to just those who were already partners of the United Way,” explained Scantlebury. “We already had a number of expressions of interest for projects that would directly assist those in need in Lanark County and Smiths Falls, from young women in need to seniors needing assistance. It is disappointing that we will not be able to consider these proposals.”
In addition to the cancellation of the general Call for Proposals, the UWLC will also be suspending its Micro Grant program this year, which in 2016 funded 5 partners for a total of just under $23,000. “These Micro Grants helped smaller partners to meet specific needs in the community,” explained Scantlebury, “with such items as child care subsidies, seniors services and youth centre programs.”
You can help UWLC continue to support its partners and improve life in Lanark County and Smiths Falls. “While we realize that in these tough times it may be hard for community members make a large donation,” says Scantlebury, “what we hope is that everyone will make a small donation to the UWLC. Consider $10 for Change – the change to a young person that results from being able to attend a vital after school program. Or consider $25 for Possibility – the possibility of a better future for those in our community who just need a helping hand. If everyone in Lanark County and Smiths Falls would make that donation, then we would be able to reach out and make that change, create that possibility, for a better life.”
To make your donation and support the United Way Lanark County in the community, please go to www.lanarkunitedway.com and click on the Donate button. Details on another special donation opportunity will be available in the very near future.
In the meantime, the UWLC is urging employees working in Federal or Provincial Government offices to contact their HR departments to make sure their donations are going to UWLC by using the appropriate designation numbers – 01359 for Federal government employees and ON08 for Provincial employees. Community members working in Ottawa are also encouraged to ensure if they donate to the United Way, that they direct their donations to UWLC.
“While we will work hard to overcome this shortfall, so we may once again support those in need in Lanark County and Smiths Falls, we do want to thank all of those who did support the UWLC during the last campaign,” said McIntosh. “The volunteer Board of Directors wishes to thank the many organisations and individual donors within the community who continued their ongoing support. We are deeply grateful for that confidence in the work what UWLC does in our community.”