A Truly T-Riffic Launch

A standing ovation for Don Burnstick, an inspirational message from our Mayor, record-breaking attendance, trending #2 on Twitter and a surprise visit from Baby T-rex…the 2014 United Way Campaign is off to a roaring start!

Keynote speaker, Don Burnstick captivated a record-breaking 900 attendees with his inspiring personal life story and brand of humour at the 2014 Campaign Kickoff Luncheon.  

Burnstick shared how he experienced homelessness in Edmonton more than 30 years ago and slept in the river valley, steps away from the Shaw Conference Centre. Walking back after a fight, he noticed his reflection in the windows at Canada Place and decided it was time to change his life. Gesturing to the 2014 Campaign theme projected in large letters behind him on the stage, Burnstick said “Poverty is Solvable. I’m proof of that.”

The 2014 United Way Campaign Chair Ruth Kelly, shared, for the first time ever, the Impact Scorecard with the audience. The scorecard focuses on the number of people we can help instead of a dollar target.  This new direction for United Way outlines five strategies and clear targets to help set the course.

Kelly also recognized the Mayors and delegates in attendance who participated in the recent “14 Mayors United to End Poverty” initiative. On September 11, 12 and 13, the Mayors across the Alberta Capital Region involved in the initiative made a pledge to prioritize addressing the issue of poverty in their communities.

Mayor Iveson also shared his thoughts on poverty in his address from the City of Edmonton. “It is unacceptable to me that children live in poverty in Edmonton.”, he stated.

Another Kickoff highlight was the surprise visit of a baby T-Rex from the Northlands “Walking with Dinosaurs” presentation. Attendees were delighted when the dinosaur sprinted down the centre aisle of Hall D and interacted with guests. Northlands President and CEO, Tim Reid presented a $10,000 cheque to Ruth Kelly for United Way.

Social media was also a big success at the event. Our Campaign #UWSolvable trended second in Canada on Twitter, with only Apple’s release of iOS8 getting more tweets.

Our 2014 Campaign is off to a great start after this inspirational event!