Looking back at 2014, I had a fun year as part of the United Way Community Engagement team. At the Red Tie Gala I helped weave together the stories of United Way donors and people in the community who have benefited from their support to show the impact donations have on the giver and receiver. Those stories were highlighted in a stunning photo display and complemented by this video.

We kicked off campaign in September by rallying together 14 mayors in the region to declare poverty a solvable problem in the Capital Region, just before we launched into our annual workplace campaign around the idea that poverty is solvable.

Keeping the momentum going our first ever Impact Scorecard for the community with 3 year targets was released, detailing the support United Way provides in the community and our goals for the future in key areas that will make the difference for people who are struggling in poverty.

In October we not only found 50 ways to say “Thank you” but we launched the first ever My United Way Voice competition in partnership with Hot107 and PlanIt Sound.

Over the course of a month the contest received 35 outstanding submissions from local artists that had something meaningful and inspiring to say about poverty in the region, and now we are having a community-wide vote to decide who the winner will be. I can’t wait for Red Tie Gala this year to see them perform.

One last thing I would like to share. In November, Alberta Energy employee Rupesh Patel addressed the audience at United Way's 2014 Round Up Breakfast to share why he chooses to donate as an extension of his public service. His words were candid and inspirational. And while I can't take credit for those words, I did use my powers to title this speech video "Why We Donate."

Well, time to look forward.