On Thursday, February 28, 2013 at the Edmonton Expo Centre, amidst a flurry of confetti cannons, great musical entertainment and a keynote address from Premier Alison Redford, the 2012 United Way fundraising campaign officially came to an end. It closed with a great deal of cheering and celebration for another very successful year – a $23.1 million year, in fact.
The Red Tie Gala is an evening of celebration and acknowledgement of community efforts and individual accomplishments in the past campaign.
I was pleased to share the stage with a couple of local celebrities – Ryan Jespersen and Bridget Ryan of BT Edmonton on City. Thank you both for offering your talents and time to help make our event such a success.
Premier Alison Redford shares a high-five with Change Starts Here performer RJ Cui at United Way's Red Tie Gala
When Mike Percy, 2011 Campaign Chair, handed me the reins to lead the 2012 campaign, I don’t know if I was really ready for what was in store or what kind of impact this experience would have on me. In the one year since I took on this volunteer role, I was able to see the way this community works; what I saw was incredible loyalty, compassion and a great work ethic.
I do know one thing for certain, no one person can do this alone - it takes an entire community. There’s a certain bond that people establish when they focus their efforts on a common goal - together, with the community, we set our sights high and rallied to raise an incredible $23.1 million dollars. This is the largest amount ever in the history of United Way in our region and I am humbled by the dedication and commitment it took to reach this milestone. Considering this significant achievement, simply saying thank you doesn’t really seem like enough – but I think it’s the best place to start.
To the 2012 Campaign Cabinet team, thank you for offering your leadership and valuable time. The campaign cabinet is a roster of more than 40 senior-level leaders from all sectors – business, government, post-secondary and labour, who dedicate themselves to helping us lead and deliver on a successful campaign.
To the organizations that hosted workplace campaigns throughout the region – our sincerest thanks. We are fortunate to have such a diverse cross-section of both private and public sector as well as not-for-profit, working to help the success of campaign and community. From large to small business, government and labour – all of your contributions count – each one is helping to create change.
In 2012 we also welcomed more than 60 new accounts that, for the first time, ran a United Way campaign – welcome and thank you for your commitment to community & United Way.
However, from my experience, the common goal was not solely about the $23 million dollars we set out to raise. It was more about why we were raising the money and because of it, the important work that will be carried out. Together we focused on the goal of helping change lives – through education, income and wellness. And, you focused your investments of time, effort and money to help lift vulnerable people out of poverty.
I feel honoured to be part of a community that takes care of its own – a community that understands the importance of kids being all they can be, of people having the tools they need to earn a stable income, and neighbourhoods that are safe, healthy and strong.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as the Chair for such an inspiring and results-driven campaign, but since my term has come to a close, it is my role to pass the torch for the 2013 campaign. On behalf of United Way, I am pleased to announce that Mr. Gary Bosgoed, Senior Vice President, WorleyParsons Canada Services Ltd. has accepted the opportunity to be the 2013 United Way Campaign Chair. Gary is enthusiastic and passionate about our community and we wish him much success in this very rewarding role.
Congratulations and thank you once again to all our many supporters and to all our Awards of Distinction recipients.