EDMONTON, AB – On Thursday, September 17th, close to 700 community supporters gathered at the Shaw Conference Centre for United Way’s 2015 fundraising kickoff.  

Attendees learned about the considerable progress being made in our community towards helping solve poverty, thanks to their fundraising efforts.  And, they were the first to hear a special announcement from the Edmonton Community Foundation about a $1 million matched donation program that could see some United Way supporters potentially double their impact in the community.

“Each and every gift we receive to United Way is important, and with the largest network of partners in the region, it goes farther and wider than any other charitable investment you can make,” stated 2014 Campaign Chair, Ruth Kelly, President and Publisher of Venture Publishing. “But with this new program, specifically for leadership donors, donations could go even farther.”

The announcement came as part of a shared commitment between Edmonton Community Foundation and United Way, in support of End Poverty Edmonton – a movement with a vision to end poverty in a generation.

“United Way and the Edmonton Community Foundation are invested in working together to help even more people during this very challenging economic time.  Now, more than ever, it’s so important for us to find even more ways to show our support to the cause – and find solutions to end poverty in Edmonton,” said Ted Kouri, Edmonton Community Foundation Board Chair.  “This first-ever match program between our organizations will not only contribute to reaching specific targets that create pathways out of poverty, it’s a strong indicator that the End Poverty Edmonton movement is gaining significant momentum.”

The matched donation program is available to new United Way leadership donors (those that choose to give an annual gift ranging from $1,200 to $9,999).  All gifts fitting this criteria will be matched dollar for dollar. United Way’s existing leadership donors who choose to increase their gift in 2015/16, will have the value of their increase matched.

All matched funds will go directly toward helping achieve strategies and targets outlined in United Way’s Impact Scorecard.

“This is first-ever match developed between these organizations and provided by the Edmonton Community Foundation.  This powerful collaboration is a testament to the kind of desire and energy Edmontonians have in changing lives in our city,” said Don Iveson, Mayor of the City of Edmonton. “Indeed, by working together, we can overcome community challenges in strength and numbers. And, yes, poverty is next.”  

In addition to the announcement of the leadership match program, attendees also learned about another match program that will be launched by the Edmonton Community Foundation early next year.  

“I’m also pleased to share today that there is more good news!  There will be another matching grant program coming in the very near future,” announced Kouri.  “The final details will be released as we move into the New Year in 2016, but I can share today that the Edmonton Community Foundation have established a similar matching grant program for all major donations ranging between $10,000 to $25,000 received from individuals and corporations.”

Another highlight of the event was Canadian keynote Tonika “Toni” Morgan who shared her inspiring journey, from Homeless to Harvard, about growing up in poverty and the enormous challenges she overcame through personal determination and support from community organizations.  

Residents who aren’t part of workplace campaigns, but who wish to show their support in addressing poverty in our community, can make donations online at myunitedway.ca or by calling the local United Way office at 780-990-1000.

For more information on United Way’s Impact Scorecard or the Leadership Match Program, please visit myunitedway.ca.