EDMONTON, AB – United Way’s 2017 fundraising campaign celebrates stories of triumph shared by local people whose lives have been changed thanks to support from workplace and community-wide donors.

More than 700 United Way volunteers and donors gathered to officially launch the 2017 United Way Campaign at the Shaw Conference Centre on Thursday, September 21.

Three local stories are shared in United Way’s 2017 Campaign Video.

Keynote speaker Iman Gatti, a life coach, published author and certified grief recovery specialist, shared the incredible story of how she turned a childhood of tragedy and challenges into a life where she teaches others to grow. As a child in foster care, she benefitted from United Way-funded services to help her access some of life’s basic necessities. “Even though I never knew the strangers that were helping us, I was forever grateful for them and what they brought to our home,” she said.

United Way works with over 50 funded partners and agencies, delivering more than 100 programs to support thousands of individuals and families who are struggling in poverty in the Alberta Capital Region.

“Thanks to the generous supporters of United Way, everyone, even perhaps you or I, has services we can turn to in our time of need. United Way provides 100 per cent local solutions for local issues,” said Sarah Chan, 2017 United Way Campaign Co-Chair, and Edmonton’s first lady, an entrepreneur and teacher.

“The truth is -- poverty holds us all back. But we also know that if we join together, we will create a different future. We will create a community where every person gets a chance to take a positive pathway, out of poverty,” said Carman McNary, 2017 United Way Campaign Co-Chair, and Managing Partner at Dentons Canada LLP.

To help boost support for the cause, Edmonton Community Foundation announced a $1.5 million grant to match donations at the leadership level. “ECF is working together with United Way to inspire giving in support of the community’s shared vision to end poverty,” said Chandra Clarke, chair of Edmonton Community Foundation. “It is a powerful partnership in achieving this challenging goal.”

Mayor Don Iveson proclaimed September 21, 2017 as “United Way Day” in the City of Edmonton.

Mayor Gale Katchur of Fort Saskatchewan represented the Heartland Challenge, a unique initiative comprised of companies, agencies and municipalities working together to assist families and individuals in the region. Heartland Challenge was presenting sponsor of the Campaign Kickoff event. “We hope that the collaborative work of our dedicated employees and industry leaders can serve as inspiration for you as you move forward with the 2017 campaign,” she said.

People who wish to support the cause of fighting poverty in our community can make donations online at myunitedway.ca or by calling the local United Way office at 780-990-1000.

About United Way

United Way brings community members together to create pathways out of poverty and make the greatest impact possible on the most pressing social challenges in our community.