Coats for Kids and Families Launches at Oil Kings Game

People from around the capital region asked to donate coats and winter items.

EDMONTON, AB – Sunday, October 4th, outside Rexall Place, United Way and Page The Cleaner, in partnership with the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, kicked off the 24th annual Coats for Kids & Families campaign – a program that provides warm coats and other winter items to men, women and children in the Alberta Capital Region.

“It’s hard to imagine enduring our winter months without the appropriate clothing, but for many of the people living in poverty in our community, that is a cold, harsh reality. Last year we distributed 5,800 coats and we anticipate the need will be just as great this year,” said Jenn Dermott, Program Coordinator, Coats for Kids and Families. “Working with the generosity of our partners and the people in the Capital Region, we will work to ensure that no one is left out in the cold.”

From October 1st to December 15th, winter items can be dropped off at Page The Cleaner locations throughout the Alberta Capital Region.

“Helping to provide clean, warm coats for people in our community is something that makes all of us at Page The Cleaner feel very proud. Every year, we look forward to this event and being able to give back in such a meaningful way,” said Jim Maurais, Corporate Sales Manager, Page The Cleaner. “It’s amazing to think that, over the past 24 years, we’ve cleaned over 215,000 coats through this program.”

Once cleaned, the coats are sent to United Way’s In-Kind Exchange for sorting by numerous volunteers and then distributed throughout the community by United Way and partner organizations.

In addition to the drop-off boxes at Page The Cleaner, Oil Kings game patrons are asked to bring winter items to the December 13th game at Rexall Place.

“For over five years, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) has been a proud supporter of United Way’s Coats for Kids & Families campaign. This hockey season, we’ll be working hard once again to help keep the Capital Region warm for families in our community,” said Natalie Minckler, Executive Director, EOCF. “To help achieve this, fans and supporters are invited to bring new or gently-used warm winter coats to the Edmonton Oil Kings game on Sunday, December 13 versus the Medicine Hat Tigers.”
 
The Coats for Kids & Families campaign is presented by United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, Page The Cleaner, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation and Global Edmonton. Community Sponsors include: ABC Press, Virgin Radio, Edmonton Examiner, and the Edmonton Sun.

The campaign runs from October 1st to December 15th, 2015. For a complete list of drop off locations or to receive a coat, community members can visit: www.coatsforkidsandfamilies.ca.

Media Contact: Jenn Dermott, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region
780-443-8396 (direct) 780-394-1221 (cell) or jdermott (at) myunitedway.ca

MY UNITED WAY VOICE CONTEST BACK FOR A SECOND YEAR

Winner to be decided by community-wide online vote.

ST. ALBERT, AB – On Thursday, September 24th, United Way in partnership with Hot 107FM and PlanIt Sound, launched the 2nd edition of My United Voice, a Capital Region-wide contest to find the next voice against poverty.

“We came up with the idea of a contest and launched the first one in September 2014, because we really wanted to do something different to engage more people in United Way’s campaign,” stated R.J. Cui, CEO of PlanIt Sound. “We were blown away by the response we got from our community and their willingness to use their style and genre on the topic of poverty.”

Building off the success of the inaugural year, United Way decided to bring the contest back again, and give more people an opportunity to share their voice against poverty.

Entries will be accepted from September 24th through October 30th, 2015. Singers, rappers and spoken word artists are invited to take a stand against poverty by uploading a YouTube video of their submission, for a chance to win a fully-sponsored prize package valued at $10,000, including:

  • Professionally recorded demo and performance coaching with PlanIt Sound
  • $2,500 cash prize* from AltaPro Electric
  • Top ten showcase on HMV stage at West Edmonton Mall
  • Top 3 performance and winner announcement at United Way’s Red Tie Gala
  • Artist highlight video
  • Red carpet-ready treatment with clothing, jewelry, hair & make up provided by Mr. Derk, Who Cares Wear, Hunt Amor and Pose Salon

* Cash prize must go towards items that will help enhance the artist's career (i.e. music equipment, lessons or schooling, performance attire, etc.)

“When we launched the contest last year we had no idea what to expect,” said Mike Kluttig, Vice President of Community Engagement at United Way. “It was so inspiring in the number of submissions that came in, the number of stories we heard. We got everything we hoped for, and more, but knew it was only the beginning.”

Last year’s winner, Bill LeBlanc a.k.a.“Rellik,” was chosen in a community-wide vote, after the top five videos were selected by a panel of judges, from nearly 40 submissions. Rellik shared his own personal story of poverty through a song called “My Voice.”

“I remember growing up in a low-income household, we struggled to get by. I knew people that were living in shelters or on the streets,” recalls Rellik, 2014 My United Way Voice winner. “I think poverty gets swept under the rug by a lot of people. The contest is so important because it brings light to an important issue.”

For more information on the My United Way Voice contest, please visit myunitedwayvoice.ca.
Download a press kit http://bit.ly/voicepresskit

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.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
For more information or to coordinate interviews, please contact:
Nancy Critchley
Director, Communications
United Way of the Alberta Capital Region
p. 780-443-8381 c. 780-909-1794
ncritchley@myunitedway.ca

ENGINEERS TACKLE ANOTHER BIG PROJECT FOR THEIR COMMUNITY

United Way’s Engineering Day of Caring reaches 10 year milestone.

EDMONTON, AB. – On Friday, September 18th at 8:00 a.m., the 10th annual Engineering Day of Caring kicked off with one of the most ambitious construction projects in the history of the event. Volunteers from 18 engineering firms throughout the capital region gathered at Northstar Apartments to assemble a community playground, resurface a deck, build garden boxes and cold frame (miniature greenhouse).  With this overwhelming show of support from volunteers, all from the engineering sector, the project will only take one day to complete.

The Engineering Day of Caring is a collaboration of the engineering sector that aims to strengthen communities across the Alberta Capital Region, in partnership with United Way. Volunteers from local engineering firms work together to complete a large-scale project for an agency in our community, with all costs of materials and labour covered by the firms themselves.

This year’s project will benefit the residents of Northstar Apartments - a 62 unit apartment building located in Northeast Edmonton that is owned and operated by Boyle Street Community Services and its partner Leston Holdings.  The building houses individuals and families with low-incomes who receive rent subsidize as well as people who pay market rent.  Northstar Apartments seeks to create an environment in which each person is supported and enriched by their inclusion in the community.

“Boyle Street Community Services appreciates the opportunity afforded to us by United Way and the many engineering firms who are engaged in this excellent program,” says Jordan Reiniger, Director of Programs and Development.

The Engineering Day of Caring steering committee selected the project to help create a positive and safe outdoor space for residents, to help foster and promote healthy living and active lifestyles.

The engineering community is proud to support United Way’s mission to create pathways out of poverty. Cumulative support over the past 10 years has involved 21 engineering firm, 6500 volunteer hours and raised $11.6 million for United Way community partners.

To learn more about how you can get involved in your community, visit myunitedway.ca.

2015 Engineering Day of Caring Participants
AECOM, Associated Engineering, Apega, Bantrel, C-Fer, Cosyn, Enbridge, Fluor, ISL, Jacobs, JV Driver Group, Williams Engineering, Magna IV, Stantec, ONEC, Tetra Tech, Thurber, Worley Parsons

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.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Greg Wengreniuk, P.Eng.
Managing Senior Principal
Stantec Consulting Ltd.
(780) 917-8567 (w)
(780) 231-9162 (c)
Greg.wengreniuk@stantec.com

UNITED WAY LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN WITH $1 MILLION MATCHED DONATION PROGRAM FROM EDMONTON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

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.

United Way Working to Meet Increased Demand for Backpacks

Edmonton, Alberta – July 22, 2015 – Dozens of  United Way volunteers gathered at the InKind Exchange on Wednesday to build backpacks for the 2015-16 school year, in support of United Way’s Tools for School initiative.  The program provides backpacks filled with school supplies to students in need from kindergarten through to grade 12.  Volunteers sort and organize donated supplies into backpacks to distribute to children and youth in 30 communities throughout Alberta Capital Region.
 
“We are excited to have individuals from our community joining us to build backpacks to support children and youth in our community,” says Jenn Dermott, Tools for School Program Coordinator.  “Without the volunteers we would be unable to keep up with the increasing demand for backpacks.”
 
For several reasons, such as greater community awareness of Tools for School along with the fact that 40,000 children in the Alberta Capital Region are living in poverty, the program has already received more requests for backpacks than last year, even at this early stage.
 
“Last year we distributed 10,318 backpacks, but we’ve already received 10,417 requests for backpacks throughout the Capital Region, so we will distribute more than the previous year,” says Dermott.  “In order to meet the greater demand, we rely on donations and volunteers.”
 
Donations of cash or new schools supplies can be made at any Staples in the Alberta Capital Region or online at the Tools for School website. All school supplies donated and 100% of all monetary contributions to Tools for School are used for the program.  A complete list of approved school supplies and volunteer options can be found at www.toolsforschool.ca.
 
Thank you to our Tools for School Community Partner, Staples and to our community sponsors, ABC Press, City, Edmonton Sun, Edmonton Examiner, and Newcap Radio (CFCW, Capital FM, K-97).
 
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.

 

Community Members Team Up with At-Risk Youth in Sixth Annual UDodge Tournament

Edmonton, Alberta – April 1, 2015. The sound of whizzing dodgeballs could be heard for miles at Northlands Expo Centre Hall F, for United Way’s sixth annual UDodge tournament.  The community dodgeball tournament was created through a collaborative partnership between the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) and United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, with the goal of building relationships between youth and mentors.
 
EPS sees the event as a way to connect with youth, by establishing positive relationships and building potential mentorship opportunities. “This event can have a profound impact on at-risk youth and their future success.  It’s always great to see all the fun being had and relationships being formed,” says EPS Sergeant Michelle Horchuk. “We all leave the tournament with a new understanding for each other and greater respect for community.”
 
United Way’s Senior Vice-President, Allan Undheim and City Councillor, Scott McKeen welcomed participants to the competition. “As a community we are stronger together and benefit from each other’s support,” says Undheim. “By choosing to be here today, you are contributing to the health and wellness of our community.”
 
Ten teams made up of youth and adult players, vied for their chance of being named to 2015 UDodge champions.  “It’s great to see so many of the same faces coming back year after year,” says UDodge Coordinator, Jenn Dermott. “It shows that people really feel that this event is making an impact in their lives.”

Participating teams include youth and corporate community members who represent ATB Financial, Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area, Compugen, the Edmonton Police Service, Enbridge, Enterprise Holdings, Epcor, FIRMA Foreign Exchange, Imperial Oil, Northlands, PWC Canada, Saavia, Teggler Youth Centre and United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.

About UDodge
 
UDodge is a community-based event supported by the Edmonton Police Service and United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. It was created to connect youth and adults, to encourage cross-peer interaction and community spirit through play.

Contact:              

Jennifer Herrick
United Way
Tel. 780.863.3583
Email : jherrick@myunitedway.ca

TREMENDOUS SUPPORT SHOWN TOWARD POVERTY REDUCTION

United Way honours supporters and reveals record setting achievement of $24.9 million

EDMONTON, AB – On Thursday, March 5, a sold-out crowd gathered at the Edmonton Expo Centre for United Way’s annual Red Tie Gala, 2014 Awards of Distinction.  Along, with the announcement of a record-breaking achievement, guests were treated to musical entertainment from the winner and finalists of the inaugural My United Way Voice contest, as determined by a community-wide vote.

The awards celebrated many outstanding contributions from organizations, individuals and volunteers to this year’s campaign; but most importantly, called attention to the impact these contributions have in our community toward helping solve poverty.  

Campaign Chair, Ruth Kelly, President and CEO of Venture Publishing, thanked community volunteers, donors and organizations who held workplace campaigns in 2014, highlighting their incredible impact.

“As I’m sure you’re aware, in challenging economic times, more families and individuals risk falling into poverty,” Kelly said.  “But I’m honoured to be able to tell you that even in a time of economic uncertainty, together, we have raised an incredible $24.9 million!”  Kelly noted that $14.3 million of that total – was contributed by employees through workplace giving campaigns.  

She went on to point out the importance of contributions from all sectors and people right across our community, which includes $3.3 million from community-wide donors not associated with a workplace campaign, $1 million in grants from provincial and municipal governments, and $6.3 million from local corporations.  

United Way was also proud to honour three organizations with the Award of Excellence, recognizing campaigns that raised more than $1 million.  Sharing in this prestigious spotlight were: the Provincial Employees’ United Way Campaign ($1.3 million), Enbridge Pipelines Inc. ($1.65 million), and PCL Construction ($2.9 million).

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.

To learn more about United Way and its work with more than 55 community partners, please visit myunitedway.ca

Bissell Centre Opens A Satellite Office on Stony Plain Road

Thirty Bissell Centre staff move into United Way building.

EDMONTON, AB – On November 1, 2014, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region welcomed staff of Bissell Centre to their new satellite office in United Way’s building on Stony Plain Road and 152 street.  The provision of this office space is an in-kind allocation from United Way to Bissell so that they may offer crucial support and services, through Homeless to Homes (H2H) and 24/7 Mobile Assistance Program (MAP).
 
“United Way has always been responsive to the community’s needs and supportive of the Bissell Centre’s mission, of empowering people to move from poverty to prosperity,” says Mark Holmgren, CEO, Bissell Centre. “By providing this space, United Way allows us to establish staff in different locations to help improve relationships with our clients in the west end of Edmonton, as well as create new ones.”
 
The Stony Plain office will house approximately thirty Bissell employees, focused on addressing housing issues for individuals with multiple barriers, as well as offering multiple supports for people with complex needs.  

“Stony Plain Road is a great location for us to be able to deliver our programs, because the need for our services stretches far beyond the downtown core,” says Matt Ashdown, Crisis Diversion and Housing Manger, Bissell Centre.  “Another benefit of having the 24/7 MAP and H2H programs in the same building is that it allows our teams to work more closely together which will help enhance our ability to respond to our client’s needs.”

“The creation of this office space is an example of how United Way and the Bissell Centre are working side-by-side to help improve the lives of people in our community,” says Anne Smith, President and CEO, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.  “It’s another level of support beyond last year’s funding of the Community Bridge Program and the emergency financial assistance provided by United Way following the Bissell Thrift Shop fire in September 2013.”
 
In addition to this responsive financial assistance, United Way provides regular funding to the Bissell Centre’s Essential and Community Support Services and Volunteer Services programs.

About Homeless to Homes (H2H)
Homeless to Homes (H2H) is based on principles of Housing First which assert that housing should be addressed prior to any other barrier in an individual’s life. Participants in H2H are provided assistance in finding and setting up a market apartment in the neighborhood of their choice. Once moved in, an H2H Follow-up Support Worker works with the participant to develop a Service Plan with the ultimate goal of increased housing stability.

About 24/7 Mobile Assistance Program (MAP)
In partnership with REACH, Homeward Trust, EPS, EMS and 211, the 24/7 Mobile Assistance Program (MAP) team is on Edmonton’s streets 24 hours a day, 365 days a year responding to people in need. The MAP team offers immediate help, freeing police and ambulances to focus more on emergencies, and connects people to housing and follow-up supports to deal with the underlying causes of their crises.

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.

Community on the Right Track to Help Solve Poverty

Thousands of lives changed already as United Way reaches campaign mid-point.
 
EDMONTON, AB – Thursday morning, hundreds of community members, dressed in their best western attire, came together to celebrate the tremendous progress of workplace fundraising campaigns, at United Way’s Round Up Breakfast at the Shaw Conference Centre. 

The sound of train whistles filled the room as it was announced that $14.3 million has been raised to date, but the real focus was on the thousands of people living in poverty who will receive help – and the positive impact that donations are making, right here in the Alberta Capital Region. 

2014 Campaign Chair, Ruth Kelly, President and Publisher of Venture Publishing, commended everyone for their efforts so far and encouraged them to keep the momentum going. “We are not done yet – we have many steps to go before the end of this year – and even larger strides to make if we are to create the kind of impact we have set-out to achieve over the next three years,” she said.  “But I have every bit of confidence and faith in this community – in all of you – to make significant inroads to achieving these milestones,” said Kelly.

United Way has traditionally set an annual campaign fundraising target, but this year -- with the release of a new community impact scorecard -- longer-term goals have been set for both dollars raised and impact on the lives of people living in poverty.  While this year's campaign is expected to exceed the $23 million mark, the goal is for the annual campaign target to reach the $30 million dollar level by 2016.  The fundraising targets will be significant, but the greatest achievements will be seen through the 22,000 additional people who stand to be helped over this three-year time period.  This goes above and beyond the lives already being impacted through strategies and programs outlined in the scorecard.

Over 500 people attended the breakfast event, including volunteers, CEOs, workplace campaign donors, community leaders and dignitaries from the Alberta Capital Region.  Several companies were acknowledged for their outstanding efforts, including, Enbridge Pipelines who raised nearly $1.5 million for community and PCL Construction and its employees, who once again broke their own fundraising record by raising $2.9 million this year.

To learn more about United Way, the community impact scorecard and specific targets over the next three years, please visit myunitedway.ca.
 
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.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Nancy Critchley, Director, Communications, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region     
Office: 780-443-8381 Mobile: 780-909-1794 Email: ncritchley@myunitedway.ca      

PCL Donates Thousands of Books Collected from United Way Campaign

Edmonton, AB (October 15, 2014) – This Friday, PCL Construction will be delivering over 5000 children’s books collected during its recent United Way campaign to the Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre.  This effort is to help increase the number of children entering school with age-appropriate early literacy skills. Representatives from Norwood, United Way, and PCL will be on hand for media interviews.  

Date: FRIDAY OCTOBER 17, 2014
Time: 1:30pm
Location: 9516 114 Avenue, Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre
Visual: Delivering boxes of books and bookshelves into the centre. Stocking book shelves. Norwood plans on having kids/family to be reading and available to speak to as well.

About the PCL family of companies

PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in 31 major centres. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of more than $7.5 billion, making PCL the largest contracting organization in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Watch us build at pcl.com.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Shane Jones
Media Relations Specialist
PCL Construction
(780) 733-5107
srjones@pcl.com

PCL Construction Breaks Own United Way Fundraising Record

Edmonton, AB (Oct. 8, 2014) – PCL Construction’s Edmonton-area companies wrapped up their annual United Way fundraising campaign by reaching the highest total they’ve ever raised. An amazing $2.9 million dollars will be donated towards efforts to solve poverty in the Alberta Capital Region.

“Once again this campaign showed the dedication and compassion of PCLers in giving back to their community,” said PCL campaign chair and construction manager Mike Staines. “I couldn’t be more proud of my colleagues and our entire organization for making this monumental achievement possible to support the United Way and its member agencies.”

This campaign’s record-breaking total of $2.9 million eclipses last year’s record donation of $2.45 million. Once again, this is the largest donation from a private-sector contributor ever received by the local United Way. Including this year’s campaign total, PCL has now donated $17.7 million to Alberta’s Capital Region Agency.

“When we think about collective action and leadership in our community, PCL is always top of mind. Not only are they leaders in their field of business, they are truly leaders in community support and philanthropy,” said Anne Smith, president and CEO, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. “They set a lofty goal and we were confident, based on their incredible support in past years, they would meet or beat it. But when they revealed a total of nearly $3 million dollars it surpassed anything we expected, and demonstrated, once again, how committed PCL is to our community,” continued Smith. “The leadership and commitment from PCL will play a big role in helping thousands of people find their pathway out of poverty.” 

PCL’s annual campaign involves employees taking part in numerous special donation events, giving money, time, and designated items. This year, PCLers also donated over 10,000 children’s books, which will go to disadvantaged children in our community.

“We are so excited to have an opportunity to be part of PCL's literacy initiative,” said Bev Parks, executive director for the Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre. “Having a company in our community that sees literacy as one of our society's foundational blocks speaks to its dedication and commitment to all children and families.”

PCL began partnering with United Way in 1969. Districts throughout North America take part in annual campaigns to help raise money for local United Way agencies. Last year, PCL Construction donated over $7 million dollars to agencies in Canada and the US.

About PCL Construction

PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in 31 major centers. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of more than $7.5 billion, making PCL the largest contracting organization in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Watch us build at PCL.com.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Shane Jones
Media Relations Specialist
PCL family of companies
(780) 733-5107
srjones@pcl.com

United Way introduces first-ever impact scorecard

Campaign kickoff highlights three-year goal and specific impact targets.

EDMONTON, AB – On Wednesday, September 17th, close to 900 community supporters gathered at the Shaw Conference Centre for United Way of the Alberta Capital Region’s annual fundraising kickoff.  

With a theme of “Poverty is Solvable,” this year’s goal announcement was very different than in the past.  Instead of putting a spotlight on the annual fundraising target, the goal focused on targets outlined in an Impact Scorecard and the number of people who will be helped, using a cumulative three-year campaign target.  

In step with commitments shared at the June 2013 launch of United Way’s new direction for Creating Pathways Out of Poverty, the organization spent the last year working with partners and shaping five impact strategies.  Reaching the targets set out in the strategies will help our community move beyond managing the symptoms of poverty and closer toward the vision of eliminating it.

“Our vision isn’t just about stopping poverty from growing. In one of the most prosperous regions in North America, we know that poverty should not exist at all,” stated 2014 Campaign Chair, Ruth Kelly, President and CEO of Venture Publishing.  “We are inspired by the work that has been done, but now, we need to aspire to do more – that’s exactly what these five strategies propose.”

Based on United Way’s three focus areas – education, income and wellness, the Impact Scorecard states the number of people currently being helped through existing support, which must continue.  But it goes further to share the number of additional people who will be helped over the next three-year period, with support from our community.

“If we reach all the targets set out in the scorecard, by 2016 we will have helped an additional 22,000 people in our community,” explained Ruth Kelly in her address to the audience. “The new United Way has a clear cause…a bold vision…and, as you can see through the scorecard, strategies that will help move us further along than we’ve ever been in United Way’s focus areas of Education, Income and Wellness.”    

She also stressed that people cannot be helped without finances in place to deliver the supports, but said that the mindset must be moved from the number being a dollar cap and instead, focus it on the people who need help.  She challenged the crowd to help as many people as possible, so instead of bringing forward a financial target, she posed the question: “How many people do you want to help in our community?”     

In addition to the presentation of the Impact Scorecard, comedian and keynote speaker, Don Burnstick spoke about his own struggles with poverty.   Burnstick told the story of his life living on the streets of Edmonton, plagued by alcohol and drug addiction and how, with support and help, he overcame these complex issues. 

Today, he enjoys a clean life, and focuses on bringing joy and laughter to others.  

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, and the newly released Impact Scorecard, please visit myunitedway.ca.

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.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
For more information or to coordinate interviews, please contact:

Nancy Critchley
Director, Communications
United Way of the Alberta Capital Region
p. 780-443-8381  c. 780-909-1794
ncritchley@myunitedway.ca  

PCL Construction’s Annual Crane Pull for United Way

Edmonton, AB - The PCL family of companies will be holding an event to launch its 2014 United Way fundraising campaign.  PCL is the Capital Region’s largest contributor to the United Way.

Date: Tuesday September 16
Time: 11:45am arrival… event begins at 12:05pm
Location: 5410 – 99 Street, PCL parking lot (West side of Main building)
Visual: Teams of PCL employees will be pulling a 35 ton crane 100 feet.  PCL Campaign Chair Mike Staines will be available for comment.

About the PCL family of companies

PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in 31 major centers. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of more than $7.5 billion, making PCL the largest contracting organization in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Watch us build at www.pcl.com.


For media inquiries, please contact:
Shane Jones
Media Relations Specialist
PCL Construction
(780) 733-5107
srjones@pcl.com

UNITED WAY PROVIDES EMERGENCY FUNDING FOR DISTRESS LINE

Funding will ensure help is there 24 hours-a-day

EDMONTON, AB – United Way of the Alberta Capital Region is providing one-time emergency funding of $48,000 to the Crisis Support Centre, a program of The Support Network, to ensure the Distress Line remains open 24 hours-a-day.  This funding will take the program to the end of March 2015, at which time ongoing needs and funding options will be reviewed.

During the month of August alone, the Distress Line experienced numerous call increases compared to the same time in the previous year.  This included:

  • 16% in calls related to mental health concerns;
  • 29% in moderate-risk suicide related calls;
  • 6% in third-party suicide risk assessments;
  • 22% in high-risk third-party calls; and
  • 200% in low-risk third-party suicide calls.

“Suicide prevention has been a topic of growing concern, with the most recent local attention being on specific projects, such as the work the City of Edmonton is doing on the High Level Bridge, and support programs like the Distress Line,” explains Nancy McCalder, Executive Director of The Support Network.  “This funding will help us ensure that, when someone in distress calls for help, there will be someone on the other end of the line.”

The funds will be used to boost tele-interpreter services, used as an essential tool for callers whose first language is not English; and to ensure that skilled personnel are on hand to handle the higher call volumes any time – day or night.

“Along with planned funding that we provide to over 50 social service partners, we do our best to prepare for unforeseen emergencies that connect to our work in the community,” notes Allan Undheim, Vice President of Community Building and Investment for United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.  “This funding is critical in supporting community members when they’re at their most vulnerable, and we’re very pleased our emergency reserves were there to help make it happen.”

This funding is in step with United Way’s efforts to support community members struggling with many issues related to poverty in the Alberta Capital Region.  “A life in poverty is full of stress and can often lead to mental health issues that are very hard to overcome without the right help,” said Undheim.  “The Distress Line can make all the difference in facing some of the most personal and sensitive challenges individuals can experience.”

Over the past year, United Way also provided emergency funding support to the Bissell Centre to help relocate and continue providing services through their Thrift Shoppe after the original location was extensively damaged by a fire.

This most recent announcement for the Distress Line comes at a time when the community is participating in Lift the Silence Suicide Awareness Week, which takes place from September 8 to 12.  It includes a full week of activities along with a provincial campaign to help people spot the signs of someone in distress, start the conversation and encourage them to reach out for help.  It is expected that these efforts will also increase call volumes and, with the right support, decrease the number of suicides in the region.

For community members in distress – or for those who know someone in distress – the Crisis Support Centre’s Distress Line will be there at 780-482-4357.

About United Way
Working with the largest network of partners in the region, United Way brings community members together to create pathways out of poverty.  With a focus on lasting solutions, local impact and measurable results, we can move closer to the vision of a poverty-free community.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Nancy Critchley
Communications Director
United Way of the Alberta Capital Region
p. 780-443-8381  c. 780-909-1794
ncritchely@myunitedway.ca

Nancy McCalder
Executive Director
The Support Network
p. 780-482-0198  c. 780.952.6262
nmccalder@thesupportnetwork.com

United Way Delivers Two Decades of Tools of School

Edmonton, Alberta – At 10:00 a.m. this morning in front of Staples Terra Losa, United Way launched its 20th year of the annual Tools for School campaign. The United Way Tools for School initiative provides backpacks filled with school supplies to students in need from Kindergarten through to Grade 12.

Over the past two decades, and with the generous support of the public and business community, United Way has delivered more than 73, 000 backpacks to 30 communities in our Capital Region. The program helps students start the school year with the basic school supplies needed for a positive experience, while also helping to alleviate families of some of the financial stress associated with the costs of sending kids to school.

Staples is a proud supporter of the program. “Partnering in our community to ensure children receive the necessary school supplies for a successful school year touches all of our associates deeply,” said Irene Palumbi, District Manager at Staples Canada. “We cherish our involvement with such a world class campaign and could not be more passionate about ensuring its success.”
    
The annual campaign runs from July 15 – August 31, 2014.  Donations of cash or new school supplies can be made at Staples locations throughout the Alberta Capital Region.  All donations go toward purchasing the necessary school supplies for K to 12 students. Volunteers sort and organize donated school supplies into backpacks and once completed, the backpacks are distributed.  A complete list of approved school supplies and volunteer options can be found at www.toolsforschool.ca.

“There is a need for backpacks and school supplies each year.  Last year, we built and distributed over 8,000 kits.  This year, we will build 10,000 backpacks to meet the incoming requests from school districts,” said Jenn Dermott, Tools for School Program Coordinator. “If your child needs a backpack, you can contact their school or call 211.”

Thank you to our Community Partner, Staples and to our Community Sponsors, ABC Press, City, Edmonton Sun, Edmonton Examiner, First Student Canada, and Newcap Radio (CFCW, Capital FM, K-97).

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.

Having the Heart to Tackle Poverty

FORT SASKATCHEWAN, AB- On Tuesday, May 27th, seven companies from the industrial heartland joined forces with the City of Fort Saskatchewan to officially launch the inaugural Heartland Challenge. The challenge is in support of United Way of the Alberta Capital Region and its efforts to end poverty.
 
“The Heartland Challenge isn’t a competition in the traditional sense,” said Kevin Melnyk, plant manager for Agrium and Chair of the Heartland Challenge. “It is a challenge to each other to make a difference in the Alberta Capital Region – starting right here – in our own community.”
 
The Heartland Challenge recognizes that poverty exists in every community. Sudden illness, lack of education, domestic violence, transportation challenges and intergenerational poverty are some of the many reasons people fall into poverty. The participants in the Heartland Challenge believe that, working together, they can make a difference.
 
More than a fund-raising effort, the Heartland Challenge is about giving back to the community. Employees will be encouraged to roll up their sleeves to get involved in projects, donation drives, and other volunteer efforts that will help make the region better for all. The challenge encourages everyone to be a part of the solution. Over the coming months, a number of activities are planned, including bus tours of social agencies, serving lunch to seniors at Operation Friendship and Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS), and a book donation drive for Next Steps School in Fort Saskatchewan.
 
Participants in the Heartland Challenge are (to date):
Agrium; City of Fort Saskatchewan; Dow Chemical Canada ULC/Dow AgroSciences/MEGlobal Canada; Evonik Canada Inc.; Pembina Pipeline Corporation; Shell Scotford; Sherritt International Corporation and Umicore Canada Inc.
 
About United Way
United Way brings community members together to create pathways out of poverty. Working with more than 55 community partners, United Way is committed to ending poverty in our region by addressing the root causes, by focusing on three primary areas: Education, Income and Wellness. To learn more about United Way, please visit myunitedway.ca.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Nancy Critchley Director, Communications United Way of the Alberta Capital Region
Office: 780-443-8381
Mobile: 780-909-1794 ncritchley@myunitedway.ca

Community Members Team Up with At-Risk Youth

Fifth annual UDodge tournament

Edmonton, Alberta – April 3, 2014. It was raining red dodgeballs at Northlands Expo Centre, Hall C on Thursday at the fifth annual UDodge tournament. The community dodgeball tournament was created through a collaborative partnership between the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) and United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, with the goal of building relationships between youth and mentors.
 
EPS sees the benefit in supporting UDodge as a way to connect with youth, establish positive relationships and open the door to mentorship. This can have a profound impact on at-risk youth and their future success. “Throughout the day, barriers are broken down and relationships are built,” says EPS Sergeant Michelle Horchuk. “We all leave the tournament with a new understanding and respect for others in the community.”
 
United Way’s Senior Vice-President, Allan Undheim, welcomed participants to the competition. “United Way believes in this community and the power of our collective action. Today, you have made the choice to be part of that action – to contribute to the health and well-being of every individual in this community. Thank you for choosing to be here today.”
 
Eleven mixed teams of youth and adult players, played for their chance of being named to 2014 UDodge champions. “We are thrilled to have so many more teams this year,” says UDodge Coordinator, Jenn Dermott. “Last year, we had seven teams, so interest is growing. It’s great to see our community’s commitment to youth.”
 
Participating teams include youth and corporate community members who represent ATB Financial, Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area, Compugen, the Edmonton Police Service, Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton, Enbridge, Enterprise Holdings, FIRMA Foreign Exchange, Imperial Oil, Inland Cement, Northlands, PWC Canada, REACH Edmonton, Saavia, Stantec, Teggler Youth Centre and United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.

About UDodge
UDodge is a community-based project supported by the Edmonton Police Service and United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. It was created to connect youth and adults, to encourage cross-peer interaction and community spirit through play.
 
Contact: Jenn Dermott
United Way of the Alberta Capital Region
Tel. 780-394-1221
Email jdermott@myunitedway.ca

The annual Mac&Cheese Luncheon celebrates 19 years of outstanding support from Edmonton’s business community

Edmonton, Alberta – March 20, 2014. The Inner City Agencies Foundation (ICAF) celebrated Inner City Awareness Week by hosting the 19th Annual Mac&Cheese Luncheon. Once again, Edmonton’s business community and governing officials came out to show their support for the work of ICAF in Edmonton’s inner city.
 
His Worship Don Iveson, Mayor of the City of Edmonton, officially proclaimed March 16 - 22, 2014 as Inner City Awareness Week. Mayor Iveson was also the keynote speaker at the Mac&Cheese Luncheon this year, held at The Westin.
 
“The Mac&Cheese Luncheon is a display of Edmonton’s community spirit,” said Garth Von Hagen, Chair of ICAF. “That spirit continues to support the inner city agencies and continues to support the people in our community that need it the most.”
 
Also in attendance at this year’s event in addition to Mayor Iveson were: Deputy Premier Dave Hancock, Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education Government of Alberta; Hon. Mike Lake P.C., M.P. Edmonton – Mill Woods – Beaumont; Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Industry, James Rajotte, M.P. Edmonton – Leduc; Scott McKeen, Edmonton City Councillor, Ward 6; Fire Chief Ken Block and Deputy Fire Chief Russell Croome.

This year’s platinum sponsors include: Aquila Productions Inc., CTV, Dentons Canada LLP, Peggy & Roger Gouin, The Great-West Life Assurance Company, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, Saville Group, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region and Vision Creative Inc. Additional sponsors include: PCL Construction, the Reynolds Tkachuk Group at ScotiaMcLeod, Dr. Eric & Elexis Schloss, and the Allard Foundation.
 
About the Inner City Agencies Foundation
The Inner City Agencies Foundation (ICAF) is a joint initiative that combines the efforts of seven inner city agencies to fundraise for and provide a network of services to alleviate poverty-related problems such as housing, addiction, healthcare, nutrition and education in Edmonton.
ICAF initiatives comprise three major events:

  • Inner City Awareness Week: March 16 – 22, 2014
  • Inner City Roast Beef Dinner: March 16, 2014
  • Mac&Cheese Luncheon: March 20, 2014

 
Contact: Garth D. Von Hagen
Chair, Inner City Agencies Foundation
Tel. 780.907.8364
E-mail. gvonhagen@me.com

Inner City Agencies Foundation (ICAF) serves approximately 800 meals to people at Annual Inner City Roast Beef Dinner!

Edmonton, Alberta – March 16, 2014. The Inner City Agencies Foundation (ICAF) kicked off Inner City Awareness Week by serving approximately 800 hot roast beef dinners to Edmonton’s inner city residents. Boyle Street Plaza (9538 – 103 A Avenue) was crowded with individuals and families who were lined up to be first through the doors when they opened today at 1:00 p.m.
 
“Our agencies are committed to helping the people in our community who need it most,” said Garth Von Hagen, Chair of ICAF. “One meal in itself doesn’t solve someone’s challenges, but it’s our way of reminding our guests here today that their fellow Edmontonians do care, and that there is hope that their personal situation can improve.”
 
This is the 14th consecutive year that ICAF has provided the roast beef dinner to kick off Inner City Awareness Week. Mayor Iveson officially proclaimed March 16 – 22 as Inner City Awareness Week; the initiative has been supported by the City of Edmonton since 1995. Celebrity and guest servers at the 2014 Inner City Roast Beef Dinner included:

His Worship Don Iveson, Mayor of the City of Edmonton,
Hon. Mike Lake P.C., M.P. Edmonton – Mill Woods – Beaumont, Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Industry
Scott McKeen, Edmonton City Councillor, Ward 6
Deputy Fire Chief Russell Croome
Shawn Bernard (AKA Feenix), Rap artist and Mac&Cheese inner city speaker

The Great-West Life Assurance Company is the 2014 Inner City Roast Beef Dinner sponsor. Supporters and corporate donors include; Hurley’s Meats, Italian Bakery, Italian Centre Shop Ltd., McCallum Printing Group Inc., NAIT – Professional Meat Cutting and Merchandising, NAIT – Food Services, River City Event Rentals, Ciné Audio Visual, Sunfresh Farms Ltd., Tim Hortons and Jake’s Framing.
 
The Inner City Agencies Foundation (ICAF) is a joint initiative that combines the efforts of seven inner city agencies to fundraise for and provide a network of services to alleviate poverty-related problems such as housing, addiction, healthcare, nutrition and education in Edmonton.
 
ICAF initiatives comprise three major events:

  • Inner City Awareness Week: March 16 – 22, 2014
  • Inner City Roast Beef Dinner March 16, 2014
  • Mac & Cheese Luncheon: March 20, 2014

 

Contact: Garth D. Von Hagen
Chair, Inner City Agencies Foundation
Tel. 780.907.8364
E-mail. gvonhagen@me.com

Record-breaking Campaign Achievement

Gala shines spotlight on incredible community spirit

EDMONTON, AB – A sold-out crowd gathered at the Edmonton Expo Centre to celebrate this year’s incredible campaign achievement: $23.3 million, the largest amount ever for United Way of the Alberta Capital Region!

2013 Campaign Chair, Gary Bosgoed, Sr. VP, WorleyParsons Canada addressed a crowd of nearly 700 guests and thanked the 5000 community volunteers, 35,000 donors and 500 organizations who ran workplace campaigns this year to reduce poverty in our region.  “I’ve been moved by the power and collective spirit that exists in this community,” Bosgoed said.  “Together, we can meet our audacious goal of ending poverty.”

The Red Tie Gala, Awards of Distinction was emceed by Breakfast Television co- host, Bridget Ryan and Breakfast Television news anchor, Courtney Theriault.  Awards were given to outstanding volunteers, organizations and campaign teams that exhibited significant growth, innovation, enthusiasm and staff participation rates. The Award of Excellence was given to four campaigns that raised more than $1 million each: Enbridge, PCL, the Provincial Employees’ United Way Campaign and new recipient for 2013, WorleyParsons Canada.

Councillor Amarjeet Sohi brought greetings on behalf of the City of Edmonton. Musical entertainment was provided by the Royal Canadian Artillery Band, Sean Sonego and Nuela Charles.  An inspiring art installation of black and white photographs told the stories of donors and the people in the community who have benefited from the assistance of various United Way-funded partner agencies. As well, a video was shown which explored the life-changing impact donations have in our community.

At the end of the evening, Gary Bosgoed officially turned the reins over to 2014 Campaign Chair, Ruth Kelly, President and CEO of Venture Publishing. Bosgoed remarked that his year as Chair was “an experience of a lifetime” and he knows, that with Ruth’s leadership, next year’s campaign will be equally as successful.

Working with more than 55 community partners, United Way is committed to ending poverty in our region by addressing the root causes, focusing on three primary areas: Education, Income and Wellness.

To learn more about United Way and its work with more than 55 community partners, please visit myunitedway.ca.

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.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Nancy Critchley, 
Director, Communications, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region Office: 780-443-8381  Mobile: 780-909-1794 
Email: ncritchley@myunitedway.ca