© Scott Anderson
The Swift Current United Way allocated $61,600 in funding to 11 of their member agencies, a total representing the funds generated during their fall 2013 fund-raising campaign.
The new year started with a bang for 11 of the member agencies of the Swift Current United Way, with the United Way allocating the $61,600 generated during their fall 2013 fund-raising campaign.
Back on Dec. 30 the United Way handed out funding amounts ranging from $600 to $10,000 during a celebration event to showcase their largest yearly allocation.
"We have so many agencies, and they do so many good things," Swift Current United Way Executive Director Darla Lindbjerg said. "We just want to showcase them and make them that much bigger and brighter to the community on what they do. But also to show when people donate to the United Way where their money goes, how many people benefit, and how many agencies work with us and do great things in the community."
"It's really encouraging for us to come together and be able to do this, but it's also really good for these agencies to keep their faces out there, keep people aware of what's going on," Lindbjerg said.
This year's allocations have continued a trend of gradual increasing increased support from the United Way, growing from $20,000 in 2010 to $30,000 in 2011 and last year reaching $49,500.
"It's partially on our campaign results, but it's also on the agencies that are requesting the funding, and what their needs are. And the outcomes they've had in the past," Lindbjerg said. "If we're able to work with them and we know that they're helping 300 people in the community, or feeding 20 people a day like Canadian Mental Health, that's significant and we're going to look at that and we're going base those allocations on that outcome."
Member agencies receiving funding included the Canadian Mental Health Association – Swift Current Branch, Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECIP), Saskatchewan Abilities Council – Swift Current Branch, Southwest Homes, the Family Resource Centre, St. John Ambulance, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Canadian Red Cross, plus the Canadian Paraplegic Association. While handing out this year's campaign funding the United Way also donated funds to the Swift Current Community Youth Initiative, plus they provided funding for the United Way Active Play Program in conjunction with the City of Swift Current.
The Swift Current United Way is the fundraising arm that has a wide impact through these agencies, but admittedly the United Way still has a perception issue in the community.
"It is amazing how many people don't know exactly what the United Way does or how many people we impact in the community, and even the fact that we're local. Some people think money gets sent overseas, when everything stays local."
Lindbjerg is hoping the United Way will be able to position themselves in a stronger position during Swift Current's Centennial year, where people will be looking to have an impact in the community.
"We hope in the future that people will continue to step up, continue to give to the United Way, and that these programs and services that are provided will continue to grow and be fully funded."
"They can donate to the United Way, but they can also give their time. We host a lot of events, and there are a lot of volunteer opportunities. And we can hook them up with some of these agencies that need the help. And the Day of Caring is just one of those examples. If there are individuals out there that want to get involved in the community, they want to make an impacted difference, we're happy to have them contact us and to work with us."
This coming year will be an important one for the agency, starting with the Day of Caring the first week of June and followed by the 2014 United Way Golf Classic will be held on June 13 at the Elmwood Golf Course.
The United Way is attempting to become a sustainable organization during the fundraising efforts, and already has already positioned themselves well to succeed.
"But because we're trying to stay sustainable and ensure that donations go into the community when they're received, and they don't get eaten up by administration costs," she said. "Last year we were .05 per cent administration costs, which is excellent. This year, because of not as many donations, those would have gone up. But we're trying to increase our events so that we can cover those costs."
"The one message I have heard from agencies in the community is they don't want to do that (start fundraising projects). They want to focus their efforts on programs and services within the community. From the business community I've also heard a message and that is we don't to have 20 different people coming to us for funding. We would like to have one person coming to us for funding, and they can do the allocations and they can do the work to find out where the need is in the community. That's what the United Way does."