United Way of the Fraser Valley doubles donations

Ann Davis, Cyrus Centre and Sardis Doorway among recipients of program grants

Wayne Green

Wayne Green

Almost a quarter million dollars in funding was handed out to new and established social programs on Wednesday, from the United Way of the Fraser Valley.

Among them were seven programs operating here in Chilliwack, and three regional programs that have reach in this city.

“We want the best projects, because we want the best outcomes for the community,” said Wayne Green, executive director for the United Way of the Fraser Valley. The funding is referred to as the organization’s ‘Priority Grants’, and programs are selected that address either poverty reduction, affordable housing and homelessness, or ensuring children succeed from birth to age six.

The funding is directed to programs instead of organizations because the United Way aims to fund the programs that are doing the best work to improve the communities served.

Ann Davis Transition Society received funding for two programs. The first is a parenting time, parenting modeling program ($15,000) and an outreach program for girls in school ($13,922).

The Chilliwack Child and Youth Committee received $3,000 for an early childhood development screening program. The Cyrus Centre Ministries received $12,000 for their youth and family worker program. Pacific Community Resources Society was granted $10,000 for their new Learning to Lead Leadership and Resiliency Program, which targets at risk youth and aims to give them positive adventures and experiences.

Finally, the Sardis Doorway for Mothers and Children Society was awarded $3,200 for their skills development for single mothers.

Regionally, the Big Bunch Program operated by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley was given $2,790, the Fraser Valley Rent Assistance Project from the Mennonite Central Committee was given $15,000 and the Home to Stay Outreach Worker program by the new Raven’s Moon Resource Society was given $15,000.

Programs from Abbotsford, Agassiz, Mission, Hope and Boston Bar were also given funds. The United Way gave out more than double the amount distributed in 2014, Green said.

The funding is dispersed evenly based on population around the Fraser Valley, he explained. Representatives from each organization gathered on Wednesday for the announcement, in the Alumni Hall at Chilliwack secondary school.

United Way fundraises through donations, as well as a sponsorship grant from Prospera Credit Union. Prospera is the only Fraser Valley organization to specifically sponsor a Priority Project.

That sponsorship is one of numerous factors contributed to the increase in this year’s funding, he explained.

Green said 98 per cent of the funds comes from workplaces, either from employees or companies. Many businesses have an automatic payroll deduction, he explained.

This year, our largest corporate match was from Brookside – Hershey Canada Inc.,” he said. “The employees contributed $46,550 and the company matched that amount. At our recent Spirits Awards we recognized the employees with both the Employee Campaign of the Year and Quantum Leap Spirit Awards. In addition, the employee, who coordinated the efforts at Brookside – Hershey Canada, Ryan Ward, was recognized as the Employee Campaign Chair of the Year.”

They also saw an increase of 123 per cent from the employees of RBC Financial Group.

The remaining two per cent of their donations come from individuals, unions and corporations who give through the mail or online. To learn more, visit www.uwfv.bc.ca.