For United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island, the kickoff to fundraise for programs specifically targeting youth, families and seniors officially began Friday.
During their annual kickoff breakfast at Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community, new Executive Director Signy Madden said their goal is to raise $225,000 in the Comox Valley community.
“We’re already funding 11 partner agencies so we need to continue to raise money and continue to fund social programs in the Comox Valley,” she noted. “We all know that the need is huge; anti-bullying programs, suicide prevention, helping vulnerable seniors, those are the programs our great partner agencies are already funding.”
The organization examines the need in each community, and meets with representatives in various organizations to determine where funding should be distributed, explained Madden.
“We go through a process every year; we start that in the spring. We go out to the community and say, ‘What exactly is needed? What are the changes? What exactly is happening on the ground?’ “
Madden noted there are specific programs the organization is looking at targeting this year.
“The real issues I’m seeing is rise in domestic violence … the bullying issues. We’re already funding programs, but that is a serious piece we need to work with,” she said, and added funds raised within the community stay within the Comox Valley.
In addition to the local return for investment, Madden said the United Way is continuously working with members in various organizations to monitor the needs of the community.
“Not everybody’s on the ground looking at the community issues — what’s happening, what’s changing year to year. We have a volunteer group that come together … they’re folks working on the ground, in the school districts, and they’re the ones who are saying to us, ‘These are the issues that are changing; these are the organizations we know are effective,’ ” she noted.
“We’re a good place with knowledge and resources to go through that process for the donor and choose how to best invest your donation.”
Some of the community partners in the Comox Valley area funded by the United Way include the Boys & Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island, Comox Valley Family Services and Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society.
During the kickoff breakfast, a number of organizations, including CFB Comox, were recognized for their continuing support of the United Way.
For more information, or to donate, visit www.uwcnvi.ca or call 250-338-1151.