March 2015 

Vol 7, Issue 3       

United Way Connects

You Decide Where Your Money is Invested!
One of the little known facts about United Way Central Alberta relates to, "Who makes the decisions about how the money that is raised gets invested?" The answer is simple: community volunteers do.

A group of Priority Impact volunteers, supported by staff, meet with agencies to review applications and make recommendations to the volunteer Community Impact Council. The Community Impact Council, guided by a set budget provided by the Board of Directors (also volunteers), then invests the money within the United Way's three priority areas: Education, Income and Wellness.

In short, volunteers raise the money, and volunteers invest the money. How amazing is that? In this issue we celebrate our 50 years of volunteerism by recognizing those hard working volunteers who invest in Community Impact. Thank you for all that you do!


StoryTwoCNIB: 50 Years a Partner 

Fifty years ago, on January 13th, 1965 the first meeting of the Board of Directors of the newly incorporated Red Deer and District United Fund was held at high noon at the Capri Motor Hotel.The inaugural campaign raised just over $64,000, with proceeds allocated to 10 local agencies. One of them was the CNIB, which received $2,500 and United Way continued to partner with CNIB for the next five decades.


In 1985, the Red Deer Advocate highlighted this partnership with an article on Red Deer resident Miriam Schnellert and her seeing-eye dog Orpha. Schnellert has been blind since birth, and in 1985 she told the Advocate "Blindness is an inconvenience, it's not incapacitating." In the 1980s, the CNIB offered skill development, and would transcribe student textbooks into Braille or onto tape.


A lot has changed since then. Schnellert is now retired and living in Edmonton. "The CNIB is still an important part of my life", she says. "I'm taking mobility training and they'll help you with your iPhone." In this digital age, voice commands and programs like the iPhone's "Siri" make cellphone use a part of everyday life for people with low or no vision. In May, Schnellert will be meeting her eighth guide dog. She also highly recommends the CNIB National Library. "Braille books are hard to come by," she says. The CNIB National Library now can stream books directly to clients.

In addition to CNIB, the John Howard Society and Catholic Social Services also received funding in1965, and all three remain partners with United Way to this day.

Miriam Schnellert and her seeing-eye dog, Orpha in 1965. Photo by Doug Marke, courtesy of the Red Deer Advocate.
Thanks for Making the Change Possible!

A BIG round of applause for the 30 volunteers who committed more than 900 hours to review applications and decide how to invest the donations United Way received over the year. It is an in-depth process of understanding the issues, discovering how each applicant contributes to making an impact in our community and ultimately making investment decisions.    


We can't thank you enough for all that you do to help build a strong, resilient Central Alberta.


Community Impact Council

Brenda Farwell - Chair

John Mulgrew - Chair Education PIT

Priscilla Rundell - Chair Income PIT

Edie Hiebert - Chair Wellness PIT

Donna Morrison

Gwen Clarke

Kathryn Hagen

LeeAnne Shinski

Alice Murray

Robert J. Mitchell


Priority Impact Team Volunteers

Anto Davis

Barry MacKenzie

Brenda Watts

Brittany Boughtin

Cindy Hunt

Denni Wentzell

Gloria Antifaiff

Ian Sudlow

Jennifer Hallett

Julie Ostrowski

Kerry Lowe

Leah Poole

Lia Macmilian

Rachelle Kuhnen

Robin Byrnes

Rocky Martin

Roxane Parsons

Tamara Sawatzky

Terrine Greenwood

Valdene Callin

Thanks for Getting Off the Bench and Joining the Change!
Since the 78% of all funds raised by United Way of Central Alberta come through the participation of the business community -- either through Workplace Campaigns or Corporate donations and sponsorships, we are always seeking to expand our relationship with the business community.

In 2014 we were thrilled to welcome the following new businesses to the United Way family:

  • Baja Holdings BCS Inc.
  • Bromwich & Smith Inc.
  • Canyon Technical Services
  • Copps Pile Driving
  • Johnson Inc./Community Savings Insurance
  • Ledcor Industries
  • McBain Camera Fotosource
  • Ridgeline Canada
  • SGS Canada
  • Specialized Desanders
  • Spectra Energy
  • Steadfast Courier
  • Waskasoo Estates
United Way Partners Making a Difference 

There is a group of forgotten seniors supported by two United Way partner agencies that you would never think of  because they are so removed from society.   


The Bowden Senior Men's Group is comprised of 177 senior inmates who provide support for one another. One way they do that is to connect with organizations "outside the fence" to help the inmates prepare for reintegration into the community. The Golden Circle Outreach Program and the John Howard Society visit this group regularly to provide information that will help the men get ready to make that transition. The Golden Circle will also be involved with a pilot project to train four inmates to run fitness classes for senior men in order to promote the wellness of an aging inmate population.  


The members of the Bowden Senior Men's Group get a mere $1.60 per day, and yet they made a donation of $175.00 to the United Way campaign -- which is impressive, all things considered!  A sincere "thank you" to the United Way partner organizations that support them.


Help is just a click away.
In This Issue
photoofthemonthPhoto Of The Month
October, 1965  - It's "way below"?
Presumably it was cold that day
and what the paper was implying was that the United Fund was way below its target... but the campaign had just begun, so the thermometer was actually off to a good start!

Thanks to the Red Deer Advocate for the clipping. Photo by Bill Simpkins.
Did you know...? 

services can be a powerful ally in a disaster situation by:
  • Providing referrals to services that meet specific needs;
  • Creating a volunteer and donations database for emergency response teams to draw from;
  • Providing "what to do and where to go" information for evacuated residents.
Spread the Word

You can help spread the word about this important United Way initiative. We have cards and posters at the office that you can use to introduce clients to 211 online (across Central Alberta) and 211 phone service (a City of Red Deer sponsored project). Give us a call and let us know what you need:
(403) 343-3900 
Lacombe Poverty Talks Event 
0 enables a community to join together to talk about how poverty affects their community and make a plan to change lives. 
Calling All United Way Enthusiasts...
Save the Date
Note these special dates in your calendar.

Thursday, May 7, 2015
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Parkland Mall
NB: Note the venue change!

Thursday, June 18, 2015
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Location Pidherney Centre

dontforgetDon't Forget ...

Round Up!

It's just one of the many easy ways you can help your community.

Donate That Old Car
You can Donate a Car to UWCA online, or phone 1-877-250-4904 for assistance.