Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Urgent plea: United Way needs extra generosity

Faces $300,000 shortfall; fears agencies will suffer

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With mere weeks left in United Way's year-end fundraising campaign and nearly $300,000 still needed, fundraising chairman Doug Finkbeiner is calling Winnipeggers to action.

"The need is there. There are 100 agencies that are funded in whole or in part by United Way and they all have some interesting plans where they can simply make a greater impact if they simply had more money. And that's what we're trying to achieve here," said Finkbeiner.

In September, United Way announced a fundraising goal of $20.4 million -- up just over five per cent from last year's goal in order to keep up with inflation and the growing needs of the communities that use its agency partners.

At last count, United Way is still $300,000 shy.

"If we don't meet the goal, some of the agencies that we fund simply won't be able to do some of those extra things that they could do to make a greater impact," Finkbeiner said.

United Way funds over 100 agency partners -- organizations from Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg to Meals on Wheels to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

Finkbeiner noted many of these organizations have only two core funders: the Province of Manitoba and United Way.

"If it weren't for this funding, some programs would probably have to cease. That would be really bad," he said.

With 245,000 people using United Way Winnipeg's agency partners, it is estimated United Way impacts one in three Winnipeggers in some way.

"This morning, for example, I was at the North End Y and they've got these programs going on with kids that might otherwise be on the streets and up to no good. But instead they're at the Y. It's a fabulous program."

United Way's call to action comes on the heels of Manitoba being named the most generous Canadian province for the 14th consecutive year by the Fraser Institute.

Finkbeiner notes that although the dollar amount of donations to United Way continues to grow, the number of donors seems to be decreasing. He hopes more Winnipeggers will give this year. No matter the amount, he said, it will bring United Way that much closer to its year-end goal.

"We want more people to join in and donate. We have so many people that have been donating for years and years and years. They come back every year, often with increases. But we want to broaden the base. We want more people involved," Finkbeiner said.

Anyone interested in donating can call 204-477-5360 or visit UnitedWayWinnipeg.ca .

katherine.dow@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 22, 2012 B4

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