No dollar target: ‘Changing Lives’ is SD&G United Way 2017 goal

Members of United Way's member agencies unveil the goal for the 2017 campaign Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Cornwall, Ont. The letters spell out 'Changing Lives'. This is the first time in recent memory the United Way won't use a dollar figure for a campaign goal. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

SD&G – The United Way of SD&G won’t be using a dollar amount for its 2017 campaign but the fundraising is already off to a significant start with $70,000 in pledges.

Around 200 people were at the Royal Canadian Legion Friday morning for the campaign launch breakfast.

This will be the first time in recent memory the UW hasn’t used a dollar target, something Executive Director Lori Greer told Cornwall Newswatch will allow them to focus on what the agency does and why they do it.

“We’ve been thinking about this approach since we did our strategic plan a little over a year ago. The goal is the impact and the investment in the community. Changing the lives is the goal,” Greer said.

“We felt it was important…we want to be constantly educating the community and the impact we have in the community and why it’s important to give to your local United Way,” she said.

“It was time to talk about the goal being what we’re actually achieving and so that’s why we’ve set our goal at ‘changing lives’ because that’s what we’ve always wanted to do,” Greer said. “We’re doing the same thing. It’s just a shift in the way we’re thinking about it.”

Greer said they have an internal benchmark of where they need to be with funding but the United Way still continue to function and would “adjust accordingly” based on the money it receives.

In 2016, the United Way raised just over 90 per cent of its $700,000 goal.

The breakfast included speeches from three people helped by the 14 member agencies funded by the United Way.

Acting Mayor Elaine MacDonald likened the social programs in our society to a quilt, worn around the edges, and has also endured rips and tears. The United Way is the needle and thread, making those repairs to those programs, she said.

As far as donations, local LCBO stores have set a goal of $29,300 for their voluntary collection at the cash register at SD&G outlets and so far $13,760 has been raised.

There were also a number of corporate donations including $900 from Benson Automotive, Royal Bank (RBC) with $12,500 and Pommier Jewellers with $5,000, plus a $5,000 match for the Pommier donation from Scotiabank.

The United Way’s signature event – the Wine and Gourmet Tastings – has made a pledge to raise $40,000 though organizers feel confident they will surpass that target.