Thunder Bay, ON, February 2, 2023 – In anticipation of a major shortfall, the United Way of Thunder Bay is issuing an urgent appeal to the community in order to ensure that vital programs and services that rely on United Way funding will not be cut.
United Way Thunder Bay CEO Albert Brulé announced at a media event today that donations in 2022 were down significantly compared to previous years. According to Brulé; “We’ve seen a steady decline in fundraising revenue every year since 2016 when the campaign raised over $2.6 million. In comparison, the most recent campaign brought in just over $1.6 million. That’s a million-dollar difference. That represents a huge loss in terms of funding for services to help meet basic needs of local people.”
Brulé expressed concern that without additional support between now and when the United Way Board of Directors determines funding amounts to be awarded to partner agencies, hard choices will have to be made, and vulnerable community members may suffer as a result. “Already, our agency partners are telling us conditions are dire, and they are projecting even greater needs in the community for 2023. But without adequate support from donors, we will be forced to face the unthinkable. Fewer dollars donated means less funding for essential community programs. That means fewer children, fewer families, fewer seniors getting the help they need.”
In the coming weeks, United Way volunteers and staff will be reaching out to past supporters and asking potential new donors to help close the gap. In hopes of inspiring individuals, businesses and service groups to give what they can at this crucial time, Brulé emphasized; “It’s not too late to make a difference! With allocation decisions yet to be finalized, any donations between now and the end of the month will increase the amount of funding that can be distributed to our partner agencies and service providers.”
Michael Quibell, Executive Director of Dew Drop Inn was also in attendance today, sharing his thoughts on the importance of funding; “Last year, we saw a significant rise in the number of individuals who needed assistance, many of whom never anticipated needing help. Without the support of agencies like the United Way, we wouldn’t be able to keep up with the growing needs of our community.”
Derek West, Inspector Community Outreach at Thunder Bay Police Services added; “Funding from organizations like United Way allows grassroots agencies to be able to get out in the community and help people in need of social services, providing them with a safe place to receive assistance and relieving pressure from police services so that we may attend to emergency calls. When we have the opportunity to work together and collaborate with these agencies and organizations, we can tackle these issues together.”
Thanks to an operational reserve that can be used to finance general operating costs between campaigns, Brulé explained that all contributions that come in by February 28 will go toward helping those in need; “We want donors to know that 100% of your generous donation will be earmarked for our Community Investment Fund to support critical programs ranging from nutritious food hampers for seniors to emergency childcare for low-income families, or from counselling for at-risk youth to improving access to basic healthcare for individuals living in poverty.”
“Whether it’s homelessness, domestic violence, the opioid crisis, victims of human trafficking; every dollar counts,” added Brulé, “Your gift could literally change someone’s life, possibly even save someone’s life.”
Visit www.uwaytbay.ca/donate to make a secure online donation, or call (807) 623-6420 during business hours to explore other ways you can help.