Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ territories | June 16, 2021 – United Way Greater Victoria raised $6.2 million and supported 125,000 residents across Southern Vancouver Island over this past year as United Ways across Canada played a critical role in supporting local community needs during COVID-19. On Southern Vancouver Island, thanks to the generosity of individuals, community, business, labour and government partnerships, lives were improved during a time of incredible hardship.
That is why, looking forward to the future, our local United Way is changing its name to better reflect the community it serves, to the United Way Southern Vancouver Island (UWSVI).
“It may seem like a small change to make but for us, it speaks volumes about the 1 in 4 residents across Southern Vancouver Island whose lives we impact every year,” says Mark Breslauer, CEO of United Way Southern Vancouver Island. “Especially over this past year, and in its over 80 years of service on Southern Vancouver Island, UWSVI has shown its ability to innovate and provide solutions that not only meet the needs of local residents but resonate with donors and community leaders.”
United in the same mission of United Ways across the province and country, United Way Southern Vancouver Island will continue to positively impact the local communities it serves and reach its fundraising goals, and be better positioned to inspire a new generation of United Way donors across Southern Vancouver Island, who believe in our ability to meet local needs with local solutions.
These local solutions included partnering with Accent Inns to manage the Hotels for Frontline Workers Fund, distributing over 850 Bell Canada cell phones with SIM cards across Southern Vancouver Island to people in need, facilitating the distribution of 32,000 masks to 30 of our agency partners through the #1MillionMasksBC initiative with support from Deloitte, BC Transit, BC Ferries and BCAA, and capturing the imagination of Big Wheel Burger to create Burger Day for United Way and raising funds for children’s literacy.
“We aspire to remain Southern Vancouver Island’s trusted leader in transforming lives through consistent, compassionate and inclusive action serving all,” says Breslauer. “We have a committed team that is locally led and matched with local partners, donors and workplaces who help us recognize and respect the many unique challenges we face as a community.”
For example over the past year, UWSVI focused its efforts on signature initiatives in response to emerging trends such as:
- Meal delivery for isolated seniors through our More than Meals program
- A digital help desk and tech lending library for families, online parenting programs, mental health programs for youth, and food security programs through a partnership with the Coalition of Neighbourhood Houses
- A safe haven for children under the age of 5 dealing with trauma through our Little Phoenix Daycare project with Greater Victoria Family Services and VIRCS
- Collaboration with mental health service providers such as the Greater Victoria Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) – Systems Navigation Working Group to help reduce barriers and strengthen access to counselling services, outreach, social connections and peer support
- The launch of Blue Love a campaign to make life better for those struggling with their mental health
Southern Vancouver Island residents proudly celebrate their unique culture and the region is recognized for being a caring, supportive place to live. With challenges and opportunities unlike any other BC jurisdiction, United Way believes the region needs an organization that understands the intricacies and unique needs of Victoria as a capital city and the region’s dynamic communities.
UNITED WAY SOUTHERN VANCOUVER ISLAND BACKGROUNDER
United Way Southern Vancouver Island (formerly United Way Greater Victoria) is a trusted leader, influencer and catalyst for change. United, we accelerate change to improve the lives of our neighbours who need it most, making our local community stronger. We believe everyone in Greater Victoria, which includes 13 municipalities and 11 First Nations and the Southern Gulf Islands should have the opportunity to reach their potential. Our priorities are focused on assisting isolated seniors, families in need, diversity, equity and inclusion and individuals struggling with mental health challenges and/or addictions. Last fiscal year, United Way raised $6.2 million thanks to over 7,000 donors and 200 workplaces opening their offices to run employee giving programs. Through our community partnerships, over 125,000 people on Southern Vancouver Island received support. Show your local love today by making a gift to United Way at www.uwsvi.ca