United Way campaign on schedule

Fundraising campaign is $80,000 ahead of last year at this point, currently sitting at 51 per cent of its goal.

The United Way campaign is on its way to its goal of raising $1.47 million this year thanks to generous community support.

The United Way is ahead of schedule in reaching its fundraising campaign objective this year of $1.47 million.

Ian Gerbrandt, interim executive director of the United Way CSO (Central Okanagan and South Okanagan/Similkameen), said the campaign is $80,000 ahead of last year at this point, currently sitting at 51 per cent of its goal.

The United Way set out a record high fundraising goal this year, but Gerbrandt remains optimistic it will be met.

“December is always critical for us. The third month is when we typically get the most donations leading up to the tax benefit deadline for the year on Dec. 31, and then in January the individual workplace donation campaigns start to come in,” said Gerbrandt.

The third month refers to the official kick-off to the campaign across the Central and South Okanagan in the beginning of September, and which wraps up on Jan. 31.

Gerbrandt noted the donations received help the United Way support more than 40 charities in 22 different Okanagan communities.

The specific programs supported range from various social services to housing stability, food security, mental wellness and moving the needle on addressing poverty.

The results of a survey released last week by Vancity Credit Union found charitable donations by British Columbians have dropped 25 per cent over the last five years due to wages not keeping up with the increased cost of living.

But Gerbrandt said the spirit of giving remains strong for the United Way across the Okanagan.

“We haven’t seen a sharp decline like that at least in the past two years. We are fortunate here in the Okanagan that people continue to be supportive of us,” he said.

“The needs are great and complex as we look to address poverty and homelessness in our communities. It’s critical we reach our goals to make an impact on these issues and change lives for the better.”

For anyone interested in making a donation to the United Way campaign, more information on how to do so can be accessed online at unitedwaycso.com or by calling 250-960-2356 or 1-855-232-1321 if calling from outside Kelowna.