Brock’s annual United Way Campaign has reached a new fundraising record after raising $159,096 in 2017. This year’s efforts surpassed their fundraising goal of $145,000 as well as their previous fundraising record of $153,912, which was set in 2013.
The campaign was organized and run by a committee headed by Lucie Thibault and Sandy Howe. When they last counted, 251 Brock employees had participated in the campaign. They had a record number of first time donors, as well as several repeat donors. The largest portion of funds for the campaign come from direct donations to United Way through payroll deductions.
These donations are complemented by other money raised through other events organized by the committee as well as initiatives from individuals or departments. This year, those events included the Souper Star Lunch, Halloween Spin-A-Thon, Trivia Night, a plant sale at Fall Preview Day, a Badgers volleyball game against Niagara College, and a Brock Card Raffle. Funds raised through these events increased by more than 65 per cent this year, which Thibault explained.
“The campus has been so responsive – there was a full house for Souper Star Lunch, high levels of participation in the Halloween Spin-A-Thon and a record number of teams at Trivia Night (which also included students),” explained Howe. “It truly takes a village to accomplish anything of this magnitude, and the community here at Brock rallied together to reach and surpass our goal.”
Brock has partnered with United Way for more than 20 years. When asked about that partnership, Howe had this to say: “Brock was actually founded by the Niagara community and it is very important for us to remain active partners within the Niagara Community and also give back when we can.” As an organization, United Way is dedicated to supporting projects to help relieve poverty, allow children to have greater opportunities, and build strong and healthy communities. United Way also partners with businesses and industries who offer to match funding they receive, allowing donations’ benefits to be multiplied in communities where they are distributed.
“They are also able to support such a wide variety of programs and organizations within the community that I really care about and want to see continue. These include organizations that support a variety of people’s needs from mental health and wellness, abilities, safety, poverty and homelessness, programs that support children’s activities and at-risk youth in our community, as well as special projects like “welcome home” kits for people moving from shelters into permanent housing and backpacks stuffed with supplies for kids. I am not sure I could imagine possibility and opportunity in Niagara nearly as fully without the United Way,” says Howe. The organization has invested $157.2 million into Ontario projects alone.
“This is truly amazing and the only organization of its kind, that I know of, within our region. Their fundraising has a huge impact on our local community. The partnership also extends beyond fundraising. Members of the Brock community have volunteered on all of the United Way’s committees including their Board, staff have been “loaned” to the United Way to support their work during the campaign and Brock students have held co-op placements with United Way,” Howe explains.
Reflecting on this year’s campaign, three words came to Howe and Thibault: “Astounded. Delighted. Grateful.” They are hoping to continue this success in next year’s campaign, but first the committee is looking forward to a well-deserved break. As for the future of Brock’s partnership with the United Way, Howe is excited: “The United Way and Brock University have such a strong partnership that we are always having new conversations and needs emerge within our organizations, as well as within the Niagara community, so we will see what the new year brings!”