Officials at the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre and United Way of Chatham-Kent today jointly announced the reinstatement of the local Women’s Centre as a member of the United Way family of agencies. 

United Way has been a long-time supporter of the Women’s Centre, having provided initial start-up funding for the historical Queen Street location and various one-time grants for specific items of need, encouragement and support for vulnerable women and their children.  In addition, the two organizations have worked together on numerous community initiatives – including those associated with the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, Prosperity Roundtable and Youth Engagement Partnership. 

“After more than a decade on our own,” said Hal Bushey, Executive Director of the agency, “our Board of Directors has determined that it would be beneficial for our organization to seek reinstatement of our membership as a funded agency of United Way.  This decision was made in light of the fact that the agency must raise $105,000 in this fiscal year to balance our budget.  Our fundraising needs have placed us in direct competition with many local organizations.  We have decided that rather than creating additional competition, we will work alongside the other members of the United Way family to educate the community about the value of the programs and services funded through donations to the annual fundraising appeal.” 

The Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre joined the United Way in November of 1979 and withdrew from membership in April of 2004 to branch out on its own.

 “There is no question that competition for the charitable dollar is on the rise,” said United Way’s CEO, Karen Kirkwood-Whyte. “For that reason it is important for the members of our family of agencies to work together to support the high profile United Way campaign in the fall and generate as many savings as we can in fund-raising costs.  If, through the annual campaign, we can balance the budgets of our member agencies, staff members will not have to redirect precious time and talent away from the provision of service to engage in fund-raising activities.  We see the reinstatement of the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre as an opportunity to encourage existing and new donors to consider a consolidated gift to fund the now 30 plus agencies, programs and services supported by United Way.”

 As part of the agreement between the agencies, this will be the last year for the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre to host its “Walk-A-Mile” Event in the fall; they will move the fund-raiser to May-June where they hope to engage more young people while school is still open.

 The Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre staff and board have pledged to do their part to help increase donations in this year’s United Way campaign by assisting with presentations and fundraising events and helping to tell the story of lives changed through gifts to United Way. 

For more information, please contact Hal Bushey at 519-351-9145, Extension 232 and/or Karen Kirkwood-Whyte at 519-354-0430.