Candidates Talk Nonprofit Sector

Photo courtesy of Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News: An all-candidates forum focusing on the nonprofit sector was held at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre on Tuesday. From left are mayoral candidates Alysson Storey, Robert Salvatore Powers, Randy Hope, Harold Atkinson, Allan Traylor, and Darrin Canniff.

On the evening of September 11th, United Way of Chatham-Kent, in collaboration with the Chatham-Kent Nonprofit Network, Prosperity Roundtable, Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce, Wallaceburg & District Chamber of Commerce, Chatham-Kent Labour Council and the UNIFOR Labour Cabinet, hosted an an All Candidates Forum at the John D. Bradley Centre.

Candidates were asked to speak to some of the critical issues in our community impacting people’s daily lives, including long-term and senior care, poverty, non-profit sustainability, and economic development.

Trevor Terfloth from Chatham Daily News covered the story. Read more here.

United Way Sets Campaign Goal at $1.559M

United Way of Chatham-Kent’s youngest campaign chair in history, Caterina Dawson, announced this year’s campaign goal of $1.559 Million at Friday night’s kick-off event. She is pictured here with Tom Slager, Director of Resource Development and Communications at United Way of Chatham-Kent.

On Friday evening at United Way of Chatham-Kent’s 2018 Campaign Kick-off, sponsored by The Co-operators, campaign chair Caterina Dawson announced this year’s goal of $1.559 Million. Hosted at The Kent, the announcement was followed by an evening of fun, food and celebration, with music by local favourites, Toast & Jam.

Chatham Daily News covered the story: Read more here.

VON Kids’ Circle Program Moves Over to the “425”

VON Chatham-Kent and the Chatham-Kent United Way are excited to announce that effective September 11, 2018, the VON Kids’ Circle program will be moving into the Chatham-Kent United Way offices located at 425 McNaughton Avenue, Chatham Ontario. VON Chatham-Kent has been in partnership with the Chatham-Kent United Way for 70 years.

“We value our longstanding and ongoing partnership with United Way Chatham-Kent and look forward to this move. The Kids’ Circle program continues to grow and the space that ‘The 425’ offers will accommodate existing clients as well as future ones. ‘The 425’ also includes access to a variety of meeting rooms which will allow us to enhance our group programming. Alongside United Way Chatham-Kent, we look forward to continuing to serve the children and teens of Chatham-Kent together”, says Nicole Hunter – District Manager Care and Service, VON ESC.

“When we learned that the VON Kids’ Circle program was outgrowing its current space, we were most pleased to work with the team to help create a new home for the program at ‘The 425’. ‘The 425’ was built for this – to allow nonprofits to come together, share services and operate with a higher degree of efficiency while also benefiting from the synergy of working under the same roof. Needless to say, we’re excited to be evolving our partnership with the VON and are proud to be able to help them grow their capacity to support families in need of their services in our community”, said Steve Pratt, Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Chatham-Kent.

For more information about VON Support Services, visit:

About Kids’ Circle Program:
The Kids’ Circle program is a unique charitable program that specializes in illness and bereavement support for children and teens at no cost to the client. Kids’ Circle provides bereavement support in one-on-one and group settings for children (under the age of 19), who are facing the loss of a loved one, have lost a loved one or experiencing a life threatening illness themselves. The program is offered throughout the entire Municipality of Chatham-Kent including strong ties to its’ First Nations communities. The focus of the Kids’ Circle program is to provide an environment where they can feel safe to share their feelings. This support is delivered in a variety of settings including home, school, hospital and supportive care sessions offered at the VON office.

About VON Canada:
Established in 1897, VON is Canada’s longest-standing home and community health care charity, delivering a wide range of vital health and wellness services to more than 10,000
people in Ontario and Nova Scotia every day. VON is accredited with Exemplary Standing by Accreditation Canada.

About VON Chatham-Kent:
VON has been touching lives of residents throughout the Municipality of Chatham-Kent since 1938. VON’s Community and Home Support programs allow residents in our community to remain independent in their homes for as long as possible. VON offers programs for all ages. Our Visiting Nursing and Home Support programs provide services from prenatal to end of life care. Community Support programs serve clients ages 4 to 18 through the Kid’s Circle program and from 18 years to end of life through Supportive Care Volunteer Visiting, Volunteer Visiting, Security Checks, SMART (Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together) Senior’s Exercise, & Falls Prevention program (In Home, R&R Homes and Community Groups), Chronic Pain Assessment and Referral Program and the Ontario Student Nutrition Program.

United Way of Chatham-Kent’s Board of Directors names new CEO

After the completion of a highly-competitive province-wide search and a review of over 50 candidates, United Way of Chatham-Kent’s Board President, Brad Langford, has announced that Steve Pratt will become its new Chief Executive Officer. Pratt will be replacing Karen Kirkwood-Whyte, who has held the position since 1983 and recently announced her retirement, effective August 17th.

Pratt brings with him a unique blend of post-secondary education, a strong background in liaising with all levels of government, and extensive experience holding senior leadership positions in the business and nonprofit sectors.  As a former recipient of United Way services, Pratt has first hand knowledge of the benefits derived from charitable gifts to funded agencies. He demonstrated, on a personal level, the value of giving when he co-chaired the 2016 United Way campaign.

According to Langford, “Steve has a proven track record of delivering quality results, leading organizations through transformational change, building and leading high performing teams, and collaborating with community partners, donors and service recipients.”

When Kirkwood-Whyte was asked to describe the type of individual best suited to serve as her successor, she recommended the Board of Directors should seek an individual with a business head, a nonprofit heart and clearly demonstrated leadership skills. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Steve for the past three years. He is one of the most multi-talented individuals I have met. It is clear that his passion and commitment to community will serve our organization well. I look forward to passing the baton to an individual who is focused on ensuring that our organizational mission – to improve lives and build community – is achieved”, said Kirkwood-Whyte.

“I am both humbled and honoured to accept this leadership position with an organization that affects over 40,000 lives each year in our community”, said Pratt. “I look forward to working with the United Way Board of Directors, volunteers, and staff, to build ‘a strong and vibrant community free of poverty with children achieving all they can be’.”

A retirement party is currently being planned for Kirkwood-Whyte, entitled “Karen Kirkwood-Whyte: This Is Your Life”. The event will be Karen’s last official fundraiser for United Way and participants will be helping Karen to ‘give as she goes’ in making a parting gift to a great cause. Tickets are available at:

Starbucks approached United Way to help shape and improve its company culture with 2-1-1.

Starbucks recently approached United Way to help shape its employee training and improve the company’s culture. Our first step in partnership involved the rollout of “My Starbucks Community Resources” posters across each of Starbucks’ 1,095 stores and 20,000 partners across Canada as well as details on how Starbucks’ partners (baristas) can get better connected to community resources across Canada.

This first step was completed in advance of their company-wide cultural competency and anti-bias training held June 11.

This past year, 575,000 Canadians called 2-1-1 to connect to community resources, and another 1.5 million found information via 2-1-1 over the web.

The promotion of 2-1-1 as a service for baristas is part of Starbucks’ larger effort to improve training and company culture around individuals in need who may be visiting their store.

Through its training and ongoing communication with its staff, Starbucks will continue to emphasize this as well as the importance of recommending the resource to a customer or calling on their behalf only with their permission. Starbucks shares that baristas often search for resources like food banks and soup kitchens for community members who visit their stores and are facing challenges in their lives.

Today, we visited our local Starbucks – Chatham and our Director of Operations, Steve Pratt, met with their Store Manager, Nick, and we’re proud to be working together on our shared goals of improving lives and building community here in Chatham-Kent!