We can’t do this without you

Emily Robert (UWOCK’s Blenheim Campaign Chair) receives an employee and company pledge from Louis Douramakos (VP of Operations – Mallory Industries, A division of Hopkins Mfg.).

Florin Marksteiner is a Board Member with United Way of Chatham-Kent and the Chair for the Thamesville campaign.  “At this morning’s Cabinet meeting we celebrated the dollars raised so far; we want to sincerely thank all of our generous 2013 donors. n

This is the final opportunity for donors, workplaces and organizations all across Chatham-Kent to support the 2013 fundraising campaign; however, volunteers with the campaign noted that time is ticking 

closer to January 24 – Campaign Touchdown – and we can’t do this without your help! We are respectfully requesting our previous donors to step forward and help us once more.

 There is still time for your donation to make an important differe

nce, and all of us have a major role to play in the survival of United Way funded programs. Unfortunately, our economy is still recovering and some donors now find themselves using one of more of the supported programs.  To ensure that these much-needed services are there to help our neighbours, we also need new donors to invest with us, in supporting the well-being of our community. Together, we all can have

 a tremendous impact in Chatham-Kent. 

 Please, visit a UWOCK office, donate on-line at www.uwock.ca or call the UWOCK office to arrange an individual donation or a workplace employee campaign.

 It is not too late. Our neighbours need our help and the United Way family is working hard to make that happen. We simply can’t do this without your generous donations. Once again, please, help us reach our fundraising goal, because together, we CAN make a difference”.


– 30 –

Touchdown January 24, 2014

2013 Campaign Goal        $2,200,000

Achieved to Date             $1,700,000


For more information on this year’s annual campaign and related special events please visit www.uwock.ca or contact William Grin (519) 352-9555, Cecily Coppola Cecily@rjck.org or Florin Marksteiner office@productionmark.ca


Campaign Briefs December 16- 20

Freezin for a Reason

Freezin for a Reason was held on 2013 DEC 13 at Terrace Beach. The eight participants who took the plunge, running into the icy cold waters of Lake Erie, raised $4605.95 .This is the first time this event has been held in the Ridgetown area. 

Due to safety reasons regarding thick ice and the dangers therein, the second year event for Wallaceburg was postponed until the New Year.  A future date and time will be advised.

Ridgetown Freezin for a Reason. Photo courtesy of the Ridgetown Independent News.


Starlight Film Festival

The first annual Starlight Film Festival took place on 2013 DEC 06. This event invited local high school students to the Chatham Galaxy Cinema for an all night movie marathon. Proceeds from the event totaled $3,620. 

From left to right in the photo attached are: Tim Callaghan, General Manager – Cineplex Entertainment, Galaxy Cinemas Chatham; Cecily Coppola, 2013 United Way Chatham-Kent Campaign Co-Chair; Emily Millson, Co-op student with UWOCK from UCC (The Pines).


GreenField Ethanol

Yesterday GreenField Ethanol presented another cheque to Chatham Co-Chair Lisa McAllister. Katie Amato, Human Resources & Administration Manager for GreenField Specialty Alcohols Inc. will announce their final total before the Campaign Touchdown. Today’s cheque represented employee pledges using payroll deduction, a corporate donation, and special event dollars raised at the workplace. 

The campaign total is currently $1,432,000.

Donors can please contact one of our UWOCK offices, their own workplace campaign coordinator, or donate online now to help us reach our $2,200,000 goal. 

Touchdown is 2014 JAN 24 however, donations for a 2013 tax receipt need to be received on or before 2013 DEC 31.

Bothwell Exceeds Fundraising Goal

With just over one month left in this year’s campaign, the community of Bothwell has already met and exceeded their fundraising goal! Congratulations to Bothwell Co-Chairs Mavis Johnston and Jodi Kish for such a successful campaign. Thank you to all those who supported this campaign through special events, workplace or individual gifts.  Pictured left to right are Jodi Kish, Mavis Johnston, and Jackie Beatty at Bothwell’s  “Biker’s and Babe’s” themed Kick-Off.


I have a confession to make … I’m uncomfortable asking people for money!  Imagine that coming from a 30 year veteran of the not-for-profit, fund-raising, charitable sector!  Besides public speaking, I’m convinced that asking people for a portion of their hard-earned disposable income is probably the second most difficult thing to do.  

But, while that may be true, someone has to do it.  And, speaking from experience, those that do can find some of life’s greatest rewards – the joy of knowing that you’ve made a difference in someone else’s life.

 I write this article in the aftermath of several recent and disturbing announcements of plant closures and layoffs that will directly affect the employees of those firms – as well as dozens of other individuals caught in the resultant ripple effect.  And … in my church on Sunday morning, I heard a personal testimonial from a man of faith whose family life had been affected by the decision of one local company to close its doors.  It was at that point that I felt compelled to begin this article – and to shout out – at least on paper – the importance of giving to support our neighbours and friends. 

Research shows that the number one reason why people don’t give – is because they aren’t asked.  A second reason is because they don’t believe that their gift will make a difference.

 I’m always conflicted to encourage people to share their charitable gifts in these tough economic times because I know that money is tight.  But it is at times like this when we need our donors the most … and when most donors respond. 

The announcement of the Union Gas and its employee gift on 2013 NOV 13 was a welcome addition to our annual fund-raising appeal – and it did take us to the half-way mark in this year’s campaign.   Thank goodness for Union Gas!  But … we still have another $1.1 Million to raise in order to reach our target. 

What that means is that we need the leadership of our local businesses and organizations to create an opportunity – NOW – for their employees to hear the United Way message and to set an example by making a pledge to this year’s appeal.  Many of our traditional donors will be challenged to support us this year … and that is why we need others to step up to the plate. 

 In light of recent news, we are asking those who can, to give until it feels good!  For those who are wondering what a “fair share” gift might be, I typically ask a prospective donor what he or she might give if each of the 25 funded agencies, programs and services came knocking on your door.  The United Way “fair share” giving guide that I was introduced to 30 years ago is still quite relevant today.  It equates to a coffee break each week – or 15 minutes pay.  For those who prefer simple math – I encourage each donor to consider a gift equivalent to $260; that’s $10 for each of the 25 charitable organizations and another $10 for new and emerging community needs.  And – spread out over the year through payroll deduction or preauthorized bank withdrawal – it’s just $5.00 per week.  $5.00 each week – or “$1.00 per day for United Way” – makes such a significant difference in the lives of the 33,000+ individuals our United Way family of agencies serves throughout Chatham-Kent – each and every year! 

There … I’ve done it!  I’ve just asked my readers for money!  Money to ensure that vital social service programs are there for those who need them – when they least expect it.

 To those of you who have already given to this year’s United Way campaign, please accept my heartfelt thanks.  To those who are still considering a contribution, please respond now with your pledge.  Call us at 519-354-0430 … go online to www.uwock.ca … or stop by and pay us a visit!  We’d love to say “thanks” in person!


Karen Kirkwood-Whyte

CEO/Executive Director

Letter to the Editor from the Board of Directors

We, as residents of Chatham-Kent and members of the United Way Board of Directors, would like to respond to the Letter to the Editor from Frank DeBresser which appeared last week in the Wallaceburg Courier Press and Chatham This Week. 

We would like to put to rest any myths and/or misconceptions about United Way’s charitable investments in Chatham-Kent.

As members of the governing body and donors to this local registered charitable organization, we are responsible for oversight of the charity’s policies and procedures. We set the strategic direction for the organization in fulfillment of the organization’s mission, approve the management budget and establish salary ranges and benefits for all United Way staff members.

 Our Human Resources and Compensation Committee ensures that our CEO’s salary and benefits are comparable to United Ways of similar size and to other local individuals who do similar work in our community. 

While the actual salaries of our United Way employees are a personal matter, we can unequivocally say that no employee of United Way of Chatham-Kent earns a salary in excess of $100,000.  We pay a modest amount (.75% of our announced campaign achievement) to our National Office for the use of the United Way name, logo and research support. 100% of the dollars raised in Chatham-Kent (except for donor-directed gifts) stay in Chatham-Kent. No charitable dollars raised in our local communities are forwarded to pay the salary of Mr. Brian Gallagher who currently serves as CEO of United Way Worldwide – the world’s largest ($5.2 Billion) privately funded non-profit organization. 

Negative comments and dissemination of incorrect information about our organization – in the midst of our annual fund-raising campaign – have the potential to discourage those who are undecided about whether to give – and sway traditional donors to question their ongoing support.  This is disturbing – particularly in view of the fact that our community’s most vulnerable citizens are in critical need of the human and social services provided by the members of our family of agencies. 

United Way of Chatham-Kent spent 17.5% of the announced campaign achievement in 2012 on local management and fund-raising costs – a substantial amount below the 35% referenced as acceptable by the Canada Revenue Agency. We believe that the more important question for Mr. DeBresser to be asking is “What does United Way do with my charitable gifts?”

 Our United Way began a new role in 1997, transforming from traditional fund-raiser to community impact organization.  Simply put, it is our objective to bring the business, government and voluntary sectors of our communities together to achieve well-being for everyone in Chatham-Kent. 

This is our new community impact work.  Our organization’s staff have been instrumental in the establishment of numerous local organizations and initiatives – including, but not limited to, the Chatham-Kent Children’s Safety Village, Operation Red Nose (now Home James), Operation Cover-Up, BackPacks for Kids, NeighbourLink, Habitat for Humanity, Women’s Leadership Council, Prosperity Roundtable and 211.  Our staff have assisted community partners in the writing of successful grant applications focused on poverty reduction, drug awareness, neighbourhood revitalization, youth engagement and community mobilization for crime prevention.  In addition, they serve on a number of local planning bodies and committees – many outside of “company time” and are passionate advocates for the public benefit – or voluntary – sector. 

Because of our large geographic area, we have established outreach, store-front offices in both Wallaceburg and Tilbury.  “The 425”- United Way’s Centre for Community Innovation on McNaughton Avenue in Chatham is home to several other local charitable organizations, nonprofits and government-funded initiatives – offering shared human, financial and physical services – generating significant cost savings for these entities.

 As stewards of the public purse, we trust that the above information will allay any fears that traditional and prospective donors may have about the wise investment of charitable gifts entrusted to our care.  And in order to demonstrate our transparency and accountability, we invite any additional questions that this response may elicit. 

Please give generously to this year’s United Way Campaign.  We cannot build community without you!

 President:  Tony Walsh

Vice-President:  Alison Patrick

Treasurer:  Julie Faas


Directors:  Deb Crawford, Kate DoForno, Scott Ewing, Mike Korpan, Florin Marksteiner, Jeff McFadden, John Neville, Dipti Patel, Marlee Robinson, Kathy Smyth.