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.


Campaign Heading Into Second Half

Volunteers across Chatham-Kent met today with United Way staff to determine the “state of the campaign”.  Since the Kick-Off on Thursday September 12, 2013 individuals and organizations have pledged and donated $1,202,448 about 50% of the goal. 

Ashley Church is a Campaign Representative sponsored by Union Gas to help with the campaign until mid- December.  “I am excited to be a part of the United Way team and very thankful to Union Gas for this opportunity. Our community is very generous and the Cabinet team is totally committed to raising the additional one million dollars we need.  The money raised in Chatham-Kent stays in Chatham-Kent and that is the number one reason many donors choose to give. 

Donors have so many ways they can help.  Payroll deduction in workplace campaigns make it easy to give generously.  United Way volunteers are also organizing a number of special events and it would be great to have those events well attended.  We are also selling 50/50 raffle tickets.  If they are all sold another $25,000 will be added to the Community Fund.  

One of the easiest ways to help is to donate on-line.  The site is secure and private and the donation will generate an instant tax receipt. Whatever way you choose to help, we need to work together to reach our objective. Together we can continue to ‘help people’. And that’s really what it is all about. I would like to encourage all residents to go a bit out of their comfort zones to raise dollars for this campaign.  

As owner of Ashley Church Photography, I spent Saturday with families taking fall pictures. It was important for me to go above and beyond for United Way – just as I am asking all of you to do.  I am proud to donate 100% of the proceeds ($1,000) to United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council.  Giving back is incredibility important to me as I have seen first-hand the need by our agencies and the amazing work they do.  Now, it’s your turn to help.”


Touchdown January 24, 2014

          2013 Campaign Goal        $2,200,000

          Achieved to Date             $1,202,448

Thank you to RBC!

On Friday, 2013 NOV 22 RBC Financial Group presented their corporate gift to United Way of $7,000.  Pictured from left to right are Christopher June, Branch Manager at Keil Drive RBC, Julia Lozon, Hearing Care Councellor with the Canadian Hearing Society – one of United Way’s Funded Agencies, Bruce McAllister, 2013 Chatham Campaign Co-Chair and Judy Serruys, Branch Manager at King Street RBC.  Sincere thanks for the ongoing support.

Campaign Total Tops $1,100,000

Campaign volunteers were thrilled with the amazing announcement from Union Gas this week.  Their record contribution of $608,963 helped the organization reach a milestone with half the goal obtained before the half way mark has been reached in the campaign. 

“There are many workplace campaigns running across Chatham-Kent and we are blessed to have their support” said Cecily Coppola, 2013 Chatham-Kent Campaign Co-Chair (with William Grin).  “Donations this year will help fund our 25 programs, services and agencies through the Community Fund, additional not-for-profit agencies through Donor Choice, and hundreds of local people who will be assisted by our Women’s Leadership Council.  

When all is said and done our goal is simply about helping people.  To do that going forward, we need Chatham-Kent donors from everywhere to join with the Union Gas donors and help us once more in 2013. With generous support from those in a position to donate we can keep on “helping people” all through 2014.” 

2013 Campaign Goal        $2,200,000

Achieved to Date             $1,105,067

Touchdown January 24, 2014