United Way Allocates $68,000 for Short-Term Community Impact Grants

On 2014 MAY 28, the United Way Board of Directors approved allocations totalling $68,000 in support of six programs.

Community Impact Grants exist to address new and emerging needs in the community, within our three Focus Areas:  From poverty to possibility, All that kids can be, and Strong communities.  They may support a one-time initiative, provide seed funds for a start-up or expansion program, provide short-term bridge funding to other funding sources, or act as a “testing ground” for agencies that may be considering funded agency status down the road.

 In addition to allocations to Member Agencies, designations to Non-Member charities, and grants to Women’s Leadership Council recipients, the United Way Board of Directors budgets, annually, approximately 3% of the announced campaign achievement for Community Impact Grants.

 All that kids can be …

 The Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre will receive $15,700 for their Youth Violence Prevention Program.  This program reaches out to youth aged 13-18 who are dealing with relationship concerns, family stress, anger management and navigating life’s daily challenges.

 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chatham-Kent has received bridge financing of $6,000 for their Three French Language Site-Based Mentorship Programs, which will allow them to expand their In-School Mentoring, Go Girls and Game On Programs into our French community and French schools.

 The YMCA will receive $5,000 in support of a new program – Beyond the Bell.  Our local YMCA is one of three YMCAs across Canada to be chosen for this pilot program, which has shown exceptional outcomes in the Burlington area for the past several years.  Beyond the Bell helps to break the cycle of poverty by closing the achievement gap experienced by low-income children compared to their middle-income classmates.

 From poverty to possibility …

 FARMSTART is a new initiative in Chatham-Kent that strives to introduce farming, through an incubator farm model, to interested individuals who might not otherwise have access to the resources and knowledge.  United Way has allocated $22,000 to FARMSTART to conduct feasibility analyses and planning to ensure that FARMSTART’s know-how and services are integrated into the local context and respond to local needs.

 Community Living Wallaceburg will receive $14,800 for their Summer Employment Access (SEA) Program.  Two Summer Job Coaches will be hired to help market the SEA Program to employers.  They will act as peer role models to youth with a disability- related barrier to employment, who are looking to develop job skills and secure paid positions over the summer.  The job coaches will provide on-the-job training, orientation and assistance with developing natural supports in the workplace for the employees, and liaise with employers to ensure their labour requirements and expectations are being met.

 Strong Communities …

 AIDS Support Chatham-Kent will support their PHA clients (persons living with HIV/AIDS) through a $4,500 Community Impact Grant.  A major barrier for PHAs is transportation.  This grant will facilitate transportation to three Leadership Workshops, two holiday celebrations, two regional social outings and medical appointments.  The grant will also provide resources for PHAs to prepare and share nutritional meals with one another during local, monthly socials. 

 These grants are for a one year period, with the option of applying, should funding be available, for a second year.

 For more information, contact Helen Heath, Director, Community Impact at Helen@uwock.ca or 519-354-0430 x 274.


Union Gas Signature Sponsor of Amazing Race

The 9th Annual Chatham-Kent Amazing Race will take place on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 and for the 9th consecutive year Union Gas will be the Signature Sponsor. 

During the exciting day-long fundraising event, participating teams will enjoy friendly challenges full of twists and turns and the experience of participating will leave lasting memories to be enjoyed by racers, volunteers, site hosts and sponsors.  In turn, the tens of thousands of dollars raised will be distributed by United Way right back into the community.   

“We are pleased to continue our Signature Sponsorship of the Chatham-Kent Amazing Race this year, and that in addition to our financial contribution, Union Gas employees will once again help to plan events, volunteer on race day and participate in the race competition,” said Steve Baker, President of Union Gas. “This is truly an event where everybody wins.”

 Last year two Union Gas teams entered the race: Team 26, EGG Engineering Gas Girls – Angela Scott and Brandon Stuart, and second place finishers – Team 20 – Go For Broke 06 –Mark Glasier and Gord Dillon. Not only were they amazing competitors, they were amazing fund-raisers as well. 

Union Gas President Steve Baker presents their Signature Sponsor cheque to United Way of Chatham-Kent’s Chatham Kent Amazing Race (CKAR) volunteer and Union Gas employee Ellen Sinclair and CKAR Planning Committee Volunteer Jane Goodal.

“Generous sponsors like Union Gas means that 100% of the dollars raised by race teams can be designated to United Way’s Community Fund,” said David Drouillard, UW spokesperson.  “Since the race began in 2006, hundreds of participants, individual donors, volunteers and event sponsors have raised over $670,000. Last year alone, nearly $60,000 was raised to assist local agencies, programs and services to help positively change the lives of one-in-three people living in Chatham-Kent.” 

There is still time for YOU to get involved. Acceptance of registration applications will close at 5 p.m. Friday June 13, 2014.  There is room for up to 40 teams and applications are encouraged from every community and every corner of C-K.  Applications are available at a United Way Chatham-Kent office or online registration is available at www.ckamazingrace.com

Anyone wishing to become a CKAR sponsor, join the planning committee, enter a team, sponsor a team or volunteering to assist the day of the race can contact David Drouillard (david@uwock.ca) or Mary Hemming hemm031947@hotmail.com.

2014 Campaign Co-Chairs Announced

At their April 30 AGM, Cecily Coppola, Co-Chairs for United Way’s 2013 Fundraising Campaign with William Grin, welcomed the incoming leadership team. 

 Co-Chairing in 2014 are Margery and Dean Muharrem. The Muharrem family moved to Chatham-Kent from London England in 1992 and “we have never looked back”.  They have two teenage daughters, Christine and Rachel, who are said to be their pride and joy “giving us wrinkles and grey hair and many wonderful special moments we will treasure forever”.

 Margery is one busy woman.  In addition to close family ties, Margery has run her Professional Party Planners business for the past 6 years and, in 2013, took the plunge with Dean and his brother into the restaurant business – The Grand Castle Café next door to Ursuline College – The Pines. She is equally passionate about her community. She volunteered for several non-profit organizations and her most recent role was with Victim Services, where she was a crisis responder, and then, for over five years, a Team Leader.  “I like people and I like the community. I am very excited to Co-Chair the 2014 Campaign with Dean.  Chatham-Kent is such a wonderful community to live in and sometimes we just don’t realize how good we have it. United Way is truly an excellent way for all of us to support what we truly believe in”.

 Since 1996, when Dean first started his career with Sun Media, he has worked his way to his current position as Publisher and Director of Sun Media for all Sun Media Publications in C-K. 

When not working, Dean is a self-confessed foodie and is always willing to try new foods.  He enjoys volleyball and soccer (football as he calls it) and is a die-hard England Fan holding out hope that perhaps this year’s World Cup will be England’s. Dean has also been involved with a number of charity organizations.  His most recent involvement is with Junior Achievement, where he is proud to have delivered over 10 classes to local schools. 

“Chatham-Kent is a great place to live, and United Way is a great charitable organization. I’m very proud and honoured to be named Co-Chair with my wife Margery for 2014. We are truly dedicated to raising awareness and money for UWOCK’s many community impact services.”

 In the coming weeks, Margery and Dean will recruit and train their 2014 volunteers. “We will be visiting the agencies, key community partners and many dedicated volunteers.  Our 2014 goal will be announced in September.  Together, our communities can build on the tremendous efforts and achievements of William and Cecily’s 2013 campaign.  Yet we need to do more – and you can help.” 


For additional information or to find out how you can become involved with the 2014 campaign contact Margery at (519) 784-2511 muharrem@sympatico.ca and Dean at (519) 436-5674 dean.muharrem@sunmedia.ca

Membership Application

Click here to download a membership application

Membership applications will be reviewed by the Board of Directors on 2014 APR 24. Those accepted will be granted voting privileges at United Way of Chatham-Kent’s Annual General Meeting on 2014 APR 30.