Women’s Leadership Council Funds Program for First Nations Youth

United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council has approved funding – in the amount of $13,246.61 – for a youth program developed by the Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres and the Bkejwanong Youth Facility (BYF) (established on Walpole Island in 2009).  

The purpose of this multi-faceted “Physical Culture” Program is to promote social inclusion and diminish stereotypes while fostering a healthy, active lifestyle.  Youth – aged 6 to 16 years – will be introduced to a variety of physical activities that encourage relationship building within large and small groups. 

While the overarching component of the program is focussed on health and fitness, culture will have a presence in the delivery of the program as it will operate on Walpole Island.  Although there will be a strong focus on First Nations culture and Aboriginal youth will represent a majority of the participants, youth of all ethnic backgrounds are welcomed to participate.  Through social inclusion, youth will learn the value of acceptance and celebrating differences. 

Piloted in 2012, the upcoming 12-week program – free to a maximum of 25 participants – will run for two nights each week.  The program will serve 6 to 11 year olds in a “guided discovery night” and 12 to 16 year olds in a “learning and exploration night”.  A waiting list currently exists for the program. 

In their submission to United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, the Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres and Bkejwanong Youth Facility cited their partnership has been important to build capacity.  The improved capacity has allowed for the agencies to share resources and deliver a program focussed on culture, social wellness, education and recreation.  The collaborative effort has built a strong foundation for individual growth of youth participants and provides an opportunity for youth participants to lead.  “Keys to success are through relationships and partnerships.  The program to date has been a success,” said Steven Tooshkenig, Youth Programs Coordinator, Bkejwanong Youth Facility. 

“This program is very similar to one that the Women’s Leadership Council funded several years ago,” said Trinette Lindley, Chair of the WLC Grants Committee.  “The ‘Native Girls on the Go’ Program – undertaken in partnership with the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit – addressed some of the same issues as the ‘Physical Culture’ Program will address.  While stable funding was not forthcoming, it is our hope that sustainable funding can be secured to ensure that this program continues.” 

Established in May of 2007 with eight charter members, the United Way Women’s Leadership Council – now 94 members strong – funds programs for vulnerable women and their children.  Aligned to United Way’s three focus areas – From Poverty to Possibility, Strong Communities and All That Kids Can Be, the WLC Grants Committee approves flexible funding to meet urgent community needs. 

For additional information about the “Physical Culture” Program, please contact Darren Wood, Youth Programs Coordinator with the Chatham-Kent Community Health Centre – 519-397-5455. 

For more information about the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, please contact Karen Kirkwood-Whyte, CEO – 519-354-0430 or karen@uwock.ca.

United Way of C-K meets BBB standards – Part 2

In last week’s column, I reported that United Way of Chatham-Kent had recently met all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s Standards for Charity Accountability – developed to assist donors in making sound giving decisions and to foster public confidence in charitable organizations.

The first seven standards within governance and oversight and measuring effectiveness were previously outlined; here are the remaining 13 standards. 


This section of the standards seeks to ensure that the charity spends its funds honestly, prudently and in accordance with statements made in fund-raising appeals. To meet these standards, the charitable organization shall: 

  • Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.
  •  Spend no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.
  • Avoid accumulating funds that could be used for current program activities. To meet this standard the charity’s unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of the past year’s expenses or three times the size of the current year’s budget, whichever is higher.
  • Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total gross income exceeds $250,000, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.
  • Include in the financial statements a breakdown of expenses that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund-raising and administrative activities.
  • Accurately report the charity’s expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements.
  •  Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising and administration.


Fundraising and informational materials 

A fundraising appeal is often the only contact a donor has with a charity and may be the sole impetus for giving. This section of the standards seeks to ensure that a charity’s representations to the public are accurate, complete and respectful. To meet these standards, the charitable organization shall:

  •  Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means that is accurate, truthful, and not misleading, both in whole and in part.
  • Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes the organization’s mission statement, a summary of the past year’s program service accomplishments, a roster of the offices and members of the board of directors, and financial information that includes total income in the past fiscal year, expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements and ending net assets.
  • Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent Revenue Canada return.
  • Address privacy concerns of donors.
  • Clearly disclose how the charity benefits from the sale of products or services that state or imply that a charity will benefit from a consumer sale or transaction.
  • Respond promptly to and act on complaints brought to its attention by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and/or local Better Business Bureaus about fund raising practices, privacy violations and/or other issues.


These Standards for Charity Accountability have been reprinted – in summary form – with the permission of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and the Better Business Bureau of Western Ontario. The latter organization serves Chatham-Kent, Elgin, Essex, Huron, Middlesex, Norfolk, Oxford and Perth Counties.

For more information about United Way of Chatham-Kent – or to review our Annual Report to the Community and/or Audited Financial Statements, please link to www.uwock.ca

Karen Kirkwood-Whyte, CEO

United Way of Chatham-Kent